The aim of this paper is to analyse the financial structure of non-financial corporations in the European Union prior to the 2008 crisis and to determine whether the ex-ante differences in corporate financial structure had an impact on the severity of the 2008 financial crisis in European countries. The analysis confirms a negative relationship between the corporate debt ratio prior to the crisis and crisis-induced contractions in corporate investment and GDP. The results indicate a greater importance of the growth in corporate indebtedness in the years prior to the crisis for crisis vulnerability than solely the level of debt immediately before the crisis. The paper has several important implications for crisis prevention and mitigation policy.
corporate debt crisis European Union financial structure growth contractions