This paper adds new empirical evidence on the mutual relationships between credit constraints, total factor productivity, Research and Development (R&D) investments and exporting, by jointly considering them in a simultaneous equation framework. Our empirical analysis focuses on a large sample of manufacturing firms from France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Our results confirm the well-known mutual positive correlation among exporting, R&D and firm’s productivity. They also show the existence of a mutual relationship between exporting, productivity and credit constraints: exporters and high productivity firms are less likely to be credit constrained, while better access to credit is associated with larger productivity and a higher probability of exporting. By contrast, we find no significant relation between investing in R&D and the probability to be credit constrained, conditional on exporting. This suggests that efficiency-improving strategies, mediated by the existence of credit constraints, are at the core of firm growth achieved through exporting and innovation.
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