IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do Firms Use the Trade Credit Channel to Manage Growth?





While many theories of accounts payable and receivable are related to firm performance, there has not been a direct test whether firms actively use them to manage their growth. We argue that it is not just the accounts payable but also the accounts receivable that matter. While the former help to alleviate imperfections in the financial market, the latter do so in the product market. Using over 2.5 million observations for 600.000 firms in 8 euro area countries in the period 1993-2009, we show that firms use the trade credit channel to manage growth. In countries where the trade credit channel is more present, the marginal impact is lower, but the total impact is still bigger. Further, firms that are more vulnerable to financial market imperfections, and therefore more likely to be financially constrained, rely more on the trade credit channel to manage growth. Finally, we show that also the overall conditions of the financial market matter for the importance of the trade credit channel for growth.

Suggested Citation

  • A. Ferrando & K. Mulier, 2012. "Do Firms Use the Trade Credit Channel to Manage Growth?," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/820, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:12/820

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark Gertler, 1988. "Financial structure and aggregate economic activity: an overview," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 559-596.
    2. Stowe, John D & Watson, Collin J & Robertson, Terry D, 1980. " Relationships between the Two Sides of the Balance Sheet: A Canonical Correlation Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 35(4), pages 973-980, September.
    3. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta & Olivier Boylaud, 2000. "Summary Indicators of Product Market Regulation with an Extension to Employment Protection Legislation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 226, OECD Publishing.
    4. Petersen, Mitchell A & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1997. "Trade Credit: Theories and Evidence," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 10(3), pages 661-691.
    5. Giuseppe Marotta, 2001. "Is trade credit more expensive than bank loans? Evidence from Italian firm-level data," Heterogeneity and monetary policy 0103, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia Politica.
    6. Mike Burkart & Tore Ellingsen, 2004. "In-Kind Finance: A Theory of Trade Credit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 569-590, June.
    7. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna & Giuseppe Nicoletti & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2005. "Regulation And Investment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 791-825, June.
    8. Goddard, John & Wilson, John & Blandon, Peter, 2002. "Panel tests of Gibrat's Law for Japanese manufacturing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 415-433, March.
    9. Guariglia, Alessandra & Mateut, Simona, 2006. "Credit channel, trade credit channel, and inventory investment: Evidence from a panel of UK firms," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(10), pages 2835-2856, October.
    10. Guido De Blasio, 2003. "Does Trade Credit Substitute Bank Credit? Evidence From Firm-Level Data," IMF Working Papers 03/166, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    12. Nilsen, Jeffrey H, 2002. "Trade Credit and the Bank Lending Channel," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(1), pages 226-253, February.
    13. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    14. Mian, Shehzad L & Smith, Clifford W, Jr, 1992. " Accounts Receivable Management Policy: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(1), pages 169-200, March.
    15. Mariassunta Giannetti & Mike Burkart & Tore Ellingsen, 2011. "What You Sell Is What You Lend? Explaining Trade Credit Contracts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(4), pages 1261-1298.
    16. Cayssials, J. L. & Kremp, E., 2010. "SMEs in the manufacturing sector in France an intermediate position compared with eight other European countries," Quarterly selection of articles - Bulletin de la Banque de France, Banque de France, issue 18, pages 27-44, Summer.
    17. Love, Inessa & Preve, Lorenzo A. & Sarria-Allende, Virginia, 2007. "Trade credit and bank credit: Evidence from recent financial crises," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 453-469, February.
    18. Raymond Fisman & Inessa Love, 2003. "Trade Credit, Financial Intermediary Development, and Industry Growth," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(1), pages 353-374, February.
    19. Guido de Blasio, 2005. "Does Trade Credit Substitute Bank Credit? Evidence from Firm-level Data," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 34(1), pages 85-112, February.
    20. Bougheas, Spiros & Mateut, Simona & Mizen, Paul, 2009. "Corporate trade credit and inventories: New evidence of a trade-off from accounts payable and receivable," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 300-307, February.
    21. Choi, Woon Gyu & Kim, Yungsan, 2005. "Trade Credit and the Effect of Macro-Financial Shocks: Evidence from U.S. Panel Data," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(04), pages 897-925, December.
    22. Gropp, Reint & Boissay, Frédéric, 2007. "Trade credit defaults and liquidity provision by firms," Working Paper Series 753, European Central Bank.
    23. Chee K. Ng & Janet Kiholm Smith & Richard L. Smith, 1999. "Evidence on the Determinants of Credit Terms Used in Interfirm Trade," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 1109-1129, June.
    24. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    25. Joao F. Gomes, 2001. "Financing Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1263-1285, December.
    26. Ge, Ying & Qiu, Jiaping, 2007. "Financial development, bank discrimination and trade credit," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 513-530, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ejores:v:266:y:2018:i:2:p:554-568 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Woo Sung Kim, 2016. "Determinants of Corporate Trade Credit: An Empirical Study on Korean Firms," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 6(2), pages 414-419.
    3. O'Toole, Conor M. & Morgenroth, Edgar L.W. & Ha, Thuy T., 2016. "Investment efficiency, state-owned enterprises and privatisation: Evidence from Viet Nam in Transition," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 93-108.
    4. Isaac Kwame Essien Obeng, 2016. "Delaying payments after the financial crisis: evidence from EU companies," MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics 2016-66, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    5. Nicoleta Barbuta-Misu & Fitim Deari, 2016. "Determinants of Trade Credit: A Preliminary Analysis on Construction Sector," Risk in Contemporary Economy, "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, pages 306-314.
    6. Lars Norden & Stefan van Kampen, 2015. "The Dynamics of Trade Credit and Bank Debt in SME Finance: International Evidence," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Angus Moore & John Simon (ed.), Small Business Conditions and Finance Reserve Bank of Australia.
    7. repec:eco:journ3:2017-04-18 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Annalisa Ferrando, 2015. "Discussion of The Dynamics of Trade Credit and Bank Debt in SME Finance: International Evidence," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Angus Moore & John Simon (ed.), Small Business Conditions and Finance Reserve Bank of Australia.
    9. Casey, Eddie & O'Toole, Conor M., 2014. "Bank lending constraints, trade credit and alternative financing during the financial crisis: Evidence from European SMEs," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 173-193.
    10. repec:eee:proeco:v:193:y:2017:i:c:p:148-159 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Ferrando, Annalisa & Mulier, Klaas, 2015. "The real effects of credit constraints: evidence from discouraged borrowers in the euro area," Working Paper Series 1842, European Central Bank.

    More about this item


    firm performance; trade credit; accounts payable; accounts receivable;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rug:rugwps:12/820. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nathalie Verhaeghe). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.