Financial constraint, trust, and export performances: Firm-level evidence from Africa
Several existing studies have documented a negative relationship between firm financial constraint and export activities but do not attempt to examine factors that could attenuate this relationship in Africa. In this paper, we examine the effect of financial constraint on exports in Africa and explore how the level of trust in countries where firms are located shapes this relationship. We combine the World Bank Enterprise Surveys with different measures of country-level personal and interpersonal trust computed from the Afrobarometer surveys of 19 African countries. Our results show that financial constraints negatively affect export activities. However, this negative effect is attenuated for firms that are located in trust-intensive societies. These findings are robust to different specifications. Interestingly, we find that small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa are more likely to be affected by financial constraints but also more likely to benefit from a higher level of both personal and interpersonal trust, while for larger firms only interpersonal trust matters.