Firms’ financing constraints: Do perceptions match the actual situation?
This paper uses a non parametric matching procedure to match survey replies to balance sheet information. It draws on the SAFE survey on access to finance for a sample of 11886 firms in the euro area which are matched with their nearest neighbour in an extended dataset with balance sheet information on 2.3 million firms. We investigate the role of firm characteristics with respect to the experience of facing financing obstacles in the period 2009-2011. We distinguish between firms' perceived financing constraints and actual financing constraints. We find that more profitable firms are less likely to face actual financing constraints. Also firms with more working capital and lower leverage ratios are less likely to be actually financially constrained, however profitability measures seem to be more robust. Firms are more likely to perceive access to finance problematic when they have more debt with short term maturity. Finally, firm age, but not size, is important in explaining both the perceived and the actual financial constraints.
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