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Date Published:Jun 1, 2004
This paper studies the effects of financial constraints on firm growth by investigating if large depreciations differentially impact multinational affiliates and local firms in emerging markets. U.S. multinational affiliates increase sales, assets and investment significantly more than local firms during, and subsequent to, currency crises. The enhanced relative performance of multinationals is traced to their ability to use internal capital markets to capitalize on the competitiveness benefits of large depreciations. Investment specifications indicate that increases in leverage resulting from sharp depreciations constrain local firms from capitalizing on these investment opportunities, but do not constrain multinational affiliates. Multinational parents also infuse new capital in their affiliates after currency crises. These results indicate another role for foreign direct investment in emerging markets–multinational affiliates expand economic activity during currency crises when local firms are most constrained.