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Firms' Leverage and Export Quality: Evidence from France

  • Michele Bernini
  • Sarah Guillou
  • Flora Bellone

Is corporate financial structure a determinant of non-price competitiveness in export markets? In this paper we provide a positive answer to this question by finding that among illiquid exporters leverage is negatively correlated with the quality of their exported goods. This result is obtained on a sample including over 120,000 export flows of 6,229 French firms exporting within six HS6 products categories. The main methodological contribution of our study is the use of a flow-level measure of export quality obtained from the estimation of a structural model of demand (Berry, 1994); this estimator enhances the validity of our approach by avoiding the drawbacks of proxying for quality using export prices, as it is common practice in the trade literature. We argue that the negative impact of leverage on quality is consistent with theoretical contributions in the financial literature predicting that debt financing hampers the incentive to undertake quality upgrading investments.

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File URL: http://www.gredeg.cnrs.fr/working-papers/GREDEG-WP-2013-29.pdf
File Function: First version, 2013
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Paper provided by Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in its series GREDEG Working Papers with number 2013-29.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Banking and Finance, 2015, vol. 59, pp. 280-296.
Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2013-29
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Web page: http://www.gredeg.cnrs.fr

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  1. Philippe Askenazy & Aida Caldera & Guillaume Gaulier & Delphine Irac, 2015. "Financial constraints and foreign market entries or exits: firm-level evidence from France," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 151(2), pages 231-253, May.
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  7. Minetti, Raoul & Zhu, Susan Chun, 2011. "Credit constraints and firm export: Microeconomic evidence from Italy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 109-125, March.
  8. Maurice Kugler & Eric Verhoogen, 2012. "Prices, Plant Size, and Product Quality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 307-339.
  9. Gaulier, Guillaume & Zignago, Soledad, 2004. "Notes on BACI (analytical database of international trade). 1989-2002 version," MPRA Paper 32401, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Flora Bellone & Patrick Musso & Lionel Nesta & Stefano Schiavo, 2010. "Financial Constraints and Firm Export Behaviour," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 347-373, 03.
  11. Myers, Stewart C, 1984. " The Capital Structure Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 575-92, July.
  12. Paulo Macas Nunes & Tiago Neves Sequeira & Zelia Serrasqueiro, 2007. "Firms' leverage and labour productivity: a quantile approach in Portuguese firms," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(14), pages 1783-1788.
  13. Coricelli, Fabrizio & Driffield, Nigel & Pal, Sarmistha & Roland, Isabelle, 2012. "When does leverage hurt productivity growth? A firm-level analysis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1674-1694.
  14. Boutin, Xavier & Cestone, Giacinta & Fumagalli, Chiara & Pica, Giovanni & Serrano-Velarde, Nicolas, 2009. "The Deep Pocket Effect of Internal Capital Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 7184, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Kalina Manova & Zhiwei Zhang, 2009. "Export Prices Across Firms and Destinations," NBER Working Papers 15342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Aivazian, Varouj A. & Ge, Ying & Qiu, Jiaping, 2005. "The impact of leverage on firm investment: Canadian evidence," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-2), pages 277-291, March.
  17. Maksimovic, Vojislav & Titman, Sheridan, 1991. "Financial Policy and Reputation for Product Quality," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 4(1), pages 175-200.
  18. Aviv Nevo, 2000. "A Practitioner's Guide to Estimation of Random-Coefficients Logit Models of Demand," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(4), pages 513-548, December.
  19. Paulo Bastos & Joana Silva, . "The Quality of a Firm’s Exports: Where you Export to Matters," Discussion Papers 08/18, University of Nottingham, GEP.
  20. David A. Matsa, 2011. "Running on Empty? Financial Leverage and Product Quality in the Supermarket Industry," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 137-73, February.
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  22. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  23. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
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