Three essays on trade credit and market power

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Schiozer, Rafael Felipe
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This thesis addresses a fundamental question about trade credit: does market power matter? We answer this question by developing a theoretical framework and researching the empirical impact of market power in trade credit. Our work is organized in three essays. After the introduction section, the first essay encompasses a thorough selected literature review including 85 articles. The majority of this works were published in the last two decades in top ranked journals. Their findings are classified according to the theoretical approach and empirical results pros and cons. Our objective in this chapter is to shed light on the major conclusions and controversies in the state of art regarding trade credit extension. In our second essay we develop a theoretical model to explain the impact of market power in the product market and financial constraints on trade credit extension. Our model is based on a rational profit maximizing firm operating with a certain some market power represented by the price elasticity of its product and with customers presenting a certain degree of financial constraint which reflects in their trade credit term-sensitivity of demand. Besides showing the detailed deduction of this model using a non-linear programming approach (Kuhn-Tucker) we finish this chapter by showing the model implications compared to the trade credit literature. Finally in the third essay we investigate whether market power in the product market affects trade credit decisions. We exploit the 2007-08 credit crisis in the U.S. as an exogenous source of variation in firm external financing conditions, which in turn affects the firms’ ability to exert product market power towards their clients and suppliers. We find that firms with high market power increase their net trade credit days by more than 6 days relatively to firms with low market power during the financial crisis. This effect is economically significant as it represents more than 11% of the median receivable days of the firms in our sample. Our results contribute with the previous literature by documenting an effect of product market competition on trade credit decisions and by bringing into discussion a new dimension that is controversial in the trade credit literature.

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