NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Anatomy of a Credit Crunch: From Capital to Labor Markets

Francisco J. Buera, Roberto Fattal-Jaef, Yongseok Shin

NBER Working Paper No. 19997
Issued in March 2014
NBER Program(s):   EFG

Why are financial crises associated with a sustained rise in unemployment? We develop a tractable model with frictions in both credit and labor markets to study the aggregate and micro-level implications of a credit crunch--i.e., a tightening of collateral constraints. When we simulate a credit crunch calibrated to match the observed decline in the ratio of debt to non-financial assets of the United States business sector following the 2007-8 crisis, our model generates a sharp decline in output--explained by a drop in aggregate total factor productivity and investment--and a protracted increase in unemployment. We then explore the micro-level impact by tracking the employment dynamics for firms of different sizes and ages. The credit crunch causes a much larger reduction in the net employment growth rate of small, young establishments relative to that of large, old producers, consistent with the recent empirical findings in the literature.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19997

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