Financial constraints on investment in an emerging market crisis
We investigate whether capital market imperfections constrain investment during an emerging market financial crisis. Both large currency devaluations and banking sector failures characterize recent crises. Although a currency devaluation should increase exporters' competitiveness and investment, a failing banking system may limit credit to these firms. Foreign-owned firms, which may have greater access to overseas financing but otherwise face the same investment prospects, provide an ideal control group for determining the effect of liquidity constraints. We test for liquidity constraints in Indonesia following the 1997 East Asian financial crisis, a period when the issuance of new domestic credit shrank rapidly. Exporters' value added and employment increased after the crisis, suggesting that they profited from the devaluation and had sufficient cash flow to finance more workers. However, only exporters with foreign ownership increased their capital significantly. Our results suggest that liquidity constraints greatly retarded domestic-owned manufacturing firms' ability to take advantage of improved terms of trade. Specifically, compared to foreign-owned exporters they had resembled before the crisis, after the crisis domestic-owned exporters had more than 20% lower employment and capital and more than 40% lower value added and materials usage.
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