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When Did Firms Become More Different? Time-Varying Firm-Specific Volatility in Japan

  • Emmanuel de Veirman
  • Andrew Levin

We document how firm-specific volatility in sales, earnings and employment growth evolved year by year in Japan. Our volatility measure also indicates the evolution of firm turnover. We find that patterns in firm-specific volatility have changed when macroeconomic circumstances have. Firm turnover declined during the economic stagnation of 1991-1997. The deep downturn of fiscal years 1998-2002 coincided with a substantial increase in turnover in market, profit and employment shares. Firm volatility tended to decline during the recovery after 2002. We assess whether the rise in firm turnover and deep downturn in 1998-2002 indicate that after a period of stagnation, weak firms were finally allowed to shrink or fail. Our evidence suggests that the widening in the firm growth distribution at that time did not reflect weak firms shrinking relative to healthy firms, indicating that the two recessions in 1998-2002 were not "cleansing".

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Paper provided by Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department in its series DNB Working Papers with number 351.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:351
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  1. Emmanuel De Veirman & Andrew T. Levin, 2011. "Cyclical Changes in Firm Volatility," CAMA Working Papers 2011-29, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  2. Stephen Davis & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2006. "Volatility and Dispersion in Business Growth Rates: Publicly Traded Versus Privately Held Firms," Working Papers 06-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Yasushi Hamao & Jianping Mei & Yexiao Xu, 2007. "Unique Symptoms of Japanese Stagnation: An Equity Market Perspective," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(4), pages 901-923, 06.
  4. Gaston, Noel & Kishi, Tomoko, 2007. "Part-time workers doing full-time work in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 435-454, December.
  5. repec:aei:rpaper:25796 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Shin-ichi Fukuda & Munehisa Kasuya & Kentaro Akashi, 2008. "Impaired Bank Health and Default Risk," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-564, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  7. Shin-ichi Fukuda & Jun-ichi Nakamura, 2010. "Why Did "Zombie" Firms Recover in Japan?," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-751, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  8. Shin-ichi Fukuda & Munehisa Kasuya & Jouchi Nakajima, 2005. "Bank Health and Investment: An Analysis of Unlisted Companies in Japan," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 05-E-5, Bank of Japan.
  9. Emmanuel De Veirman, 2009. "What Makes the Output-Inflation Trade-Off Change? The Absence of Accelerating Deflation in Japan," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(6), pages 1117-1140, 09.
  10. Diego Comin & Sunil Mulani, 2006. "Diverging Trends in Aggregate and Firm Volatility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 374-383, May.
  11. Alan Ahearne & Naoki Shinada, 2005. "Zombie firms and economic stagnation in Japan," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 363-381, December.
  12. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 1998. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Staff Reports 41, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  13. Smith, David C., 2003. "Loans to Japanese borrowers," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 283-304, September.
  14. Ricardo J. Caballero & Takeo Hoshi & Anil K. Kashyap, 2008. "Zombie Lending and Depressed Restructuring in Japan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1943-77, December.
  15. Diego A. Comin & Thomas Philippon, 2006. "The Rise in Firm-Level Volatility: Causes and Consequences," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2005, Volume 20, pages 167-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Watanabe, Wako, 2010. "Does a large loss of bank capital cause Evergreening? Evidence from Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 116-136, March.
  17. Joe Peek & Eric S. Rosengren, 2005. "Unnatural Selection: Perverse Incentives and the Misallocation of Credit in Japan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1144-1166, September.
  18. David C. Smith, 2003. "Loans to Japanese borrowers," International Finance Discussion Papers 769, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  19. Sekine, Toshitaka & Kobayashi, Keiichiro & Saita, Yumi, 2003. "Forbearance Lending: The Case of Japanese Firms," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 21(2), pages 69-92, August.
  20. Uesugi, Iichiro, 2008. "Efficiency of Credit Allocation and Effectiveness of Government Credit Guarantees: Evidence from Japanese Small Businesses," PIE/CIS Discussion Paper 353, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  21. Chang-Jin Kim & Charles R. Nelson, 1999. "Has The U.S. Economy Become More Stable? A Bayesian Approach Based On A Markov-Switching Model Of The Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 608-616, November.
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