Indicators of fragility in the UK corporate sector
The determinants of the aggregate corporate liquidation rate in the United Kingdom are estimated from a sample of quarterly data using an autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach which allows for non-stationarity of the variables. The paper investigates what the appropriate measures of indebtedness are, and examines whether the unprecedented spike in the corporate liquidation rate in the United Kingdom in 1992 caused a breakdown in the relationship between the variables. The debt-to-GDP ratio, the real interest rate, deviations of GDP from trend and real wages are found to be long-run determinants of the liquidation rate. The birth rate of new companies, an index of property prices and nominal interest rates have significant short-term effects. The estimated equation is robust to changes in the sample period. The rapidly increasing level of indebtedness in the late 1980s was the main determinant of the subsequent increase in the liquidation rate. The decrease in the liquidation rate after 1992 was primarily due to lower real interest rates, lower real wages and the cyclical recovery of GDP.
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