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Aggregate Uncertainty and Sectoral Productivity Growth: The Role of Credit Constraints

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We show that an increase in aggregate uncertainty—measured by stock market volatility—reduces productivity growth more in industries that depend heavily on external finance. The mechanism at play is that during periods of high uncertainty, firms that are credit constrained switch the composition of investment by reducing productivity-enhancing investment—such as on ICT capital—which is more subject to liquidity risks (Aghion et al., 2010). The effect is larger during recessions, when financing constraints are more likely to be binding, than during expansions. Our statistical method—a difference-in-difference approach using productivity growth of 25 industries from 18 advanced economies over the period 1985-2010—mitigates concerns with omitted variable bias and reverse causality. The results are robust to the inclusion of other sources of interaction effects, instrumental variable approaches, and different datasets. The results also hold if economic policy uncertainty (Baker et al., 2016) is used instead of stock market volatility as a measure of aggregate uncertainty.

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  • Sangyup Choi & Davide Furceri & Yi Huang & Prakash Loungani, 2017. "Aggregate Uncertainty and Sectoral Productivity Growth: The Role of Credit Constraints," IHEID Working Papers 09-2017, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heidwp09-2017
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    productivity growth; financial dependence; uncertainty; information and communication technology investment.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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