ECONOMICS OF THE LIVING DEAD*
Takeo Hoshi ()
The Japanese Economic Review, 2006, vol. 57, issue 1, 30-49
Zombie firms are those firms that are insolvent and have little hope of recovery but avoid failure thanks to support from their banks. This paper identifies zombie firms in Japan, and compares the characteristics of zombies to other firms. Zombie firms are found to be less profitable, more indebted, more dependent on their main banks, more likely to be found in non‐manufacturing industries and more often located outside large metropolitan areas. Overall, larger size makes the firm less likely to be a zombie, but among small firms, relatively larger firms are more likely to be protected and become zombies. Controlling for profitability, the exit probability for zombie firms does not differ from that for non‐zombies. Zombie firms tend to increase employment by more (but do not reduce employment by more) than non‐zombies. Finally, when the proportion of zombie firms in an industry increases, job creation declines and job destruction increases, and the effects are stronger for non‐zombies.
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