Legal and Institutional Determinants of Factoring in SMEs: Empirical Analysis across 25 European Countries

Ana Mol-Gómez-Vázquez, Ginés Hernández-Cánovas*, Johanna Koëter-Kant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Weak protection of the rights of financiers intensifies agency problems in SME financing, inhibiting the optimal provision of credit necessary to grow and innovate. We use a survey data set of 4,348 SMEs from 25 European countries to analyze whether the use of factoring as a form of SME financing is less dependent on low quality of laws and institutions. We do so analyzing whether the use of factoring by SMEs differs across countries due to differences in the legal protection of creditors. Our findings indicate that firms operating in countries with legal environments that weakly protect the rights of creditors, with political instability or high enforcement costs, are more likely to use factoring. Managers of riskier and opaque companies operating in such inefficient environments can use the results of this study to better understand that there are suitable options to complement bank financing. Managers who seek loans can use the results to diversify their financing structure through the use of factoring. Since factoring can be used as a complement to bank loans or as a substitute for bank financing, it is important that policy makers take our results into account when revising policies concerning access to external financing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-329
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Small Business Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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