The experience of the last crisis has re-emphasized the vital role played by the conditions underpinning access to finance. In this context, the book examines the importance of financing conditions as an explanatory factor for differences in companies’ investment rate and productivity, providing evidence for the Spanish case. The investment rate is a crucial variable to explain the business cycle, and therefore changes in GDP and employment. And productivity is widely acknowledged to be a key driver of long-term economic growth.
The publication’s main value-added is its microeconomic analysis of the determinants of Spanish firms’ investment and productivity, with particular attention to debt levels and the extent of constraints on access to finance. The research done shows that high indebtedness holds back the recovery of investment, and that its effect is non-linear, with its negative impact amplified above a given threshold. This adverse effect of indebtedness is over and above the problems caused by financing constraints, such that the two variables capture different things.
The second part of the book is devoted to analyzing productivity in relation to financial variables. The results indicate that the greater the degree of financing constraint, the lower the productivity. That said, debt is the financial variable that most influences productivity. Higher debt levels can boost productivity by allowing resources to be allocated more efficiently (increased investment, etc.). However, the relationship turns negative above a given threshold, as of which greater indebtedness is associated with lower productivity.
These findings provide useful pointers for economic policymakers. Specifically, in view of the consequences of high indebtedness on the subsequent recovery of investment, and its long-term effects on productivity, it is important to develop early warning mechanisms that detect when corporate indebtedness has reached worrying levels, and also to reduce firms’ dependence on bank lending.
The book is directed at readers in the academic setting, as well as analysts and undergraduate and postgraduate students working on economy-related subjects.