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Informal or Formal Financing? Or Both? First Evidence on the Co-Funding of Chinese Firms


  • Degryse, Hans
  • Lu, Liping
  • Ongena, Steven


The recent financial crisis has reopened the debate on the impact of informal and formal finance on firm growth in developing countries. Using unique survey data, we find that informal finance is associated with higher sales growth for small firms and lower sales growth for large firms. We identify a complementary effect between informal and formal finance for the sales growth of small firms, but not for large firms. Informal finance offers informational and monitoring advantages, while formal finance offers relatively inexpensive funds. Co-funding, i.e. the simultaneous use of formal and informal finance, is the optimal choice for small firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Degryse, Hans & Lu, Liping & Ongena, Steven, 2013. "Informal or Formal Financing? Or Both? First Evidence on the Co-Funding of Chinese Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 9519, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9519

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yeon-Koo Che & Kathryn E. Spier, 2008. "Strategic judgment proofing," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 926-948.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beck, Thorsten & Lu, Liping & Yang, Rudai, 2015. "Finance and Growth for Microenterprises: Evidence from Rural China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 38-56.
    2. Kislat, Carmen & Menkhoff, Lukas & Neuberger, Doris, 2013. "The use of collateral in formal and informal lending," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79765, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Michele Benvenuti & Luca Casolaro & Emanuele Ciani, 2017. "Informal loans, liquidity constraints and local credit supply: evidence from Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1099, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    4. Steven Ongena & Yuejuan Yu, 2017. "Firm Industry Affiliation and Multiple Bank Relationships," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 1-17, February.
    5. Yu, Y., 2014. "Essays on relationship banking," Other publications TiSEM f3d56b9e-e79e-46c4-bd42-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

    More about this item


    Co-Funding; Formal Finance; Growth; Informal Finance;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies

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