Access to Credit and the Effect of Credit Constraints on Costa Rican Manufacturing Firms
This paper examines the finances and the effect of credit limitations on the behavior and performance of firms in Costa Rica. The study is based on a survey of manufacturing firms conducted by the authors during 2001. The paper characterizes the profile firms’ finances, examines the determinants of firms’ access to banking credit and tries to assess the effect of credit constraints on the behavior and performance of firms. The paper finds that while banks are the main source of credit for larger firms, non-banking credit (trade plus informal credit) remains the leading source of funds for smaller firms. Moreover, own funds and informal credit is a leading form of credit for newly created firms. It is also found that the probability of having banking credit and the fraction of banking credit/total debt is mostly affected by (if anything) characteristics of the firm and not by those of their owners. Indeed, the firm’s value and age, and whether it keeps formal accounting procedures appear as the most relevant determinants of access to banking credit. With respect to the starting up finances of firms, the data is not conclusive on the determinants of banking credit, yet it suggests a negative relationship with the previous entrepreneurship experience of the owner. The paper discusses different explanations, all of which highlight the importance of credit constraints. Adopting ideas from the econometric literature on treatment effects, the paper explores the effect of banking credit on the behavior and performance of firms. Two different methods are used to correct for selection biases: a parametric two-step point method and a non-parametric method that estimates upper and lower bounds for the effects. While the results are not statistically conclusive, both methods do suggest that having access to banking credit positively affects firms’ performance.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2003|
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