Access to long term debt and effects of firm's performance : lessons from Ecudaor
Recent theory increasingly emphasizes the association of short-term debt with higher-quality firms and better incentives. The possibility of premature liquidation, for example, may serve as a disciplinary device to improve firm performance. At the same time the role of long-term debt, especially when it is heavily subsidized, is being rethought because so many development banks are plagued with nonperforming loans and doubts about the selection criteria used in allocating funds. The authors explore empirical evidence about the structure of debt maturity in Ecuadorian firms. They discuss how it has been affected by government intervention in credit markets, and by financial liberalization. Using firm panel data, they investigate the determinants of access to long-term debt in Ecuador. Finally, they provide evidence about how the maturity structure of debt affects firms'performance, particularly productivity and capital accumulation. They find that: a) long-term debt is very unevenly distributed; b) large firms are more likely to have access to long term debt than small firms and are on average more profitable; c) conditional on size, operating profits do not increase probability of receiving long-term credit and may actually decrease it, suggesting that the mechanism used to allocate long-term resources in Ecuador may be flawed; d) the allocation problem was worse for directed credit, though there is evidence this problem was less severe after financial liberalization; e) there is a strong positive association between asset maturity and debt maturity, a matching of assets and liabilities; f) shorter-term loans are not conducive to greater productivity, while long-term loans may lead to improvements in productivity; and g) while long-term loans may positively affect the quality of capital accumulation, they do not have an impact on the amount of fixed investment.
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