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Financial factors in business fluctuations

  • Mark Gertler
  • R. Glenn Hubbard

Recent research in macroeconomics -- both theoretical and empirical -- has resurrected the idea that capital market imperfections may be significant factors in business volatility by making new progress in characterizing the mechanisms. This paper outlines a case for a financial aspect to business fluctuations, in light of the contributions of this new literature. We present a theoretical model that explicitly motivates how financial factors may affect investment. We then report some existing tests of the model's basic predictions4 and also present two new sets of results. The first demonstrates that the inverse relation between sales variability and size documented in many studies may be due to financial rather than technological factors, in contrast to the conventional view. The second lends support to a theoretical prediction of the model. that the effects of capital market frictions on investment should be asymmetric -- having more impact in recessions than booms. The final section presents conclusions, and addresses some policy questions.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its journal Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole.

Volume (Year): (1988)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 33-78

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkpr:y:1988:p:33-78
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  1. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mark L. Gertler, 1988. "Financial Structure and Aggregate Economic Activity: An Overview," NBER Working Papers 2559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Williamson, Stephen D, 1987. "Financial Intermediation, Business Failures, and Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1196-1216, December.
  4. Robert Eisner, 1978. "Factors in Business Investment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number eisn78-1.
  5. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-76, June.
  6. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  7. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "Market Structure and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 285-338.
  8. Townsend, Robert M., 1988. "Information constrained insurance : The revelation principle extended," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 411-450.
  9. Robert E. Hall, 1988. "A Non-Competitive, Equilibrium Model Of Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 2576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Abel, Andrew B & Blanchard, Olivier J, 1986. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 249-73, March.
  11. James Tobin, 1975. "Keynesian Models of Recession and Depression," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 387, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  12. Ben S. Bernanke & John Y. Campbell, 1988. "Is There a Corporate Debt Crisis?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 83-140.
  13. Blinder, Alan S & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1983. "Money, Credit Constraints, and Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 297-302, May.
  14. Easterbrook, Frank H, 1984. "Two Agency-Cost Explanations of Dividends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 650-59, September.
  15. Mills, David E & Schumann, Laurence, 1985. "Industry Structure with Fluctuating Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 758-67, September.
  16. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1.
  17. David M. Cutler & Lawrence H. Summers, 1988. "The Costs of Conflict Resolution and Financial Distress: Evidence from the Texaco-Pennzoil Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(2), pages 157-172, Summer.
  18. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  19. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1978. "The Household Balance Sheet and the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 918-937, December.
  20. Farmer, Roger E A, 1984. "A New Theory of Aggregate Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 920-30, December.
  21. Domowitz, Ian & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1988. "Market Structure and Cyclical Fluctuations in U.S. Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 55-66, February.
  22. Roger E. A. Farmer, 1985. "Implicit Contracts with Asymmetric Information and Bankruptcy: The Effect of Interest Rates on Layoffs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 427-442.
  23. Robert Eisner, 1978. "Introduction to "Factors in Business Investment"," NBER Chapters, in: Factors in Business Investment, pages 1-16 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Scheinkman, Jose A & Weiss, Laurence, 1986. "Borrowing Constraints and Aggregate Economic Activity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 23-45, January.
  25. R. Glenn Hubbard & Kenneth L. Judd, 1986. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Policy, and Consumption," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(1), pages 1-60.
  26. Greenwald, Bruce & Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 194-99, May.
  27. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  28. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  29. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
  30. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  31. Fazzari, Steven M & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1988. "Investment, Financing Decisions, and Tax Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 200-205, May.
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