China Accounting and Finance Review

, 17:2

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Social Network and Trade Credit: Evidence Based on Structural Holes

  • Yunsen ChenAffiliated withSchool of Accountancy, Central University of Finance and Economics Email author 


A firm’s social network can provide it with competitive advantage, while its trade credit may reflect the competitiveness of its business operations. Unfortunately, there is a lack of crossover studies looking at both social networks and business credit. This paper investigates the influence of a firm holding different structural hole positions on its trade credit. By defining networks as directors’ interlocking positions and using social network analysis to compute the structural holes, this study demonstrates empirically that firms with more structural holes get more trade credit, thereby enhancing their competitive advantage in the market, and their trade credit-cash sensitivity also decreases. These results hold after controlling for the endogeneity problem and the influence of a network centrality measure. Additional analyses show that the influence of structural hole position on trade credit is more obvious in highly competitive industries and regions that have a higher level of marketisation. Moreover, the effect is found mainly for larger and more mature firms and those situated in a worse information environment, and often manifests during a time of loose monetary policies. The results suggest that the control and information advantages obtained by positioning in structural holes are important in enabling firms to obtain trade credit, which can enhance their competitive advantage. The conclusions contribute to the literature on social network and corporate finance.


Structural Holes Social Network Board Network Trade Credit Product Market Competition

社会网络与商业信用: 基于 “结构洞” 位置的证据