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An analysis of the effects of the severance payment reform on credit to Italian SMEs

An analysis of the effects of the severance payment reform on credit to Italian SMEs Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study the impact of the 2007 Italian severance payment reform on the cost and the access to credit for small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs). Design/methodology/approach – The authors study the implications of the reform adapting the theoretical credit‐rationing model of Holmstrom and Tirole, then estimate the capital outflows due to the reform and, using the theoretical prediction, assess its impact using mathematical simulations. Findings – The authors predict that the reform may cause severe credit constraints to SMEs which cannot pledge enough collateral in order to obtain credit. The most direct consequences are to reduce in the long run the amount of liquid assets available to Italian firms, and to reduce their aggregate investment in a more than proportional way, due to access to credit restrictions. However, it will not increase the cost of intermediated finance, ceteris paribus . Practical implications – The fact that the reform restricts access to credit, but does not increase the cost of debt, has important policy consequences, as public interventions subsidizing credit through a constant cost of debt may be ineffective. Originality/value – While the topic has been analyzed in several respects (e.g. workers' participation to the reform, cost of an access to credit subsidy, etc.), no other study proposed an integrated view of these effects with a rigorous micro‐economic approach. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Financial Economic Policy Emerald Publishing

An analysis of the effects of the severance payment reform on credit to Italian SMEs

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1757-6385
DOI
10.1108/17576381111152227
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to study the impact of the 2007 Italian severance payment reform on the cost and the access to credit for small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs). Design/methodology/approach – The authors study the implications of the reform adapting the theoretical credit‐rationing model of Holmstrom and Tirole, then estimate the capital outflows due to the reform and, using the theoretical prediction, assess its impact using mathematical simulations. Findings – The authors predict that the reform may cause severe credit constraints to SMEs which cannot pledge enough collateral in order to obtain credit. The most direct consequences are to reduce in the long run the amount of liquid assets available to Italian firms, and to reduce their aggregate investment in a more than proportional way, due to access to credit restrictions. However, it will not increase the cost of intermediated finance, ceteris paribus . Practical implications – The fact that the reform restricts access to credit, but does not increase the cost of debt, has important policy consequences, as public interventions subsidizing credit through a constant cost of debt may be ineffective. Originality/value – While the topic has been analyzed in several respects (e.g. workers' participation to the reform, cost of an access to credit subsidy, etc.), no other study proposed an integrated view of these effects with a rigorous micro‐economic approach.

Journal

Journal of Financial Economic PolicyEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 9, 2011

Keywords: Italy; Legislation; Severance payment; Moral hazard; Credit constraints; Small to medium‐sized enterprises

References