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The Capital Structure Decisions of New Firms

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  • Alicia M. Robb
  • David T. Robinson

Abstract

We study capital structure choices that entrepreneurs make in their firms' initial year of operation, using restricted-access data from the Kauffman Firm Survey. Firms in our data rely heavily on external debt sources, such as bank financing, and less extensively on friends-and-family-based funding sources. Many startups receive debt financed through the personal balance sheets of the entrepreneur, effectively resulting in the entrepreneur holding levered equity claims in their startups. This fact is robust to numerous controls, including credit quality. The reliance on external debt underscores the importance of credit markets for the success of nascent business activity. The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Alicia M. Robb & David T. Robinson, 2014. "The Capital Structure Decisions of New Firms," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(1), pages 153-179, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:27:y:2014:i:1:p:153-179
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhs072
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andy Cosh & Douglas Cumming & Alan Hughes, 2009. "Outside Enterpreneurial Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(540), pages 1494-1533, October.
    2. Robert W. Fairlie & Harry A. Krashinsky, 2012. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, And Entrepreneurship Revisited," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(2), pages 279-306, June.
    3. Erik Hurst & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 319-347, April.
    4. Puri, Manju & Robinson, David T., 2007. "Optimism and economic choice," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 71-99, October.
    5. Michael L. Lemmon & Michael R. Roberts & Jaime F. Zender, 2008. "Back to the Beginning: Persistence and the Cross-Section of Corporate Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 1575-1608, August.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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