Small businesses and liquidity constraints in financing business investment

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Journal of Business Venturing, ISSN: 0883-9026, Vol: 15, Issue: 4, Page: 363-383

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CHOW, Kong Wing, Clement; FUNG, Ka Yiu, Michael
Elsevier BV; Elsevier
Business, Management and Accounting
article description
When firms experience financial hierarchy, external finance, if at all available, is substantially more expensive than internal finance. Factors such as transaction costs, agency problem, and asymmetric information have created such a hierarchy. Stiglitz and Weiss (1981) argue that asymmetric information between firms and potential suppliers of external finance creates adverse selection and moral hazard problems in the credit market in developed market economies. This problem of a higher cost of external finance is commonly thought to be more serious for small firms because they are more disadvantaged than their larger counterparts in accessing external finance due to several factors: (1) Public information on small firms is generally not available and leads to the even greater problem of asymmetric information, i.e., more severe adverse selection and moral hazard problems. These information problems have excluded small firms from bond and share markets. (2) Due to the lack of available means of external finance, small firms rely more heavily on bank loans than their larger counterparts. In addition, as small firms are more interested in cultivating stable relationships with a few banks in order to secure a stable supply of credit, these banks become virtual monopolies by lending to small businesses and exercise their market power in lending to small firms.