Regional Banking and Plant Survival in Japan

Author Name NISHIOKA Shuichiro (West Virginia University) / OKUBO Toshihiro (Keio University) / TANAKA Mari (Hitotsubashi University)
Creation Date/NO. March 2021 21-E-021
Research Project East Asian Industrial Productivity
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Since the burst of the bubble economy in the early 1990s, the stock and real estate prices collapsed in Japan. Among financial institutions, city banks were impacted the most. As a result, city banks reduced lending markedly, whereas regional banks kept credit flowing to borrowers. We use the plant-level data from the manufacturing sector to examine how regional differences in the share of city banks influenced plant survival. Using the historic share of city banks for each prefecture, we show that survival rates of plants in the mid-1990s were significantly lower in the prefectures with a high share of city banks. However, prefectures that underwent aggressive restructuring of city banks saw no improvements in employment and the prevalence of zombies as well as the reduction of regional markups and productivity.