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Asset Salability and Debt Maturity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century American Railroads

  • Efraim Benmelech

I investigate the effect of assets' liquidation values on capital structure by exploiting the diversity of track gauges in nineteenth-century American railroads. The abundance of track gauges limited the redeployability of rolling stock and tracks to potential users with similar track gauge. Moreover, potential demand for both rolling stock and tracks was further diminished when many railroads went under equity receiverships. I find that the potential demand for a railroad's rolling stock and tracks were significant determinants of debt maturity and the amount of debt that was issued by railroads. The results are consistent with liquidation values models of financial contracting and capital structure. The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhn036
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Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal The Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 22 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 1545-1584

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:4:p:1545-1584
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