"Financial Reforms and Aggregate Productivity: The Microeconomic Channels"
Publication type: Working paper
Research Archive Topic: Corporate Finance
This paper analyzes the microeconomic channels by which financial sector reforms affect aggregate productivity. We use a large firm-level dataset to study the episode of financial market liberalization in 10 Eastern European countries starting in the late 1990s. We exploit cross-sectoral differences in external financial dependence and find that financial reform increases productivity disproportionately in industries heavily dependent on external finance. We show that this productivity increase is driven entirely by improvements in the within-industry allocation of resources across firms, as opposed to within-firm productivity improvements. According to our results, reform allows financially-constrained firms to take on new debt, increase market share, and produce closer to optimal level. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that financial reform increases aggregate manufacturing productivity by 17%. Our results highlight financial markets' key role in improving the within-industry allocation of capital.
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