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Why are US firms using more short-term debt?

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  • Custódio, Cláudia
  • Ferreira, Miguel A.
  • Laureano, Luís

Abstract

We show that corporate use of long-term debt has decreased in the US over the past three decades and that this trend is heterogeneous across firms. The median percentage of debt maturing in more than 3 years decreased from 53% in 1976 to 6% in 2008 for the smallest firms but did not decrease for the largest firms. The decrease in debt maturity was generated by firms with higher information asymmetry and new firms issuing public equity in the 1980s and 1990s. Finally, we show that demand-side factors do not fully explain this trend and that public debt markets' supply-side factors play an important role. Our findings suggest that the shortening of debt maturity has increased the exposure of firms to credit and liquidity shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Custódio, Cláudia & Ferreira, Miguel A. & Laureano, Luís, 2013. "Why are US firms using more short-term debt?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 182-212.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:108:y:2013:i:1:p:182-212
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2012.10.009
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corporate debt maturity; Information asymmetry; Agency costs; New listings; Supply effects;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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