Posts categorized under Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises

The struggle of small firms to retain high-skill workers

July 18, 2022
Small knowledge firms struggle to keep their best employees: highly-skilled workers are needed for growth and success, but small firms cannot hold onto them. Advanced knowledge increases the productivity of skilled workers. Because large firms are more innovative and technological, this knowledge-skill complementarity may be different for small and large firms. This paper applies discrete-time proportional hazards models with unobserved heterogeneity for several worker skill measures and human capital accumulation, interacted with firm-size categories and industry knowledge-intensity to ascertain how knowledge-skill complementarities are influenced by firm size.

Are online platforms killing the offline star?

June 22, 2022
Online platforms that facilitate the exchange of goods and services, including delivery services, accommodation, or retail products, have become widespread over the last decade. The COVID-19 shock has further contributed to the accelerated the digitalization of economies. This development has underpinned hopes for a productivity revival. However, significant differences across countries in factors such as access to communication networks and digital skills raise questions about the scope for platform use to underpin broad-based increases in productivity.

Entrepreneurship and industry clusters

May 12, 2022
The clustering of successful firms within small geographical areas is a feature of many industries that is usually attributed to the greater availability of economically valuable information and a specialized workforce. However, it is regularly observed that entrepreneurs locate their firms in their home region rather than being attracted by agglomerations. This paper reconciles these views by arguing that industry clusters can emerge because employees of incumbent firms often leave to create their own successful firms (usually called “spinoffs” or “spinouts”).

The real effects of FinTech lending on SMEs

January 10, 2022
Despite the attention that FinTech has received over the past years, the drivers and consequences of FinTech disruptive forces on financial markets remain open to debate. For example, an important open question relates to the impact that FinTech lending availability has on SMEs financing and investment policies. This paper addresses this question using a unique data set from a FinTech platform containing the universe of loan applications. The paper finds that FinTech serves larger, high profitability SMEs, who already have access to bank credit.

Helping the government promote its policies

July 1, 2021
Governments around the world devote substantial resources to support small and medium sized firms struggling with the consequences of economic and financial crises. A key question is whether the firms that stand to benefit most from government programs—for example, smaller firms or those with limited access to traditional financing—face information frictions that hamper access to aid. This paper tests whether informational frictions prevent firms from accessing government support measures. The paper considers the impact of providing detailed information on two COVID-19 assistance measures—a layoff support program and a guaranteed credit line scheme—on firm take-up using a sample of over 170,000 Portuguese firms (see figure).

Indebtedness in export-led SMEs

May 17, 2021
This study finds that Portuguese small and medium enterprises (SME) with a higher degree of export intensity rely more on internal funds. This finding arises from examining the determinants of corporate leverage on a sample of 7,676 Portuguese SMEs and by focusing on the impact of export intensity on firms’ capital structure. In addition, the analysis reveals that more profitable SMEs and those with more asset tangibility and business risk have lower debt ratios, but that SMEs with larger growth opportunities (measured either by sales growth or the ratio between CAPEX and total assets) are more levered.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises and the financial crisis

May 5, 2021
This article studies the growth determinants of small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) before and after the 2008 subprime crisis. SME’s growth correlates positively with firm-level cash flow and GDP, whereas it correlates negatively with firm-level debt, firm size and age, as well as with the economy-wide risk-free interest rate. After 2008, the financial crisis with the associated implementation of austerity measures in the Portuguese context, produced a negative effect on SME growth.

Debt financing and internationalization of Portuguese SMEs

June 4, 2018
This paper examines the relationship between the capital structure of Portuguese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and their export performance. The Portuguese industrial firms are of great importance for the domestic economy and played a significant role in the country’s economic recovery amid the recessionary environment of the last decade. Being smaller and privately owned, and thus with less publicly available information, SMEs tend to face greater agency and asymmetric information problems that impact investment and performance generally, and export performance more specifically.

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