Markups, Productivity and the Financial Capability of Firms
34 Pages Posted: 25 May 2017 Last revised: 21 Dec 2017
Date Written: May 1, 2017
We extend a framework of monopolistically competitive firms heterogeneous in productivity and with endogenous markups (as in Melitz and Ottaviano, 2008) to incorporate the presence of financial frictions. Before producing, firms need to obtain a loan necessary to cover part of production costs, for which they have to pledge collateral in the form of tangible assets. In addition to productivity, firms are also heterogeneous in their financial capability: some firms have access to collateral at lower costs. As a result, financial capability and collateral requirements enter together with productivity in the expression of the equilibrium firm-level markup. At the aggregate level, the model shows that tighter credit constraints in the form of higher collateral requirements mitigate the pro-competitive effect of trade. We validate our theoretical results capitalizing on a representative sample of manufacturing firms surveyed across a subset of European countries during the financial crisis. Guided by theory, we estimate for each firm financial capability, TFP and markups. We then employ those estimates to structurally retrieve from the model a firm-specific measure of collateral requirements (a proxy of credit constraint), and test our main propositions.
Keywords: credit constraints, heterogeneous firms, markups, international trade
JEL Classification: F10, F14, G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation