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Subsidizing Inventory: A Theory of Trade Credit and Prepayment

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  • Arup Daripa

    (Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Birkbeck)

  • Jeffrey Nilsen

Abstract

We propose a simple theory of trade credit and prepayment. A downstream firm trades off inventory holding costs against lost sales. Lost final sales impose a negative externality on the upstream firm. We show that allowing the downstream firm to pay with a delay, an arrangement known as “trade credit,” is precisely the solution to the problem. Solving a reverse externality accounts for the use of prepayment for inputs, even in the absence of any risk of default by the downstream firm. We clarify previously unexplained facts including the universal presence of a zerointerest component in trade credit terms, and the non-responsiveness of interest charges to fluctuations in the bank rate as well as market demand. We explain why trade credit is short term credit and why the level of provision is negatively related to sales and profit and inventory, but positively related to the profit margin. Finally, we show that under trade credit, inventory investment is invariant to the real interest rate for a wide range of parameters, explaining the puzzle posed by Blinder and Maccini (1991). This implies that standard empirical inventory models would gain explanatory power by including the subsidy effect of accounts payable.

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File URL: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/ems/research/wp/PDF/BWPEF0522.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics in its series Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance with number 0522.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:bbk:bbkefp:0522

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Related research

Keywords: Trade credit; prepayment; externality; subsidy; the Burkart-Ellingsen critique; inventory investment;

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Cited by:
  1. Simona Mateut & Spiros Bougheas & Paul Mizen, . "Corporate trade credit and inventories: New evidence of a tradeoff from accounts payable and receivable," Discussion Papers 08/09, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
  2. Galya Taseva, 2012. "Factors for Trade Debts of Firms and Possibilities of Reduction of Interfirm Indebtedness(English)," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 6, pages 47-64.
  3. Cristina Martínez-Sola & Pedro García-Teruel & Pedro Martínez-Solano, 2014. "Trade credit and SME profitability," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 561-577, March.
  4. Galya Taseva, 2012. "Overdue Intercorporate Debts in Bulgaria," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 3, pages 76-94.
  5. Galya Taseva, 2012. "Factors for Trade Debts of Firms and Possibilities of Reduction of Interfirm Indebtedness (Bulgarian)," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 6, pages 26-46.
  6. Galia Taseva, 2012. "Trade Credit Terms between the Firms in Bulgaria," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 4, pages 110-136.

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