Fewer but Better: Sudden Stops, Firm Entry, and Financial Selection
We combine the real business cycle small open economy framework with the endogenous growth literature to study the productivity cost of a sudden stop. In this economy, productivity growth is determined by successful implementation of business ideas, yet the quality of ideas is heterogeneous and good ideas are scarce. A representative financial intermediary screens and selects the most promising ideas, which gives rise to a trade-off between mass (quantity) and composition (quality) in the entrant cohort. Chilean plant-level data from the sudden stop triggered by the Russian sovereign default in 1998 confirms the main mechanism of the model, as firms born during the credit shortage are fewer, but better. A calibrated version of the economy shows the importance of accounting for heterogeneity and selection, as otherwise the permanent loss of output generated by the forgone entrants doubles, which increases the welfare cost by 30%.