Using a large unbalanced panel data set of Portuguese manufacturing firms surviving over the period from 1990 to 2001, the purpose of this paper is to examine whether liquidity constraints faced by business firms affect firm growth. We use a GMM-system to estimate a dynamic panel data model of firm growth that incorporates cash flow as a measure of liquidity constraints and persistence of growth. The model is estimated for all size classes, including micro firms. Our findings reveal that smaller and younger firms have higher growth-cash flow sensitivities than larger and more mature firms. This is consistent with the suggestion that financial constraints on firm growth may be relatively more severe for small and young firms. Nevertheless, the same finding can be interpreted in a different way if we consider the more recent literature which interpret the higher investment/cash flow sensitivity of younger and smaller firm in absence of financial market imperfection as the outcome of these firms reaction to the fact that realisation of their cash flows reveals them the direction to go in presence of uncertainty of their growth prospect. Besides, firms that were small and young at the beginning of the sample period exhibited more persistent growth than those that were large and old. Finally, these results have significant policy implications.
Small Business Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 6, 2006
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