IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Agency Costs, Balance Sheets and the Business Cycle

  • Philip Lowe

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Thomas Rohling

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

Registered author(s):

    The 1980s witnessed large increases in corporate debt and sustained asset price inflation. More recently, asset prices, particularly commercial property prices, have fallen significantly. The effect of these changes on balance sheets, and their implications for the business cycle, have generated considerable interest among academics and policy makers. In this paper, we review recent theoretical models that link the evolution of the business cycle to changes in firm equity. This link arises out of the asymmetry of information between borrowers and lenders and between managers and owners. These asymmetries lead to distortions in decision making which affect both the supply of and demand for credit, and ultimately investment and output. Deteriorations in the net worth of corporations and financial institutions are likely to lead to a reduction in both credit demand and supply and to an amplification of the business cycle. We develop a simple model in which the information problems between risk-averse management and the firm’s owners lead to investment decisions that depend upon the financial condition of the firm. We also review the Australian evidence of the importance of balance sheet strength on the availability of finance. Empirical results suggest that asset price inflation or increases in corporate equity, even after controlling for general business conditions, lead to finance becoming easier to obtain. This suggests that a collapse of asset prices, or an aggregate demand shock that reduces firms’ equity, will result in decreased supply of external finance.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/1993/pdf/rdp9311.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Reserve Bank of Australia in its series RBA Research Discussion Papers with number rdp9311.

    as
    in new window

    Length:
    Date of creation: Nov 1993
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp9311
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    GPO Box 3947, Sydney NSW 2001

    Phone: 61-2-9551-8111
    Fax: 61-2-9551-8000
    Web page: http://www.rba.gov.au/
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web: http://www.rba.gov.au/forms/rdp-order-form/

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Jensen, Michael C, 1988. "Takeovers: Their Causes and Consequences," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 21-48, Winter.
    2. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-64, April.
    3. 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.
    4. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1991. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," NBER Working Papers 3892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Calomiris, Charles W & Hubbard, R Glenn, 1990. "Firm Heterogeneity, Internal Finance, and 'Credit Rationing.'," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(399), pages 90-104, March.
    6. Gilson, Stuart C., 1990. "Bankruptcy, boards, banks, and blockholders : Evidence on changes in corporate ownership and control when firms default," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 355-387, October.
    7. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Financial Market Imperfections and Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Stephen D. Williamson, 1984. "Costly Monitoring, Loan Contracts and Equilibrium Credit Rationing," Working Papers 572, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    9. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
    10. Robert M. Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    11. 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.
    12. Ben S. Bernanke & Cara S. Lown, 1991. "The Credit Crunch," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 205-248.
    13. Toni M. Whited, 1990. "Debt, liquidity constraints, and corporate investment: evidence from panel data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 114, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    14. 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.
    15. Karen Mills & Steve Morling & Warren Tease, 1993. "Balance Sheet Restructuring and Investment," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9308, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    16. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
    17. Whited, Toni M., 1991. "Investment and financial asset accumulation," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 307-334, December.
    18. Agrawal, Anup & Mandelker, Gershon N, 1987. " Managerial Incentives and Corporate Investment and Financing Decision s," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(4), pages 823-37, September.
    19. Mark Gertler, 1988. "Financial structure and aggregate economic activity: an overview," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 559-596.
    20. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    21. Philip Lowe & Geoffrey Shuetrim, 1992. "The Evolution of Corporate Financial Structure: 1973–1990," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9216, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    22. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
    23. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1992. "Capital markets and economic fluctuations in capitalist economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 269-306, April.
    24. Stephen Grenville, 1990. "The Operation of Monetary Policy," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 23(2), pages 6-16.
    25. Mark Gertler, 1992. "Financial Capacity and Output Fluctuations in an Economy with Multi-Period Financial Relationships," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 455-472.
    26. Ben S. Bernanke & John Y. Campbell & Toni M. Whited, 1990. "U.S. corporate leverage: developments in 1987 and 1988," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 113, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp9311. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Paula Drew)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.