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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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  2. Tobin, James, 1975. "Keynesian Models of Recession and Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 195-202, May.
  3. Gertler, Mark, 1988. "Financial Structure and Aggregate Economic Activity: An Overview," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 559-88, August.
  4. Townsend, Robert M., 1988. "Information constrained insurance : The revelation principle extended," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 411-450.
  5. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
  6. Williamson, Stephen D, 1987. "Financial Intermediation, Business Failures, and Real Business Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1196-1216, December.
  7. Domowitz, Ian & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1988. "Market Structure and Cyclical Fluctuations in U.S. Manufacturing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(1), pages 55-66, February.
  8. David M. Cutler & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "The Costs of Conflict Resolution and Financial Distress: Evidence from the Texaco-Pennzoil Litigation," NBER Working Papers 2418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "Market Structure and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 285-338.
  10. Farmer, Roger E A, 1984. "A New Theory of Aggregate Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 920-30, December.
  11. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  12. Roger E. A. Farmer, 1985. "Implicit Contracts with Asymmetric Information and Bankruptcy: The Effect of Interest Rates on Layoffs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(3), pages 427-442.
  13. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1, September.
  14. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  16. Alan S. Blinder & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1983. "Money, Credit Constraints, and Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 1084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-76, June.
  18. Andrew B. Abel & Olivier J. Blanchard, 1983. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," NBER Working Papers 1122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Easterbrook, Frank H, 1984. "Two Agency-Cost Explanations of Dividends," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 650-59, September.
  20. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz & Andrew Weiss, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macro-Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 1335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Robert Eisner, 1978. "Factors in Business Investment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number eisn78-1, September.
  22. Fazzari, Steven M & Hubbard, R Glenn & Petersen, Bruce C, 1988. "Investment, Financing Decisions, and Tax Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 200-205, May.
  23. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1978. "The Household Balance Sheet and the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 918-937, December.
  24. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  25. Scheinkman, Jose A & Weiss, Laurence, 1986. "Borrowing Constraints and Aggregate Economic Activity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 23-45, January.
  26. Mills, David E & Schumann, Laurence, 1985. "Industry Structure with Fluctuating Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 758-67, September.
  27. R. Glenn Hubbard & Kenneth L. Judd, 1986. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Policy, and Consumption," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(1), pages 1-60.
  28. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  29. Robert E. Hall, 1988. "A Non-Competitive, Equilibrium Model Of Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 2576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Robert Eisner, 1978. "Introduction to "Factors in Business Investment"," NBER Chapters, in: Factors in Business Investment, pages 1-16 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Ben S. Bernanke & John Y. Campbell, 1988. "Is There a Corporate Debt Crisis?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 83-140.
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