When banks say ‘No’: how the credit crunch lowered UK productivity

Jeremy Franklin, May Rostom & Gregory Thwaites.

In the aftermath of the 2007/8 financial crisis bank lending to firms fell back sharply and investment plummeted.  And at the same time, growth in labour productivity and wages fell, with neither fully recovering since (Chart 1).  Are these facts causally linked, and if so, in which direction?  Did firms stop borrowing because they had no good uses for the money, or did banks cut lending, making it harder for firms to do business?  In a new paper, we find a way to distinguish between the two.  We measure how changes in the amount firms were able to borrow affected how much they invested, how much their workers produced and earned, and how likely firms were to survive.

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