Using data from 2009 to 2016 data, we investigate the relation between leverage and investment in listed firms in China against the backdrop of rising shadow banking. We examine a component of Chinese shadow banking specifically related to firm financing: entrusted loans that arise through credit intermediation among non-financial listed firms. We identify credit intermediation by estimating the elasticity of liquid financial assets to financial liabilities. Our fixed-effect instrumental variable estimation shows that credit intermediation among Chinese firms positively affects firm investment efficiency. In particular, as firms lend to other affiliated firms, the enhanced lender-borrower interest alignment alleviates debt overhang problem that firms must otherwise fully endure in industries where there is no active credit intermediation. For private firms, affiliation with lending state-owned enterprises is a substitute for political connection, as both forge stronger interest alignment and reduce debt overhang. We observe a similar outcome for state-owned enterprises in industries where credit intermediation is performed by either private or state firms. Moreover, credit intermediation exerts some disciplinary effects on the investment of low-performance firms. Our findings are robust to different measures of firm performance.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Business, Management and Accounting(all)
- Credit intermediation
- Political connection
- Shadow banking