SME access to market-based finance across Eurozone countries

  • Paola Bongini
  • Annalisa Ferrando
  • Emanuele RossiEmail author
  • Monica Rossolini


This paper provides an in-depth analysis of small and medium enterprise (SME) access to capital markets across Eurozone countries. First, we determine which factors—at firm and country level—influence the likelihood of SME access to market-based finance. Second, we construct an index of market suitability to indicate the percentage of firms potentially fit for market-based finance. Our results suggest that while several Eurozone countries have realised SMEs’ ‘potential’ for capital market financing, a large number of firms fit for market-based finance remain unexploited. We also find that overall business conditions—measured by GDP growth, the development degree of domestic financial markets and the quality of the legal and judicial enforcement system—considerably influence a firm’s market suitability. In the studied period (2009–2014), macro-economic and institutional factors tended to reduce the likelihood of SMEs accessing market-based finance in most countries in our sample.


Market-based finance SME financing Eurozone Capital markets union 


G10 G23 G32 



This paper was developed through CEPR’s Restarting European Long-Term Investment Finance (RELTIF) Programme, which is funded by Emittenti Titoli. We would also like to thank the participants in the RELTIF Authors’ Meetings and various seminars and conferences for their comments. In particular, we are grateful to Colin Mayer, Stefano Micossi, Marco Pagano, Vikrant Vig, Ioannis Ganoulis, Andrew Ellul, Flavio Bazzana, Christian Masiak and Frank Lang for helpful discussions and comments. All errors and omissions remain our own. Earlier versions of the paper were under the title, ‘Suitable or non-suitable? An investigation of Eurozone SME access to market-based finance’.

Funding information

The authors are grateful to the CEPR RELTIF Research Programme for the financial support of the research used in this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the European Central Bank or the Eurosystem.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business and LawUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly
  2. 2.European Central BankFrankfurt am MainGermany

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