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

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  • Thomas Philippon

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Philippon, 2007. "Why Has the U.S. Financial Sector Grown so Much? The Role of Corporate Finance," NBER Working Papers 13405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13405
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
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    5. 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.
    6. Baumol, William J, 1972. "Macroeconomics of Unbalanced Growth: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 150-150, March.
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    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
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    14. 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, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bai, Jennie & Philippon, Thomas & Savov, Alexi, 2016. "Have financial markets become more informative?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 625-654.
    2. Jiro E. Kondo & Dimitris Papanikolaou, 2015. "Financial Relationships and the Limits to Arbitrage," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 19(6), pages 2095-2138.
    3. Karwowski, Ewa, 2017. "Corporate financialisation in South Africa: From investment strike to housing bubble," Economics Discussion Papers 2017-7, School of Economics, Kingston University London.
    4. Thomas Philippon, 2015. "Has the US Finance Industry Become Less Efficient? On the Theory and Measurement of Financial Intermediation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1408-1438, April.
    5. Roger M. Gomis & Sameer Khatiwada, 2017. "Debt and productivity: Evidence from rm-level data," IHEID Working Papers 04-2017, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    6. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2013. "Banking crises: An equal opportunity menace," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4557-4573.
    7. Armijo, Leslie Elliott & Mühlich, Laurissa & Tirone, Daniel C., 2014. "The systemic financial importance of emerging powers," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 36(S1), pages 67-88.
    8. Thomas Philippon, 2007. "Financiers vs. Engineers: Should the Financial Sector be Taxed or Subsidized?," NBER Working Papers 13560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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