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Zombies at Large? Corporate Debt Overhang and the Macroeconomy

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  • Oscar Jorda

    (University of California, Davis)

  • Martin Kornejew

    (University of Bonn)

  • Moritz Schularick

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

  • Alan M. Taylor

    (University of California, Davis)

Abstract

What are the macroeconomic consequences of business credit booms? Are they as dangerous as household credit booms? If not, why not? We answer these questions by collecting data on non-financial business liabilities (primarily bank loans and corporate bonds) for 17 advanced economies over the past 150 years. Unlike household credit, business credit booms are rarely followed by macroeconomic hangovers. Data on debt renegotiation costs—instrumented by a country’s legal tradition—show that frictions to debt resolution make recessions deeper and longer—an important factor in explaining the differences with household credit booms.

Suggested Citation

  • Oscar Jorda & Martin Kornejew & Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2021. "Zombies at Large? Corporate Debt Overhang and the Macroeconomy," Working Papers Series inetwp168, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
  • Handle: RePEc:thk:wpaper:inetwp168
    DOI: 10.36687/inetwp168
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    Cited by:

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    2. Hodbod, Alexander & Hommes, Cars & Huber, Stefanie J. & Salle, Isabelle, 2021. "The COVID-19 consumption game-changer: Evidence from a large-scale multi-country survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    3. João Tovar Jalles & Paulo Medas, 2022. "Economic Growth after Debt Surges," Working Papers REM 2022/0244, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, REM, Universidade de Lisboa.
    4. Kin Wai Cheung & Masami Imai, 2023. "Zombie Lending, Labor Hoarding, and Local Industry Growth," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2023-003, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
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    6. Assaf Razin, 2021. "Globalization and Global Crises: Rest of the World vs. Israel," NBER Working Papers 28339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Nirupama Kulkarni & S.K. Ritadhi & Sayan Mukherjee, 2021. "Unearthing Zombies," Working Papers 59, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
    8. Albuquerque, Bruno, 2021. "Corporate debt booms, financial constraints and the investment nexus," Bank of England working papers 935, Bank of England.
    9. Bassam Fattouh & Beniamino Pisicoli & Pasquale Scaramozzino, 2023. "Debt and Financial Fragility: Italian Non-Financial Companies after the Pandemic," CEIS Research Paper 551, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 08 Feb 2023.
    10. Yoshibumi Makabe & Yoshihiko Norimasa, 2022. "The Term Structure of Inflation at Risk: A Panel Quantile Regression Approach," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 22-E-4, Bank of Japan.
    11. Peter Karlström, 2023. "Macroprudential Policy, Credit Booms, and Banks' Systemic Risk," CEMLA Working Paper Series 03/2023, CEMLA.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    corporate debt; business cycles; local projections.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • N20 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - General, International, or Comparative

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