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Firms' leverage and export quality evidence from France

  • Sarah Guillou

    (Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques)

  • Michel Bernini

    (School of International Studies)

  • Flora Bellone

    (Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion)

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 enhance 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 a negative impact of debt financing on firms’ incentive to undertake quality upgrading investments.

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Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number 2013-13.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/f6h8764enu2lskk9p4sr364g4
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