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The Impact of the Financial System's Structure on Firms' Financial Constraints

  • Christopher F. Baum


    (Boston College
    DIW Berlin)

  • Dorothea Schäfer


    (DIW Berlin)

  • Oleksandr Talavera

    (University of East Anglia)

We estimate firms' cash flow sensitivity of cash to empirically test how the financial system's structure and activity level influence their financial constraints. For this purpose we merge Almeida et al. (2004), a path-breaking new design for evaluating a firm's financial constraints, with Levine (2002), who paved the way for comparative analysis of financial systems around the world. We conjecture that a country's financial system, both in terms of its structure and its level of development, influences the cash flow sensitivity of cash of constrained firms but leaves unconstrained firms unaffected. We test our hypothesis with a large international sample of 80,000 firm-years from 1989 to 2006. Our findings reveal that both the structure of the financial system and its level of development matter. Bank-based financial systems provide the constrained firms with easier access to external financing.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 690.

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Date of creation: 08 Oct 2008
Date of revision: 03 Sep 2010
Publication status: published, Journal of International Money and Finance, 2011, 30, 678-691
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:690
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  1. Ross Levine, 2002. "Bank-Based or Market-Based Financial Systems: Which is Better?," NBER Working Papers 9138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Chakraborty, Shankha & Ray, Tridip, 2006. "Bank-based versus market-based financial systems: A growth-theoretic analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 329-350, March.
  3. Inessa Love, 2003. "Financial Development and Financing Constraints: International Evidence from the Structural Investment Model," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(3), pages 765-791, July.
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  5. Acharya, Viral V. & Almeida, Heitor & Campello, Murillo, 2007. "Is cash negative debt? A hedging perspective on corporate financial policies," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 515-554, October.
  6. Steven Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1987. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 2387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Sean Cleary, 1999. "The Relationship between Firm Investment and Financial Status," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 673-692, 04.
  8. Bronwyn H. Hall & Jacques Mairesse & Benoit Mulkay & Jacques Mairesse, 1999. "Firm Level Investment in France and the United States: An Exploration of What We Have Learned in Twenty Years," Econometrics 9902001, EconWPA.
  9. Simon Gilchrist & Charles P. Himmelberg, 1995. "Evidence on the Role of Cash Flow for Investment," Working Papers 95-01, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  10. Khurana, Inder K. & Martin, Xiumin & Pereira, Raynolde, 2006. "Financial Development and the Cash Flow Sensitivity of Cash," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(04), pages 787-808, December.
  11. Joao F. Gomes, 2001. "Financing Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1263-1285, December.
  12. Stephen Bond & Julie Ann Elston & Jacques Mairesse & Benoît Mulkay, 2003. "Financial Factors and Investment in Belgium, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom: A Comparison Using Company Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 153-165, February.
  13. Cummins, Jason & Hassett, Kevin & Oliner, Stephen, 1997. "Investment Behavior, Observable Expectations and Internal Funds," Working Papers 97-30, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  14. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1991. "Corporate Structure, Liquidity, and Investment: Evidence from Japanese Industrial Groups," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 33-60.
  15. Steven N. Kaplan & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities are not Valid Measures of Financing Constraints," NBER Working Papers 7659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2000. "Funding growth in bank-based and market-based financial systems : evidence from firm level data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2432, The World Bank.
  17. Nathalie Moyen, 2004. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities: Constrained versus Unconstrained Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 2061-2092, October.
  18. Steven N. Kaplan & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Do Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Provide Useful Measures of Financing Constraints?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 169-215.
  19. Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello & Michael S. Weisbach, 2004. "The Cash Flow Sensitivity of Cash," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1777-1804, 08.
  20. Jarrad Harford, 1999. "Corporate Cash Reserves and Acquisitions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 1969-1997, December.
  21. Opler, Tim & Pinkowitz, Lee & Stulz, Rene & Williamson, Rohan, 1999. "The determinants and implications of corporate cash holdings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 3-46, April.
  22. Kim, Chang-Soo & Mauer, David C. & Sherman, Ann E., 1998. "The Determinants of Corporate Liquidity: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(03), pages 335-359, September.
  23. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 2000. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities are Useful: A Comment on Kaplan and Zingales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 695-705.
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