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Do we want these two to tango? On zombie firms and stressed banks in Europe

Author

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  • Storz, Manuela
  • Koetter, Michael
  • Setzer, Ralph
  • Westphal, Andreas

Abstract

We show that the speed and type of corporate deleveraging depends on the interaction between corporate and financial sector health. Based on granular bank-firm data pertaining to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) from five stressed and two non-stressed euro area economies, we show that “zombie” firms generally continued to lever up during the 2010–2014 period. Whereas relationships with stressed banks reduce SME leverage on average, we also show that zombie firms that are tied to weak banks in euro area periphery countries increase their indebtedness even further. Sustainable economic recovery therefore requires both: deleveraging of banks and firms. JEL Classification: E44, G21, G32

Suggested Citation

  • Storz, Manuela & Koetter, Michael & Setzer, Ralph & Westphal, Andreas, 2017. "Do we want these two to tango? On zombie firms and stressed banks in Europe," Working Paper Series 2104, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20172104
    Note: 2436858
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    Cited by:

    1. Dan Andrews & Filippos Petroulakis, 2017. "Breaking the Shackles: Zombie Firms, Weak Banks and Depressed Restructuring in Europe," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1433, OECD Publishing.
    2. Shaozhen Han & Guoming Li & Michel Lubrano & Zhou Xun, 2020. "Lie of the Weak: Inconsistent Corporate Social Responsibility Activities of Chinese Zombie Firms," AMSE Working Papers 2001, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    3. Gebauer, Stefan & Setzer, Ralph & Westphal, Andreas, 2017. "Corporate debt and investment: a firm analysis for stressed euro area countries," Working Paper Series 2101, European Central Bank.
    4. Hartwig, Benny & Lieberknecht, Philipp, 2020. "Monetary policy, firm exit and productivity," Discussion Papers 61/2020, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    5. Fabiano Schivardi & Enrico Sette & Guido Tabellini, 2017. "Credit misallocation during the European financial crisis," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1139, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. Nurmi, Satu & Vanhala, Juuso & Virén, Matti, 2020. "The life and death of zombies – evidence from government subsidies to firms," Research Discussion Papers 8/2020, Bank of Finland.
    7. Stefan Kerbl & Katharina Steiner, 2020. "Austrian banks’ lending risk appetite in times of expansive monetary policy and tightening capital regulation," Financial Stability Report, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 39, pages 89-109.
    8. Barbiero, Francesca & Popov, Alexander & Wolski, Marcin, 2020. "Debt overhang, global growth opportunities, and investment," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).
    9. Giacomo Rodano & Enrico Sette, 2019. "Zombie firms in Italy: a critical assessment," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 483, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    10. Ferrando, Annalisa & Wolski, Marcin, 2018. "Investment of financially distressed firms: The role of trade credit," EIB Working Papers 2018/04, European Investment Bank (EIB).
    11. Ryan Niladri Banerjee & Boris Hofmann, 2018. "The rise of zombie firms: causes and consequences," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, September.
    12. Sondershaus, Talina, 2019. "Spillovers of asset purchases within the real sector: Win-win or joy and sorrow?," IWH Discussion Papers 22/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    13. Bernhardt, Dan & Koufopoulos, Kostas & Trigilia, Giulio, 2021. "The pitfalls of pledgeable cash flows : soft budget constraints, zombie lending and under-investment," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1327, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    14. Robert Anderton & Barbara Jarmulska & Benedetta Di Lupidio, 2018. "Product market regulation, business churning and productivity: Evidence from the European Union countries," Discussion Papers 2018-12, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    15. Ryan Niladri Banerjee & Boris Hofmann, 2020. "Corporate zombies: Anatomy and life cycle," BIS Working Papers 882, Bank for International Settlements.
    16. Setzer, Ralph & Stieglitz, Moritz, 2019. "Firm-level employment, labour market reforms, and bank distress," IWH Discussion Papers 15/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    17. Christian Abele & Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Lionel Fontagné, 2020. "One Size Does Not Fit All: TFP in the Aftermath of Financial Crises in Three European Countries," PSE Working Papers halshs-02883685, HAL.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    bank stress; debt overhang; zombie lending;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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