Credit Constraints, Heterogeneous Firms, and International Trade

47 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2008 Last revised: 16 Sep 2010

See all articles by Kalina Manova

Kalina Manova

University College London - Department of Economics

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Date Written: December 2008


This paper examines the detrimental consequences of financial market imperfections for international trade. I develop a heterogeneous-firm model with countries at different levels of financial development and sectors of varying financial vulnerability. Applying this model to aggregate trade data, I study the mechanisms through which credit constraints operate. First, financial development increases countries' exports above and beyond its impact on overall production. Firm selection into exporting accounts for a third of the trade-specific effect, while two thirds are due to reductions in firm-level exports. Second, financially advanced economies export a wider range of products and their exports experience less product turnover. Finally, while all countries service large destinations, exporters with superior financial institutions have more trading partners and also enter smaller markets. All of these effects are magnified in financially vulnerable sectors. These results have important policy implications for less developed economies that rely on exports for economic growth but suffer from poor financial contractibility.

Suggested Citation

Manova, Kalina B., Credit Constraints, Heterogeneous Firms, and International Trade (December 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14531. Available at SSRN:

Kalina B. Manova (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Drayton House, 30 Gordon Street
30 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AX
United Kingdom

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