FRBSF Economic Letters

Economic analysis for a general audience

Zheng Liu and Andrew Tai


During the recovery from the Great Recession, real interest rates on government securities have stayed low, but real returns on capital have rebounded. Although this divergence is puzzling in light of standard economic theory, it can be explained by credit market imperfections that raise the cost of capital and depress aggregate investment. The unusually slow credit market recovery is likely to have contributed to the diverging paths of the risk-free rate and returns on capital. It may have also contributed to a slow recovery in investment and output.

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Working Papers

The latest in economic research

Marianna Kudlyak and Juan M. Sanchez

Gertler and Gilchrist (1994) provide evidence for the prevailing view that adverse shocks are propagated via credit constraints of small firms. We revisit the behavior of small versus large firms during the episodes of credit disruption and recessions in the sample extended to cover the 2007-09 economic crisis. We find that large firms’ short-term debt and sales contracted relatively more than those of small firms during the 2007-09 episode. Furthermore, the short-term debt of large firms also contracted relatively more in the previous tight money episodes if one takes into account the longer period that it takes for large firms’ debt to reach its post-shock trough. Our findings challenge the view that propagation of shocks in the economy takes place via credit constraints of small firms.

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