Legal and financial constraints and firm growth: small and medium enterprises (SMEs) versus large enterprises

Anh Tuan Bui, Thu Phuong Pham, Linh Chi Pham, Thi Khanh Van Ta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the impact of financing and legal obstacles on firm growth across different firm sizes before and after the global financial crisis (GFC). Using two enterprise surveys in Vietnam, we find firms facing higher financing obstacles have lower sales and employment growth. The smallest firms are the most adversely affected by financing obstacles. The legal obstacles impede the employment growth of SMEs more than large enterprises, which is attributable to the tendency of firms to avoid tall poppy syndrome and the scrutiny of tax officials. Furthermore, we find that the negative effects of financing obstacles on small firms' sales and employment growth reduce in the post-GFC period. We attribute it to a higher proportion of small firms being able to borrow from commercial banks after the financial crisis, partly due to the introduction of new policies supporting SMEs from the Vietnamese Government. Overall, our findings recommend to policymakers that improvement in access to finance is imperative for productivity increases and job creation for small and medium firms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere08576
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Employment growth
  • Financial obstacles
  • Legal obstacles
  • Sales growth


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