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Corporate Balance Sheet Adjustment: Stylized Facts, Causes and Consequences

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  • Ruscher Eric

    () (European Commission)

  • Wolff Guntram B.

    () (Bruegel)

Abstract

Using national account data, we define corporate balance sheet adjustment episodes as periods during which major increases in non-financial corporations’ net lending/ borrowing are experienced. An analysis of such episodes in Germany and Japan, and a more systematic exploration of a sample of 30 countries, show that corporate balance sheet adjustment tends to be long lasting and associated with significant effects on current accounts, wages and investment. Adjustment episodes lead to significant changes in corporate balance sheets ratios with a build-up of liquidity and a reduction of leverage. The adjustment is generally achieved by reducing investment and increasing savings on the back of a falling wage share. A panel econometric exercise shows that balance sheet adjustment periods are triggered by macroeconomic downturns as well as balance sheet stress due to high debt, low liquidity and negative equity price shocks.

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  • Ruscher Eric & Wolff Guntram B., 2013. "Corporate Balance Sheet Adjustment: Stylized Facts, Causes and Consequences," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 64(2), pages 117-138, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:lus:reveco:v:64:y:2013:i:2:p:117-138
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Cussen, Mary & O'Leary, Brídín, 2013. "Why are Irish Non-Financial Corporations so Indebted?," Quarterly Bulletin Articles, Central Bank of Ireland, pages 104-118, January.
    3. Bofinger, Peter & Schnabel, Isabel & Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Wieland, Volker, 2015. "Zukunftsfähigkeit in den Mittelpunkt. Jahresgutachten 2015/16," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201516, September.
    4. Giordano, Claire & Marinucci, Marco & Silvestrini, Andrea, 2019. "The macro determinants of firms' and households' investment: Evidence from Italy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 118-133.
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    7. Cuerpo, Carlos & Drumond, Inês & Lendvai, Julia & Pontuch, Peter & Raciborski, Rafal, 2015. "Private sector deleveraging in Europe," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 372-383.
    8. Zsolt Darvas, 2012. "The euro crisis- ten roots, but fewer solutions," Policy Contributions 755, Bruegel.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    consumption; saving; wealth; capital; investment; capacity; fiscal policy;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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