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Innovation, asymmetric information and the capital structure of new firms

ABSTRACT Start-ups are essential contributors to economic development, but they often face several barriers to growth, including access to finance. We study their capital structure in their early years of operation through the lens of Pecking Order Theory, exploring how the pursuit of innovation influences firms’ reliance on different types of finance. Panel analyses of 8273 German start-ups show that innovation activities are relevant predict start-ups’ revealed preferences for finance. Effects on the type and order of financing sources depend on the degree of information asymmetries specific to research and development activities, human capital endowments, and the market introduction of new products and processes. New firms focused on research and development activities and with better human capital are less likely to receive informationally complex finance such as debt and will rely relatively more on owner and equity finance. Mixed evidence is found, instead, on the role of new products or processes. Our results suggest that the traditional pecking order theory does not hold for new firms, implying that owner and external equity play a much more prominent role for such firms. Then, managers and entrepreneurs should consider specific sources of finance and financial instruments in light of their innovative activities.

Can the development of digital finance stimulate enterprise innovation? Empirical evidence from China

ABSTRACT Based on the data of China A-share listed enterprises, this paper examines the actual effect and mechanism of the development of digital finance on different innovation behaviors of enterprises, by using the panel data model and regression-based mediation analysis. It is found that the development of digital finance not only promotes the R&D investment of enterprises but also improves the quantity and quality of enterprise innovation output. The incentive effect of digital finance on enterprise R&D investment is stronger than that on innovation output, while the incentive effect of digital finance on enterprise breakthrough innovation is stronger than that of incremental innovation. Both the ‘broadening’ and the ‘deepening’ of digital finance have a significant positive effect on enterprise innovation, while the ‘digitalization degree’ of digital finance has no significant effect on enterprise innovation, and even may hinder the improvement of innovation quality. The incentive effect of digital finance on the innovation output of state-owned enterprises is reflected in ‘quantity’, while the incentive effect on innovation of non-state-owned enterprises is reflected in ‘quality’. Digital finance can stimulate enterprise innovation by easing the financing constraints of enterprises, optimizing the government subsidy system, and improving the business environment.

Complementarity between product and process innovation in small and micro-enterprises in Johannesburg, South Africa

ABSTRACT Innovation is important to firms’ productivity, competitiveness, agility, resilience and growth. The success of a firm’s innovation strategy depends in part on how it combines and absorbs different innovation activities. Using the Crépon-Duguet-Mairesse (CDM) structural model, this paper analyses complementarity between product and process innovation for the case of small and micro manufacturing firms in Johannesburg, South Africa. The empirical analysis utilises rich new firm-level survey data that, unlike most firm surveys, includes micro-sized firms as well as informal enterprises. Our results show strong evidence of complementarity between product and process innovations in their effects on firm performance. The results suggest that firm size, capital intensity, firm age, innovation expenditure and financial constraints are key variables associated with complementarity. We extend the specifications used in previous studies to take account of the contextual setting, with split samples by firm formality, ownership and size. We find evidence of complementarity in formal firms only. Our results also show stronger effects of complementarity in micro-firms and foreign-owned firms. The findings have relevance for promoting innovation and for enhancing the effects of innovation on firm performance among micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) in a developing country context.

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