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Zombies at Large? Corporate Debt Overhang and the Macroeconomy

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With business leverage at record levels, the effects of corporate debt overhang on growth and investment have become a prominent concern. In this paper, we study the effects of corporate debt overhang based on long-run cross-country data covering the near-universe of modern business cycles. We show that business credit booms typically do not leave a lasting imprint on the macroeconomy. Quantile local projections indicate that business credit booms do not affect the economy’s tail risks either. Yet in line with theory, we find that the economic costs of corporate debt booms rise when inefficient debt restructuring and liquidation impede the resolution of corporate financial distress and make it more likely that corporate zombies creep along.

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  • Òscar Jordà & Martin Kornejew & Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2020. "Zombies at Large? Corporate Debt Overhang and the Macroeconomy," Staff Reports 951, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:89124
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    2. Nirupama Kulkarni & S.K. Ritadhi & Sayan Mukherjee, 2021. "Unearthing Zombies," Working Papers 59, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
    3. Razin, Assaf, 2021. "Globalization and Global Crises: Rest of the World vs. Israel," CEPR Discussion Papers 15643, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Assaf Razin, 2021. "Globalization And Global Crises: Israel And The Rest Of The World," Israel Economic Review, Bank of Israel, vol. 19(1), pages 103-134.
    5. Albuquerque, Bruno, 2021. "Corporate debt booms, financial constraints and the investment nexus," Bank of England working papers 935, Bank of England.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    corporate debt; business cycles; local projections;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • N20 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - General, International, or Comparative

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