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What Do We Know about the Capital Structure of Small Firms?

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  • Karin Joeveer

Abstract

There are no stylized facts about the capital structure of small firms. Therefore, in this paper I use firm data from 10 Western European countries to contrast the sources of leverage across small and large firms. Specifically, I jointly evaluate the explanatory power of firm-specific, country of incorporation institutional, and macroeconomic factors. Using data that is more comprehensive in coverage than that used in the existing research, I confirm the stylized facts of the capital structure literature for large and listed firms, but I obtain contrasting evidence for smaller companies: First, the country of incorporation carries much more information for small firms supporting the idea that small firms are more financially constrained and face non-firm-specific hurdles in their capital structure choice. Second, using two different leverage measures I show that the relationship of firm size and tangibility to leverage is robust to the measure used for listed, but not for unlisted, firms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp283.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp283

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Keywords: Capital structure; Publicly traded and privately hold companies; Europe.;

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References

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  1. Giannetti, Mariassunta, 2003. "Do Better Institutions Mitigate Agency Problems? Evidence from Corporate Finance Choices," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(01), pages 185-212, March.
  2. Bradley, Michael & Jarrell, Gregg A & Kim, E Han, 1984. " On the Existence of an Optimal Capital Structure: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 857-78, July.
  3. John Y. Campbell & Martin Lettau & Burton G. Malkiel & Yexiao Xu, 2000. "Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? An Empirical Exploration of Idiosyncratic Risk," NBER Working Papers 7590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kumar, Krishna B & Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1999. "What Determines Firm Size?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2211, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Titman, Sheridan & Wessels, Roberto, 1988. " The Determinants of Capital Structure Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(1), pages 1-19, March.
  6. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  7. Gómez-Salvador, Ramón & Messina, Julián & Vallanti, Giovanna, 2004. "Gross job flows and institutions in Europe," Working Paper Series 0318, European Central Bank.
  8. Marco Pagano & Fabio Panetta & Luigi Zingales, 1995. "Why Do Companies Go Public? An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5367, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," Working papers 95-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1990. " Capital Structure and the Informational Role of Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 321-49, June.
  11. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1995. " What Do We Know about Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1421-60, December.
  12. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2002. "Corporate income tax reforms and international tax competition," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 449-495, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Karin Joeveer, 2006. "Sources of Capital Structure: Evidence from Transition Countries," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp306, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  2. Jõeveer, Karin, 2013. "Firm, country and macroeconomic determinants of capital structure: Evidence from transition economies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 294-308.

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