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Why Has the U.S. Financial Sector Grown so Much? The Role of Corporate Finance

  • Thomas Philippon

The share of finance in U.S. GDP has been multiplied by more than three over the postwar period. I argue, using evidence and theory, that corporate finance is a key factor behind this evolution. Inside the finance industry, credit intermediation and corporate finance are more important than globalization, increased trading, or the development of mutual funds for explaining the trend. In the non financial sector, firms with low cash flows account for a growing share of total investment. I build a simple equilibrium model to capture these salient features and I use it to interpret the data. I find that corporate demand is the main contributor to the growth of the finance industry, but also that efficiency gains in finance have been important to limit credit rationing. Overall, the model can account for a bit more than half of the financial sector's growth.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13405.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13405.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13405
Note: CF EFG PR
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  1. Bencivenga, Valerie R & Smith, Bruce D, 1991. "Financial Intermediation and Endogenous Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 195-209, April.
  2. Greenwood, Jeremy & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1076-1107, October.
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  8. repec:fth:wobaco:1083 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  10. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2001. "Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics Or Lower Propensity To Pay?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 14(1), pages 67-79.
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  13. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  14. Thomas Philippon & Ariell Reshef, 2007. "Skill Biased Financial Development: Education, Wages and Occupations in the U.S. Financial Sector," NBER Working Papers 13437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Bekaert, Geert & Harvey, Campbell R. & Lumsdaine, Robin L., 2002. "Dating the integration of world equity markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 203-247, August.
  16. Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937, June.
  17. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  18. Alon Brav & Wei Jiang & Frank Partnoy & Randall Thomas, 2008. "Hedge Fund Activism, Corporate Governance, and Firm Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 1729-1775, 08.
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