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The Great Recession and bank lending to small businesses

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  • Judit Montoriol-Garriga
  • J. Christina Wang

Abstract

This paper investigates whether small firms have experienced worse tightening of credit conditions during the Great Recession than large firms. To structure the empirical analysis, the paper first develops a simple model of bank loan pricing that derives both the interest rates on loans actually made and the marginal condition for loans that would be rationed in the event of an economic downturn. Empirical estimations using loan-level data find evidence that, once we account for the contractual features of business loans made under formal commitments to lend, interest rate spreads on small loans have declined on average relative to spreads on large loans during the Great Recession. Quantile regressions further reveal that the relative decline in average spread is entirely accounted for by loans to the riskier borrowers. These findings are consistent with the pattern of differentially more rationing of credit to small borrowers in recessions as predicted by the model. This suggests that policy measures that counter this effect by encouraging lending to small businesses may be effective in stimulating their recovery and, in turn, job growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Judit Montoriol-Garriga & J. Christina Wang, 2011. "The Great Recession and bank lending to small businesses," Working Papers 11-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:11-16
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1997. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds, and The Real Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 663-691.
    2. Kobayashi, Teruyoshi, 2009. "Announcements and the effectiveness of monetary policy: A view from the US prime rate," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(12), pages 2253-2266, December.
    3. Leland, Hayne E & Pyle, David H, 1977. "Informational Asymmetries, Financial Structure, and Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 371-387, May.
    4. John C. Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young," NBER Working Papers 16300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2002. "Does Distance Still Matter? The Information Revolution in Small Business Lending," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2533-2570, December.
    6. Diamond, Douglas W, 1991. "Monitoring and Reputation: The Choice between Bank Loans and Directly Placed Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 689-721, August.
    7. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    8. Douglas Gale & Martin Hellwig, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 647-663.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bryon Higgins, 1986. "Debt, financial stability, and public policy (Symposium overview)," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 1-14.
    2. Balduzzi, Pierluigi & Brancati, Emanuele & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 2013. "Financial Markets, Banks' Cost of Funding, and Firms' Decisions: Lessons from Two Crises," IZA Discussion Papers 7872, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Jim Wilkinson & Jon Christensson, 2011. "Can the supply of small business loans be increased?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II.

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    Keywords

    Recessions ; Small business - Finance ; Bank loans;

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