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Firm Dynamics and Financial Development

Staff Report 392 | Published July 20, 2009

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Cristina Arellano Assistant Director, Policy and Monetary Advisor
Yan Bai University of Rochester and NBER
Jing Zhang Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Firm Dynamics and Financial Development


This paper studies the impact of cross-country variation in financial market development on firms’ financing choices and growth rates using comprehensive firm-level datasets. We document that in less financially developed economies, small firms grow faster and have lower debt to asset ratios than large firms. We then develop a quantitative model where financial frictions drive firm growth and debt financing through the availability of credit and default risk. We parameterize the model to the firms’ financial structure in the data and show that financial restrictions can account for the majority of the difference in growth rates between firms of different sizes across countries.

Published in: _Journal of Monetary Economics_ (Vol. 59, No. 6, October 2012, pp. 533-549)