Open Economies Review

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 739–757 | Cite as

Access to Finance and Exports – Comparable Evidence for Small and Medium Enterprises from Industry and Services in 25 European Countries

  • Joachim WagnerEmail author
Research Article


This study uses strictly comparable data for small and medium sized enterprises from industry or services in 25 European countries to test for links between credit restrictions and export activities of firms (participation in exports and share of exports in total sales). Data were collected in the Survey on Access to Finance of Enterprises (SAFE) conducted on behalf of the European Commission and the European Central Bank. Credit restrictions are measured by the importance of problems related to access to finance reported by the firms. Contrary to the big picture revealed by a comprehensive literature survey a statistically significant negative relationship between more severe problems in access to finance and exports is only rarely found.


Credit constraints Access to finance Exports International comparison 

JEL Classification




I thank three anonymous referees for carefully reading my paper and making suggestions for improvements. The firm level data used in this study were collected in the Survey on Access to Finance of Enterprises (SAFE) conducted on behalf of the European Commission (DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) and the European Central Bank (ECB). To request the anonymized microdata, go to the SAFE webpage at and follow the instructions in the section “Access to microdata”. To facilitate replication the Stata-do-files used are available from the author on request.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of EconomicsLeuphana University LueneburgLueneburgGermany

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