Access to Debt and the Provision of Trade Credit
48 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2021
Date Written: November 18, 2021
How does access to debt markets affect firms' provision of trade credit? While better access to credit may facilitate trade credit provision during banking crises, outside of crises, increased debt capacity could strengthen a firm's bargaining power relative to major customers and relieve the pressure for them to provide trade credit to those customers. We test this conjecture using hand-collected trade credit data between pairs of U.S. public firms. Using the staggered passage of anti-recharacterization laws as exogenous shocks to firms' access to debt, we show that better access to debt reduces firms’ extension of trade credit to their major customers. The reduction in trade credit provision is more pronounced in pairs where the (treated) supplier's industry is more dependent on the customer's. Within the same supplier firm, less trade credit is provided to financially healthy customers, who likely possess stronger bargaining power prior to the laws. Firms affected by the laws expand their customer base and deepen relations with riskier customers. Facing a tightening of trade credit, customers scale back investment and rely more on external debt. They also provide less trade credit to firms further downstream.
Keywords: Trade Credit, Access to Debt, Creditor Rights, Supply-Chain, Bargaining Power
JEL Classification: G32, G33, L14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation