IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Employment Effects of Credit Market Disruptions: Firm-level Evidence from the 2008-9 Financial Crisis


  • Gabriel Chodorow-Reich


This article investigates the effect of bank lending frictions on employment outcomes. I construct a new data set that combines information on banking relationships and employment at 2,000 nonfinancial firms during the 2008-9 crisis. The article first verifies empirically the importance of banking relationships, which imply a cost to borrowers who switch lenders. I then use the dispersion in lender health following the Lehman crisis as a source of exogenous variation in the availability of credit to borrowers. I find that credit matters. Firms that had precrisis relationships with less healthy lenders had a lower likelihood of obtaining a loan following the Lehman bankruptcy, paid a higher interest rate if they did borrow, and reduced employment by more compared to precrisis clients of healthier lenders. Consistent with frictions deriving from asymmetric information, the effects vary by firm type. Lender health has an economically and statistically significant effect on employment at small and medium firms, but the data cannot reject the hypothesis of no effect at the largest or most transparent firms. Abstracting from general equilibrium effects, I find that the withdrawal of credit accounts for between one-third and one-half of the employment decline at small and medium firms in the sample in the year following the Lehman bankruptcy. JEL Codes: E24, E44, G20. Copyright 2014, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, 2014. "The Employment Effects of Credit Market Disruptions: Firm-level Evidence from the 2008-9 Financial Crisis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 129(1), pages 1-59.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2014:i:1:p:1-59

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2014:i:1:p:1-59. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Oxford University Press (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.