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The Financial Channels of Labor Rigidities: Evidence from Portugal
Edoardo M. Acabbi
D24 - Production; Capital and Total Factor Productivity; Capacity
E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages
G21 - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Mortgages
How do credit shocks affect labor market reallocation, firms’ exit and other real outcomes? How do labor-market rigidities impact their propagation? To answer these questions, we match administrative data on worker, firms, banks and credit relationships in Portugal, and conduct an event study of the interbank market freeze at the end of 2008. Our results highlight that the credit shock had significant effects on employment dynamics and firms’ survival. These findings are entirely driven by the interaction of the credit shock with labor market frictions, determined by rigidities in labor costs and exposure to working-capital financing, which we label “labor-as-leverage” and “labor-as-investment” financial channels. The credit shock explains about 29 percent of the employment loss among large Portuguese firms between 2008 and 2013, and contributes to productivity losses due to increased labor misallocation.