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Why Has the US Financial Sector Grown So Much?

  • NYU-Stern

    (NBER, CEPR)

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    The share of finance in U.S. GDP has been multiplied by more than three over the post-war 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: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2008/paper_714.pdf
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    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2008 Meeting Papers with number 714.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:714
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

    Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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    1. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, . "Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics or Lower Propensity to Pay?."," CRSP working papers 509, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    2. Robert C. Merton, 1995. "A Functional Perspective of Financial Intermediation," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 24(2), Summer.
    3. Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937, March.
    4. Jeremy Greenwood & Juan M. Sanchez & Cheng Wang, 2010. "Financing Development: The Role of Information Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1875-91, September.
    5. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
    6. Thomas Philippon, 2007. "Financiers vs. Engineers: Should the Financial Sector be Taxed or Subsidized?," NBER Working Papers 13560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance, entrepreneurship and growth: Theory and evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 513-542, December.
    8. Bruno Biais & Christophe Bisiere & Jean-Paul Decamps, 2000. "A Structural Econometric Investigation of the Agency Theory of Financial Structure," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0817, Econometric Society.
    9. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
    10. Christopher A. Hennessy & Toni M. Whited, 2007. "How Costly Is External Financing? Evidence from a Structural Estimation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1705-1745, 08.
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