Finance and Economics Discussion Series (FEDS)
The Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations in a Credit Network Economy
I show that inter-firm lending plays an important role in business cycle fluctuations. I first build a tractable network model of the economy in which trade in intermediate goods is financed by supplier credit. In the model, a financial shock to one firm affects its ability to make payments to its suppliers. The credit linkages between firms propagate financial shocks, amplifying their aggregate effects by about 30 percent. To calibrate the model, I construct a proxy of inter-industry credit flows from firm- and industry-level data. I then estimate aggregate and idiosyncratic shocks to industries in the US and find that financial shocks are a prominent driver of cyclical fluctuations, accounting for two-thirds of the drop in industrial production during the Great Recession. Furthermore, idiosyncratic financial shocks to a few key industries can explain a considerable portion of these effects. In contrast, productivity shocks had a negligible impact during the recession.
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Keywords: Great Recession, business cycles, credit network, financial frictions, input-output network, trade credit
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