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On the determinants of SME capital structure in Central and Eastern Europe: A dynamic panel analysis

  • Mateev, Miroslav
  • Poutziouris, Panikkos
  • Ivanov, Konstantin

The purpose of this paper is to test how firm characteristics affect SMEs’ capital structure using a unique dataset of micro, small, and medium-sized firms (SMEs) in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). We carry out a panel data analysis of 3175 SMEs from seven CEE countries during the period 2001–2005, modeling the leverage ratio as a function of firm specific characteristics hypothesized by capital structure theory. By using the cash flow as an explanatory variable, we test some of the predictions of the pecking order theory. According to this theory, firms with more available internal funds should use less external funding. We do find strong evidence in favor of the pecking order theory, given that there is a negative and significant correlation between profitability and leverage. When we control for other firm specific characteristics such as future growth opportunities, liquidity, sales growth, size and assets structure, the cash flow is found to be a strong determinant of firm leverage. We also argue that the determinants of firm leverage may be considerably different depending on firms’ size and age. The empirical results show that cash flow coefficient remains negative and statistically significant only for medium-sized firms, thus suggesting that larger firms with sufficient internal funds use less external funding than comparable smaller firms. We obtain similar results when we estimate the model by firm age; older firms demonstrate similar behavior as larger firms.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research in International Business and Finance.

Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 28-51

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Handle: RePEc:eee:riibaf:v:27:y:2013:i:1:p:28-51
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