Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

An empirical analysis of zero-leverage firms: New evidence from the UK

Contents:

Author Info

  • Dang, Viet Anh

Abstract

This paper examines why some firms have no debt in their capital structures despite the potential benefits of debt financing. It adds new insights to this zero-leverage phenomenon by addressing two unexplored questions: Does a firm have zero leverage as a consequence of financial constraints or because of a strategic decision to mitigate underinvestment incentives and preserve financial flexibility? Is the decision to follow a zero-leverage policy affected by macroeconomic conditions? Analyzing a new sample of UK firms over the period 1980–2007, we show that the zero-leverage policy is prevalent but that zero-leverage firms are not homogeneous. There are two distinct groups of unlevered firms with different levels of constraints as measured by their dividend policy, namely payers and non-payers. Importantly, we find new evidence that these groups have different motives for eschewing debt. Firms in the second group (non-payers) have zero leverage mainly due to financial constraints. Firms in the first group (payers) deliberately eschew debt to mitigate investment distortions, as predicted by the underinvestment and financial flexibility hypotheses. Macroeconomic conditions have a significant effect on the zero-leverage decision, especially for this less constrained group.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521913001282
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Review of Financial Analysis.

Volume (Year): 30 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 189-202

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:eee:finana:v:30:y:2013:i:c:p:189-202

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620166

Related research

Keywords: Capital structure; Low leverage; Financial constraints; Underinvestment; Financial flexibility;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Jarrad Harford, 1999. "Corporate Cash Reserves and Acquisitions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 1969-1997, December.
  2. A. A. Bevan & J. Danbolt, 2004. "Testing for inconsistencies in the estimation of UK capital structure determinants," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 55-66.
  3. Antoniou, Antonios & Guney, Yilmaz & Paudyal, Krishna, 2008. "The Determinants of Capital Structure: Capital Market-Oriented versus Bank-Oriented Institutions," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 59-92, March.
  4. Aivazian, Varouj A. & Ge, Ying & Qiu, Jiaping, 2005. "The impact of leverage on firm investment: Canadian evidence," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-2), pages 277-291, March.
  5. Devos, Erik & Dhillon, Upinder & Jagannathan, Murali & Krishnamurthy, Srinivasan, 2012. "Why are firms unlevered?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 664-682.
  6. Alan Bevan & Jo Danbolt, 2002. "Capital structure and its determinants in the UK - a decompositional analysis," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 159-170.
  7. Aydin Ozkan, 2001. "Determinants of Capital Structure and Adjustment to Long Run Target: Evidence From UK Company Panel Data," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1-2), pages 175-198.
  8. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  9. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & John Moore, 1995. "Credit Cycles," NBER Working Papers 5083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Erel, Isil & Julio, Brandon & Kim, Woojin & Weisbach, Michael S., 2010. "Macroeconomic Conditions and Capital Raising," SIFR Research Report Series 74, Institute for Financial Research, revised 26 Oct 2011.
  11. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas, 2000. "Equity, Bonds, and Bank Debt: Capital Structure and Financial Market Equilibrium under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 324-351, April.
  12. Efraim Benmelech & Nittai K. Bergman, 2008. "Collateral Pricing," NBER Working Papers 13874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Abe de Jong & Marno Verbeek & Patrick Verwijmeren, 2012. "Does Financial Flexibility Reduce Investment Distortions?," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association & Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 35(2), pages 243-259, 06.
  14. Almeida, Heitor & Campello, Murillo & Weisbach, Michael S., 2008. "Corporate Financial and Investment Policies When Future Financing Is Not Frictionless," Working Paper Series 2008-16, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  15. Myers, Stewart C., 1984. "Capital structure puzzle," Working papers 1548-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  16. John R. Graham, 2000. "How Big Are the Tax Benefits of Debt?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 1901-1941, October.
  17. Mitchell A. Petersen, 2009. "Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 435-480, January.
  18. Michael Faulkender & Mitchell A. Petersen, 2003. "Does the Source of Capital Affect Capital Structure?," NBER Working Papers 9930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Robert A. Korajczyk & Deborah Lucas & Robert L. McDonald, 1990. "Understanding Stock Price Behavior around the Time of Equity Issues," NBER Chapters, in: Asymmetric Information, Corporate Finance, and Investment, pages 257-278 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  21. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 27-48, Fall.
  22. Andrea Gamba & Alexander J. Triantis, 2007. "The Value of Financial Flexibility," Working Papers wpn07-02, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  23. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1998. "Private and Public Supply of Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(1), pages 1-40, February.
  24. Maria‐Teresa Marchica & Roberto Mura, 2010. "Financial Flexibility, Investment Ability, and Firm Value: Evidence from Firms with Spare Debt Capacity," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 39(4), pages 1339-1365, December.
  25. Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1993. " The Role of Credit Market Imperfections in the Monetary Transmission Mechanism: Arguments and Evidence," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(1), pages 43-64.
  26. Goldstein, Robert & Ju, Nengjiu & Leland, Hayne, 2001. "An EBIT-Based Model of Dynamic Capital Structure," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(4), pages 483-512, October.
  27. Flannery, Mark J. & Rangan, Kasturi P., 2006. "Partial adjustment toward target capital structures," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 469-506, March.
  28. Frank, Murray Z. & Goyal, Vidhan K., 2003. "Testing the pecking order theory of capital structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 217-248, February.
  29. Tim Opler & Lee Pinkowitz & Rene Stulz & Rohan Williamson, 1997. "The Determinants and Implications of Corporate Cash Holdings," NBER Working Papers 6234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Mark T. Leary & Michael R. Roberts, 2005. "Do Firms Rebalance Their Capital Structures?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2575-2619, December.
  31. Myers, Stewart C, 1984. " The Capital Structure Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 575-92, July.
  32. Lemmon, Michael L. & Zender, Jaime F., 2010. "Debt Capacity and Tests of Capital Structure Theories," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(05), pages 1161-1187, October.
  33. Jeffrey A. Wurgler & Malcolm P. Baker, 2001. "Market Timing and Capital Structure," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm181, Yale School of Management.
  34. Viet A. Dang, 2011. "Leverage, Debt Maturity and Firm Investment: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(1-2), pages 225-258, 01.
  35. DeAngelo, Harry & Masulis, Ronald W., 1980. "Optimal capital structure under corporate and personal taxation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 3-29, March.
  36. Murray Z. Frank & Vidhan K. Goyal, 2009. "Capital Structure Decisions: Which Factors Are Reliably Important?," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 38(1), pages 1-37, 03.
  37. Charles J. Hadlock & Joshua R. Pierce, 2010. "New Evidence on Measuring Financial Constraints: Moving Beyond the KZ Index," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(5), pages 1909-1940.
  38. Kraus, Alan & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1973. "A State-Preference Model of Optimal Financial Leverage," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 28(4), pages 911-22, September.
  39. Taffler, Richard J., 1984. "Empirical models for the monitoring of UK corporations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 199-227, June.
  40. Sean Cleary, 1999. "The Relationship between Firm Investment and Financial Status," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 673-692, 04.
  41. Cook, Douglas O. & Tang, Tian, 2010. "Macroeconomic conditions and capital structure adjustment speed," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 73-87, February.
  42. Edward I. Altman, 1968. "Financial Ratios, Discriminant Analysis And The Prediction Of Corporate Bankruptcy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 23(4), pages 589-609, 09.
  43. Acharya, Viral V. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K. & John, Kose, 2011. "Cross-country variations in capital structures: The role of bankruptcy codes," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 25-54, January.
  44. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  45. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  46. Fischer, Edwin O & Heinkel, Robert & Zechner, Josef, 1989. " Dynamic Capital Structure Choice: Theory and Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(1), pages 19-40, March.
  47. Varouj A. Aivazian & Ying Ge & Jiaping Qiu, 2005. "Debt Maturity Structure and Firm Investment," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 34(4), Winter.
  48. Strebulaev, Ilya A. & Yang, Baozhong, 2013. "The mystery of zero-leverage firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 1-23.
  49. Diamond, Douglas W, 1991. "Monitoring and Reputation: The Choice between Bank Loans and Directly Placed Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 689-721, August.
  50. Ju, Nengjiu & Parrino, Robert & Poteshman, Allen M. & Weisbach, Michael S., 2005. "Horses and Rabbits? Trade-Off Theory and Optimal Capital Structure," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(02), pages 259-281, June.
  51. Miller, Merton H, 1977. "Debt and Taxes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 261-75, May.
  52. Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello & Michael S. Weisbach, 2004. "The Cash Flow Sensitivity of Cash," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1777-1804, 08.
  53. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  54. Shane A. Johnson, 2003. "Debt Maturity and the Effects of Growth Opportunities and Liquidity Risk on Leverage," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(1), pages 209-236.
  55. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1994. "What Do We Know About Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," NBER Working Papers 4875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  56. Yaz Gűlnur Muradoğlu & Sheeja Sivaprasad, 2012. "Using Firm‐Level Leverage as an Investment Strategy," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(3), pages 260-279, 04.
  57. Stewart C. Myers, 1984. "Capital Structure Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 1393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  58. Choe, Hyuk & Masulis, Ronald W. & Nanda, Vikram, 1993. "Common stock offerings across the business cycle : Theory and evidence," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 3-31, June.
  59. Xin Chang & Sudipto Dasgupta, 2009. "Target Behavior and Financing: How Conclusive Is the Evidence?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1767-1796, 08.
  60. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  61. Arthur Korteweg, 2010. "The Net Benefits to Leverage," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(6), pages 2137-2170, December.
  62. Korajczyk, Robert A. & Levy, Amnon, 2003. "Capital structure choice: macroeconomic conditions and financial constraints," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 75-109, April.
  63. Tamás Bartus, 2005. "Estimation of marginal effects using margeff," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 5(3), pages 309-329, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Joaquim Ramalho & J. Silva, 2013. "Functional form issues in the regression analysis of financial leverage ratios," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 799-831, April.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:finana:v:30:y:2013:i:c:p:189-202. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.