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Free and Costly Trade Credit: A Comparison of Small Firms


  • Susan Coleman

    (University of Hartford)


Trade credit is a major source of financing for small firms. This article examines the extent to which small firms use trade credit as well as the extent to which they use "free" versus "costly" trade credit. Those firms that use free trade credit make payment within the discount period. Alternatively, firms that use costly trade credit forego available discounts and may also make payment after the due date thereby incurring substantial additional costs. Results reveal that larger firms were more likely to use trade credit. Younger firms were more likely to be denied trade credit and were also more likely to pay late as were firms with a history of credit difficulties and those with high levels of debt. Firms owned by white women and Hispanic men were significantly less likely to have trade credit than firms owned by white men. Further, firms owned by black men were significantly more likely to be denied trade credit.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Coleman, 2005. "Free and Costly Trade Credit: A Comparison of Small Firms," Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management, vol. 10(1), pages 75-101, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:pep:journl:v:10:y:2005:i:1:p:75-101

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barry, Christopher B. & Muscarella, Chris J. & Peavy, John III & Vetsuypens, Michael R., 1990. "The role of venture capital in the creation of public companies*1: Evidence from the going-public process," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 447-471, October.
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    5. Gifford, Sharon, 1997. "Limited attention and the role of the venture capitalist," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 459-482, November.
    6. Megginson, William L & Weiss, Kathleen A, 1991. " Venture Capitalist Certification in Initial Public Offerings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(3), pages 879-903, July.
    7. Gompers, Paul A., 1996. "Grandstanding in the venture capital industry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 133-156, September.
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    More about this item


    Financing ; Trade Credit; International;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance


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