Do Measures of Financial Constraints Measure Financial Constraints?
AbstractFinancial constraints are not directly observable, so empirical research relies on indirect measures. We evaluate how well five popular measures (paying dividends, having a credit rating, and the Kaplan-Zingales, Whited-Wu, and Hadlock-Pierce indices) identify firms that are financially constrained, using three novel tests: an exogenous increase in a firm’s demand for credit; exogenous variation in the supply of bank loans; and the tendency for firms to pay out the proceeds of equity issues to their shareholders (“equity recycling”). We find that none of the five measures identifies firms that behave as if they were constrained: public firms classified as constrained have no trouble raising debt when their demand for debt increases, are unaffected by changes in the supply of bank loans, and engage in equity recycling. The point estimates are little different for supposedly constrained and unconstrained firms, even though we find important differences in their characteristics and sources of financing. On the other hand, privately held firms (particularly small ones) and public firms with below investment-grade ratings appear to be financially constrained.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19551.
Date of creation: Oct 2013
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
- G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
- G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
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- Joachim Wagner, 2014. "Credit constraints and margins of import: First evidence for German manufacturing enterprises," Working Paper Series in Economics 294, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
- Joachim Wagner, 2013.
"Credit constraints and exports: A survey of empirical studies using firm level data,"
Working Paper Series in Economics
287, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
- Wagner, Joachim, 2013. "Credit constraints and exports: A survey of empirical studies using firm level data," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 334, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
- Wagner, Joachim, 2014. "Credit constraints and margins of import: First evidence for German manufacturing enterprises," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 344, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
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