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The Decision to Import Capital Goods in India: Firms' Financial Factors Matter

  • Maria Bas
  • Antoine Berthou

Are financial constraints preventing firms from importing capital goods? Sourcing capital goods from foreign countries is costly and requires internal or external financial resources. A simple model of foreign technology adoption shows that credit constraints act as a barrier to importing capital goods under imperfect financial markets. In our study, we investigate this prediction using detailed balance-sheet data from Indian manufacturing firms having reported information on financial statements and imports by type of good over the period 1997-2006. Our empirical findings shed new light on the micro determinants of firms' choices to import capital goods. Baseline estimation results show that firms with a lower leverage and higher liquidity are more likely to source their capital goods from foreign countries. Quantitatively, a 10 percentage point improvement of the leverage or liquidity ratio increases the probability of importing capital goods by 11 percent to 13 percent respectively. Different robustness tests demonstrate that these results are not driven by omitted variable bias related to changes in firm observable characteristics as well as ownership status. These findings are also robust to alternative specifications dealing with the potential reverse causality issues. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 26 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 486-513

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:26:y:2012:i:3:p:486-513
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  1. Mirabelle Muûls & Mauro Pisu, 2007. "Imports and Exports at the Level of the Firm : Evidence from Belgium," Working Paper Research 114, National Bank of Belgium.
  2. Kasahara, Hiroyuki & Rodrigue, Joel, 2008. "Does the use of imported intermediates increase productivity? Plant-level evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 106-118, August.
  3. Ann E. Harrison & Margaret S. McMillan, 2001. "Does Direct Foreign Investment Affect Domestic Firms' Credit Constraints?," NBER Working Papers 8438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "International Trade with Endogenous Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 3594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Schor, Adriana, 2004. "Heterogeneous productivity response to tariff reduction. Evidence from Brazilian manufacturing firms," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 373-396, December.
  6. Markusen, James R, 1989. "Trade in Producer Services and in Other Specialized Intermediate Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 85-95, March.
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