Staff Reports
Firms’ Precautionary Savings and Employment during a Credit Crisis
Number 904
November 2019

JEL classification: E44, G01, G32, L25

Authors: Davide Melcangi

Can the macroeconomic effects of credit supply shocks be large even when a small share of firms are credit-constrained? I use U.K. firm-level accounting data to discipline a heterogeneous-firm model in which the interaction between real and financial frictions induces precautionary cash holdings. In the data, firms increased their cash ratios during the last recession, and cash-intensive firms displayed higher employment growth. A tightening of firms’ credit conditions generates the same dynamics in the model. Unconstrained firms pre-emptively respond to credit supply shocks, and this precautionary channel crucially matters for the aggregate dynamics and the model fit with microeconomic data.

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Davide Melcangi
The author declares that he has no relevant or material financial interests that relate to the research described in this paper. Prior to circulation, this paper was reviewed in accordance with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York review policy, available at
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