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Uncertainty, Financial Frictions, and Investment Dynamics

Simon Gilchrist (), Jae Sim and Egon Zakrajsek ()

No 20038, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Micro- and macro-level evidence indicates that fluctuations in idiosyncratic uncertainty have a large effect on investment; the impact of uncertainty on investment occurs primarily through changes in credit spreads; and innovations in credit spreads have a strong effect on investment, irrespective of the level of uncertainty. These findings raise a question regarding the economic significance of the traditional "wait-and-see" effect of uncertainty shocks and point to financial distortions as the main mechanism through which fluctuations in uncertainty affect macroeconomic outcomes. The relative importance of these two mechanisms is analyzed within a quantitative general equilibrium model, featuring heterogeneous firms that face time-varying idiosyncratic uncertainty, irreversibility, nonconvex capital adjustment costs, and financial frictions. The model successfully replicates the stylized facts concerning the macroeconomic implications of uncertainty and financial shocks. By influencing the effective supply of credit, both types of shocks exert a powerful effect on investment and generate countercyclical credit spreads and procyclical leverage, dynamics consistent with the data and counter to those implied by the technology-driven real business cycle models.

JEL-codes: E22 E32 G31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ban, nep-dge and nep-mac
Date: 2014-04
Note: EFG
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Working Paper: Uncertainty, Financial Frictions, and Investment Dynamics (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Uncertainty, Financial Frictions, and Investment Dynamics (2010) Downloads
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