Subsidizing Inventory: A Theory of Trade Credit and Prepayment
AbstractWe 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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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics in its series Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance with number 0522.
Date of creation: Nov 2005
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
- E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
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- Bougheas, Spiros & Mateut, Simona & Mizen, Paul, 2009.
"Corporate trade credit and inventories: New evidence of a trade-off from accounts payable and receivable,"
Journal of Banking & Finance,
Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 300-307, February.
- 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).
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