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Financial Factors in Business Fluctuations

  • Mark L. Gertler
  • R. Glenn Hubbard

Recent research in macroeconomics -- both theoretical and empirical -- has resurrected the idea that capital market imperfections may be significant factors in business volatility by making new progress in characterizing the mechanisms. This paper outlines a case for a financial aspect to business fluctuations, in light of the contributions of this new literature. We present a theoretical model that explicitly motivates how financial factors may affect investment. We then report some existing tests of the model's basic predictions4 and also present two new sets of results. The first demonstrates that the inverse relation between sales variability and size documented in many studies may be due to financial rather than technological factors, in contrast to the conventional view. The second lends support to a theoretical prediction of the model. that the effects of capital market frictions on investment should be asymmetric -- having more impact in recessions than booms. The final section presents conclusions, and addresses some policy questions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2758.

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Date of creation: Nov 1988
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Publication status: published as Mark Gertler & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1988. "Financial factors in business fluctuations," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 33-78.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2758
Note: ME
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