The Role of Information Sharing in Trade Credit Distribution: Evidence from Thailand

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Asian-Pacific Economic Literature




Prior research has shown that information sharing among lenders facilitates bank credit allocation and reduces default rates. We examine the role of information sharing in trade credit allocation using a sample of publicly traded firms in Thailand over the 1994–2005 period. Taking the establishment of a private credit bureau in 1999 as signalling improvement in information sharing among lenders, we obtain three main results in the improved information sharing period: (1) Thai firms have become less dependent on supplier credit; (2) financially constrained firms redistribute more funds via trade credit; and (3) the relationships between the use of trade credit and firm-specific factors such as liquidity, free cash flow, tangible assets, interest cost ratio, and firm size weaken as information sharing improves. Our results are consistent with the view that better information sharing facilitates credit allocation. Hence, policies aiming at facilitating information exchange among financial intermediaries should be supported. We also find support for the view that bank credit substitutes for trade credit. This substitution lowers firms' cost of capital, given that trade credit is assumed to be more costly than bank loans.