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Firms’ precautionary savings and employment during a credit crisis

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  • Melcangi, Davide

Abstract

Can the macroeconomic effects of credit supply shocks be large even in an economy in which the share of credit-constrained firms is small? I address this question using a model with firm heterogeneity, in which the interaction between real and financial frictions gives rise to precautionary cash holdings. Using UK firm-level balance sheet data, I show that firms hoarded cash relative to their assets during the last recession, and cash-intensive firms cut their workforces by less. A quantitative version of the model, disciplined by these data, generates similar dynamics in response to a tightening of firms’ credit conditions. The simulated economy experiences a sizeable fall in aggregate employment and prolonged substitution from capital to cash. Most of the aggregate dynamics are driven by unconstrained firms, pre-emptively responding to changes in credit conditions, in anticipation of future idiosyncratic productivity shocks. The model’s ability to generate predictions in line with the data crucially relies on this precautionary channel.

Suggested Citation

  • Melcangi, Davide, 2016. "Firms’ precautionary savings and employment during a credit crisis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86237, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:86237
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/86237/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bacchetta, Philippe & Benhima, Kenza & Poilly, Céline, 2014. "Corporate Cash and Employment," CEPR Discussion Papers 10309, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    3. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2012. "The Contribution of Large and Small Employers to Job Creation in Times of High and Low Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2509-2539, October.
    4. Christopher A. Hennessy & Toni M. Whited, 2007. "How Costly Is External Financing? Evidence from a Structural Estimation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1705-1745, August.
    5. Thomas W. Bates & Kathleen M. Kahle & René M. Stulz, 2009. "Why Do U.S. Firms Hold So Much More Cash than They Used To?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(5), pages 1985-2021, October.
    6. Zetlin-Jones, Ariel & Shourideh, Ali, 2017. "External financing and the role of financial frictions over the business cycle: Measurement and theory," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 1-15.
    7. Spaliara, Marina-Eliza, 2009. "Do financial factors affect the capital-labour ratio? Evidence from UK firm-level data," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1932-1947, October.
    8. Campello, Murillo & Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R., 2010. "The real effects of financial constraints: Evidence from a financial crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 470-487, September.
    9. Altinkilic, Oya & Hansen, Robert S, 2000. "Are There Economies of Scale in Underwriting Fees? Evidence of Rising External Financing Costs," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(1), pages 191-218.
    10. Filipe Silva & Carlos Carreira, 2012. "Measuring Firms' Financial Constraints: A Rough Guide," Notas Económicas, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, issue 36, pages 23-46, December.
    11. Francisco Buera & Roberto Fattal-Jaef & Yongseok Shin, 2015. "Anatomy of a Credit Crunch: From Capital to Labor Markets," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(1), pages 101-117, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Antonio Falato, 2017. "The Loan Covenant Channel: How Bank Health Transmits to the Real Economy," NBER Working Papers 23879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:eee:labeco:v:50:y:2018:i:c:p:144-155 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Davide Melcangi, 2018. "The Marginal Propensity to Hire," 2018 Meeting Papers 807, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    financial frictions; precautionary savings; employment; heterogeneous firms;

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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