Economic Policy Uncertainty and Short-Term Financing: The Case of Trade Credit
54 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2019 Last revised: 20 Mar 2020
Date Written: March 21, 2019
We examine the impact of policy uncertainty on trade credit. We document a decline (increase) in accounts payable and receivable during periods of high (low) policy uncertainty. The relation is robust and holds after controlling for endogeneity, economic and political uncertainties, and the Great Recession. Additionally, the impact of policy uncertainty on trade credit is long term, affecting short-term borrowing and lending in the following year as well. The reduction in trade credit during periods of high uncertainty is driven by a decrease in supply; firms that are most likely to lend, reduce credit to customers during these periods. There is no evidence that firms with access to alternative sources of funding reduce their borrowings during periods of high policy uncertainty. For the subset of firms that have limited access to external funds, there is an increase in accounts payable in high uncertainty periods suggesting that these firms view trade credit as a substitute source of financing during difficult times. Finally, industry competitiveness impacts the relation; suppliers (customers) in competitive industries have higher (lower) levels of accounts receivable (payable) during high uncertainty periods.
Keywords: Policy Uncertainty, Trade Credits
JEL Classification: G20, G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation