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Survive Another Day: Using Changes in the Composition of Investments to Measure the Cost of Credit Constraints

  • Luis Garicano
  • Claudia Steinwender

We introduce a novel empirical strategy to measure credit shocks. Theoretically, we show that credit shocks reduce the value of long term investments relative to short term ones. Under the (conservative) assumption that demand shocks affect short and long run investments similarly, credit shocks can be measured within firms by the shift in the investment vector away from long run investments and towards short term ones. This within-firm strategy makes it possible to use firm-times-year fixed effects to capture unobserved between firm heterogeneity as well as idiosyncratic demand shocks. We implement this strategy using a rich panel data set of Spanish manufacturing firms before and after the credit crisis in 2008. This allows us to quantify the effect of the credit crunch: our theory suggests that credit constraints are equivalent to an additional tax rate of around 11% on the longest lived capital. To pin down credit constraints as the cause for this investment pattern we use two triple differences strategies where we show (i) that only Spanish owned firms became credit constrained during the financial crisis, and that the drop in long term investments after the crisis is indeed driven by credit constrained Spanish firms; and that (ii) the impact on long term investment is mostly noticeable in firms that started the crisis with more mature debt to roll over.

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File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1188.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1188.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1188
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Paravisini, Daniel & Rappoport, Veronica & Schnabl, Philipp & Wolfenzon, Daniel, 2010. "Dissecting the Effect of Credit Supply on Trade: Evidence from Matched Credit-Export Data," Working Papers 2010-022, Banco Central de Reserva del Perú.
  2. Kaplan, Steven N & Zingales, Luigi, 1997. "Do Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Provide Useful Measures of Financing Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 169-215, February.
  3. Toni M. Whited, 1990. "Debt, liquidity constraints, and corporate investment: evidence from panel data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 114, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Sean Cleary, 1999. "The Relationship between Firm Investment and Financial Status," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 673-692, 04.
  5. Owen Lamont, 1996. "Cash Flow and Investment: Evidence from Internal Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 5499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Assaf Eisdorfer, 2008. "Empirical Evidence of Risk Shifting in Financially Distressed Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(2), pages 609-637, 04.
  7. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & Gauti Eggertsson & Andrea Ferrero & Marco Del Negro, 2010. "The Great Escape? A Quantitative Evaluation of the Fed’s Non-Standard Policies," 2010 Meeting Papers 113, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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