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Firm leverage and unemployment during the Great Recession

Author: Xavier Giroud; Holger M Müller; National Bureau of Economic Research,
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, 2015.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 21076.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
We argue that firms' balance sheets were instrumental in the propagation of shocks during the Great Recession. Using establishment-level data, we show that firms that tightened their debt capacity in the run-up ("high-leverage firms") exhibit a significantly larger decline in employment in response to household demand shocks than firms that freed up debt capacity ("low-leverage firms"). In fact, all of the job  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Xavier Giroud; Holger M Müller; National Bureau of Economic Research,
OCLC Number: 907400397
Notes: "April 2015"
Description: 1 online resource (27 pages, 26 unnumbered pages) : illustrations.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 21076.
Responsibility: Xavier Giroud, Holger M. Mueller.

Abstract:

We argue that firms' balance sheets were instrumental in the propagation of shocks during the Great Recession. Using establishment-level data, we show that firms that tightened their debt capacity in the run-up ("high-leverage firms") exhibit a significantly larger decline in employment in response to household demand shocks than firms that freed up debt capacity ("low-leverage firms"). In fact, all of the job losses associated with falling house prices during the Great Recession are concentrated among establishments of high-leverage firms. At the county level, we find that counties with a larger fraction of establishments belonging to high-leverage firms exhibit a significantly larger decline in employment in response to household demand shocks. Thus, firms' balance sheets also matter for aggregate employment.

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