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Business fixed investment: evidence of a financial accelerator in Europe

  • Vermeulen, Philip

Financial accelerator theories imply that weak balance sheets can amplify adverse shocks on firm investment. This effect should be asymmetric, stronger in downturns than in upturns and stronger for small firms than for large firms. This paper provides empirical evidence of the presence of a financial accelerator in the four largest euro area economies: Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Using annual firm balance sheet data over the period 1983 - 1997 it is shown that weak balance sheets are more important in explaining investment during downturns than during upturns. It is further shown that the effects of the accelerator are largest for small firms. JEL Classification: E22, E44

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0037.

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Date of creation: Nov 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20000037
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  1. Charles W. Calomiris & Athanasios Orphanides & Steven A. Sharpe, 1994. "Leverage as a state variable for employment, inventory accumulation, and fixed investment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  7. Laura Rondi & Brian Sack & Fabio Schiantarelli & Alessandro Sembenelli, 1998. "Firms' Financial and Real Responses to Monetary Tightening: Evidence for Large and Small Italian Companies," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 57(1), pages 35-64, April.
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  9. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," NBER Working Papers 6455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Steven Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1987. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 2387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Alessandra Guariglia, . "The Effects of Financial Constraints on Inventory Investment: Evidence from a Panel of UK Firms," Economics Discussion Papers 462, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1993. " The Role of Credit Market Imperfections in the Monetary Transmission Mechanism: Arguments and Evidence," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(1), pages 43-64.
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  16. Anil K. Kashyap & Owen A. Lamont & Jeremy C. Stein, 1993. "Credit conditions and the cyclical behavior of inventories," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 93-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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