Does access to external finance improve productivity? Evidence from a natural experiment
We study the relation between access to finance and productivity. Our contribution to the literature is a clean identification of a causal effect of access to finance on productivity. Specifically, we exploit an exogenous shift in demand for a product to expose how producers adapt their productivity in the presence of varying levels of access to finance. We use a triple differences testing approach and find that production increases the most over the sample period in areas with relatively strong access to finance, even in comparison with a control group. This result is statistically significant and robust to a variety of controls, alternative variables, and tests. The causal effect of access to finance on productivity that we find speaks to the larger role of finance in economic growth.
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