Business Groups: Panics, Runs, Organ Banks and Zombie Firms
Business groups often contain banks or near banks that can protect group firms from economic shocks. A group bank subordinate to other group firms can become an “organ bank” that selflessly bails out distressed group firms and anticipates a government bailout. A group bank subordinating other group firms can extend loans to suppress their risk-taking to default risk, preserving risk-averse low-productivity zombie firms. Actual business groups can fall between these polar cases. Subordinated group banks magnify risk-taking; subordinating banks suppress risk-taking; yet both distortions promote business group firms’ survival. Limiting intragroup income and risk shifting, severing banks from business groups, or dismantling business groups may mitigate both distortions; but also limits business groups’ internal markets, thought important where external markets work poorly.
The authors received no funding for this research. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Colpan, A.M. and Morck, R.K. (2022), "Business Groups: Panics, Runs, Organ Banks and Zombie Firms", van Tulder, R., Verbeke, A., Piscitello, L. and Puck, J. (Ed.) International Business in Times of Crisis: Tribute Volume to Geoffrey Jones (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 16), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 69-88.