The Impact of Foreign Liabilities on Small Firms: Firm-Level Evidence from the Korean Crisis
NBER Working Paper No. 17756
Using Korean firm-level data on publicly-listed and privately-held firms together with firm exit data, we find strong evidence of the balance-sheet effect for small firms at both the intensive and extensive margins. During the crisis, small firms with more short-term foreign debt are more likely to go bankrupt, and experience larger sales declines conditional on survival. The extensive margin accounts for a large fraction of small firms’ adjustment during the crisis. Consistent with many studies in the literature, large firms with larger exposure to foreign debt paradoxically have better performance during the crisis at both the intensive and extensive margin.
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