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Financial Frictions and Fluctuations in Volatility

Staff Report 466 | Revised November 27, 2018

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Financial Frictions and Fluctuations in Volatility

Abstract

The U.S. Great Recession featured a large decline in output and labor, tighter financial conditions, and a large increase in firm growth dispersion. We build a model in which increased volatility at the firm level generates a downturn and worsened credit conditions. The key idea is that hiring inputs is risky because financial frictions limit firms' ability to insure against shocks. An increase in volatility induces firms to reduce their inputs to reduce such risk. Out model can generate most of the decline in output and labor in the Great Recession and the observed increase in firms' interest rate spreads.

RELATED PAPER: Staff Report 538: Appendix for Financial Frictions and Fluctuations in Volatility


Forthcoming In: Journal of Political Economy

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