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The marginal propensity to hire

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  • Davide Melcangi

Abstract

This paper studies the link between firm-level financial constraints and employment decisions, as well as the implications for the propagation of aggregate shocks. I exploit the idea that, when the financial constraint binds, a firm adjusts its employment in response to cash flow shocks. I identify such shocks from changes to business rates, a U.K. tax based on a periodically estimated value of the property occupied by the firm. A 2010 revaluation implied that similar firms, occupying similar properties in narrowly defined geographical locations, experienced different tax changes, allowing me to control for confounding shocks to local demand. I find that, on average, for every 1 of additional cash flow, 39 pence are spent on employment. I label this response the marginal propensity to hire (MPH). I then calibrate a firm dynamics model with financial frictions toward this empirical evidence. As in the data, small and leveraged firms in the model have a greater MPH. Simulating a tightening of credit conditions, I find that the model can account for much of the decline in U.K. aggregate output and employment observed in the wake of the financial crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Melcangi, 2018. "The marginal propensity to hire," Staff Reports 875, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:875
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.),Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393, Elsevier.
    2. Tauchen, George & Hussey, Robert, 1991. "Quadrature-Based Methods for Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Nonlinear Asset Pricing Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 371-396, March.
    3. Philippe Bracke, 2015. "House Prices and Rents: Microevidence from a Matched Data Set in Central London," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 43(2), pages 403-431, June.
    4. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-1297, November.
    5. Davide Melcangi, 2016. "Firm’s precautionary savings and employment during a credit crisis," Discussion Papers 1610, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
    6. Omer Brav, 2009. "Access to Capital, Capital Structure, and the Funding of the Firm," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(1), pages 263-308, February.
    7. Pierre Cahuc & Stéphane Carcillo & Thomas Le Barbanchon, 2014. "Do Hiring Credits Work in Recessions?: Evidence from France," Sciences Po publications 8330, Sciences Po.
    8. 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. Sophie Cottet, 2020. "Payroll Tax Reductions for Minimum Wage Workers: Relative Labor Cost or Cash Windfall Effects?," PSE Working Papers halshs-03010943, HAL.
    2. Ku, Hyejin & Schönberg, Uta & Schreiner, Ragnhild C., 2020. "Do place-based tax incentives create jobs?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 191(C).
    3. Sophie Cottet, 2020. "Payroll Tax Reductions for Minimum Wage Workers: Relative Labor Cost or Cash Windfall Effects?," Working Papers halshs-03010943, HAL.
    4. Hyejin Ku & Uta Schönberg & Ragnhild C. Schreiner, 2018. "How Do Firms Respond to Place-Based Tax Incentives?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1811, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    5. Assia Elgouacem & Riccardo Zago, 2020. "Share Buybacks, Monetary Policy and the Cost of Debt," Working papers 773, Banque de France.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    financial frictions; employment; heterogeneous firms;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • 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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