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The Macroeconomics of Firms' Savings

  • Viktoria Hnatkovska

    (University of British Columbia)

  • Roc Armenter

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)

The U.S. non-financial corporate sector became a net lender vis-a-vis the rest of the economy in the early 2000s. We document this fact in the aggregate and firm-level data. We then develop a structural dynamic model with investment to study the firms' financing decisions. Debt is fiscally advantageous but subject to a no-default borrowing constraint. Equity allows the firm to suspend distributions to shareholders when the cash flow is negative. Firms accumulate financial assets for precautionary reasons, yet value equity as partial insurance against shocks. The calibrated model replicates the large fraction of firms with net savings observed in the period 2000-2007. We also find that the rise in corporate savings over the past 40 years can be mostly attributed to a fall in the cost of equity relative to debt, driven by lower dividend taxes.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 803.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:803
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

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  1. DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda & Whited, Toni M., 2011. "Capital structure dynamics and transitory debt," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 235-261, February.
  2. François Gourio & Jianjun Miao, 2010. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Long-Run Effects of Dividend Tax Reform," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 131-68, January.
  3. Bates, Thomas W. & Kahle, Kathleen M. & Stulz, Rene M., 2007. "Why Do U.S. Firms Hold So Much More Cash Than They Used To?," Working Paper Series 2006-17, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  4. Leigh A. Riddick & Toni M. Whited, 2009. "The Corporate Propensity to Save," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1729-1766, 08.
  5. Shyam-Sunder, Lakshmi & C. Myers, Stewart, 1999. "Testing static tradeoff against pecking order models of capital structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 219-244, February.
  6. Dittmar, Amy & Mahrt-Smith, Jan & Servaes, Henri, 2002. "Corporate Liquidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Andrea Gamba & Alexander Triantis, 2008. "The Value of Financial Flexibility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(5), pages 2263-2296, October.
  8. Christopher Hennessy & Toni Whited, 2004. "Debt Dynamics," 2004 Meeting Papers 592, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Jean Tirole, 2006. "The Theory of Corporate Finance," Post-Print hal-00173191, HAL.
  10. David Thesmar & Mathias Thoenig, 2011. "Contrasting Trends in Firm Volatility," Post-Print hal-00635987, HAL.
  11. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Effects of the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut on Corporate Behavior: Interpreting the Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 124-129, May.
  12. Whited, Toni M., 2006. "External finance constraints and the intertemporal pattern of intermittent investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 467-502, September.
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