Review of Industrial Organization

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 123–147 | Cite as

Can Financing Constraints Explain the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution?

  • Ralf R. Meisenzahl


This paper exploits a comprehensive data set on business credit decisions to examine the importance of financing constraints for the evolution of the firm size distribution. The survey of small business finances provides information on whether a firm was in need of external financing. Firms without access to external financing—either because they were denied credit or because they did not apply for credit because they expected to be denied credit—are significantly smaller. To tighten the link between financing constraints and firm dynamics, I estimate the effect of financing constraints on subsequent employment growth and find that firms without access to external financing exhibit up to 3.5 % points lower annual employment growth than do their unconstrained counterparts. These findings suggest that financing constraints are a potentially important factor for understanding firm dynamics.


Financing constraints Firm size distribution Firm growth 

JEL Classification

L11 L25 



I would like to thank Larry Christiano, Martin Eichenbaum, Traci Mach, Robin Prager, Missaka Warusawitharana, Larry White, and participants at the Royal Economic Society Meeting for helpful comments. All errors are mine. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA)  2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federal Reserve BoardWashingtonUSA

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