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Do Better Institutions Mitigate Agency Problems? Evidence from Corporate Finance Choices

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  • Giannetti, Mariassunta

Abstract

This paper examines how firm characteristics, legal rules, and financial development affect corporate finance decisions. In contrast to the existing literature, I use data on unlisted companies to show that institutions play an important role in determining the extent of agency problems. In particular, I find that in countries with good creditor protection, it is easier for firms investing in intangible assets to obtain loans. The protection of creditor rights is also important for ensuring access to long-term debt for firms operating in sectors with highly volatile returns. Ceteris paribus, firms are more leveraged in countries where the stock market is less developed. Unlisted firms appear more indebted than listed companies even after controlling for firm characteristics such as profitability, size, and the ability to provide collateral. Finally, institutions that favor creditor rights and ensure stricter enforcement not only are associated with higher leverage, but also with greater availability of long-term debt.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jfinqa:v:38:y:2003:i:01:p:185-212_00
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Demirguc-Kunt, Asl1 & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 1996. "Institutions, financial markets, and firms'choice of debt maturity," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1686, The World Bank.
    2. Rafael La porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 2002. "Investor Protection and Corporate Valuation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(3), pages 1147-1170, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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