December 2013

IZA DP No. 7872: Financial Markets, Banks' Cost of Funding, and Firms' Decisions: Lessons from Two Crises

published in: Journal of Financial Intermediation, 2018, 36, 1-15

We test whether financial fluctuations affect firms' decisions, through their impact on banks' cost of funding. We exploit two shocks to Italian bank CDS spreads and equity valuations: the 2007-2009 financial crisis and the 2010-2012 sovereign debt crisis. Using newly available data linking over 3,000, mostly privately-held, non-financial firms to their bank(s), we find that increases in Italian banks' CDS spreads and decreases in their equity valuations lead younger and smaller firms to cut investment, employment, and borrowing. We conclude that financial market fluctuations affect even private firms' real decisions by affecting the costs of funds of their banks.