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The capital structure decisions of firms: is there a pecking order?

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  • Andrew Benito

    () (Banco de España)

Abstract

This paper considers the "trade-off" and "pecking order" theories, the two most influential approaches to understanding firms' capital structure decisions. The paper adopts two approaches to examining capital structures using firm-level panel data for firms in both Spain and the United Kingdom. First, debt ratios are examined and found to be decreasing in cash flow or profitability and increasing in the investment of the firm in both countries. Second, aspects of the two different financial systems are examined. In Spain, a bank-based financial system, there is some modest evidence that such effects are weaker for larger firms and for firms with equity held by financial institutions. In the United Kingdom, a market-based financial system, the propensity to issue additional debt is compared to that for issuing new equity and found to be more sensitive to financial characteristics of the firm. The results are consistent with the pecking order approach and generally inconsistent with the tradeoff approach suggesting behaviour consistent with the existence of a hierarchy of finance faced by firms in Spain and the United Kingdom.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Benito, 2003. "The capital structure decisions of firms: is there a pecking order?," Working Papers 0310, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
  • Handle: RePEc:bde:wpaper:0310
    as

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    File URL: http://www.bde.es/f/webbde/SES/Secciones/Publicaciones/PublicacionesSeriadas/DocumentosTrabajo/03/Fic/dt0310e.pdf
    File Function: First version, September 2003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Viet Anh Dang, 2005. "Testing the Trade-off and Pecking Order Theory: Some UK Evidence," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2005 28, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
    3. Ding, Sai & Guariglia, Alessandra & Knight, John, 2013. "Investment and financing constraints in China: Does working capital management make a difference?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1490-1507.
    4. Salvador Bertomeu, 2019. "On the effects of the financialization of private utilities: lessons from the UK water sector," Working Papers ECARES 2019-29, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. David Greenaway & Alessandra Guariglia & Zhihong Yu, 2014. "The more the better? Foreign ownership and corporate performance in China," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(7-9), pages 681-702, September.
    6. Gebauer, Stefan & Setzer, Ralph & Westphal, Andreas, 2017. "Corporate debt and investment: a firm analysis for stressed euro area countries," Working Paper Series 2101, European Central Bank.
    7. Ogebe, Patrick & Ogebe, Joseph & Alewi, Kemi, 2013. "The Impact of Capital Structure on Firms’ Performance in Nigeria," MPRA Paper 46173, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Javier Sánchez-Vidal & Juan Francisco Martín-Ugedo, 2011. "Are the implications of the financial growth cycle confirmed for Spanish SMEs?," Journal of Business Economics and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 637-665, July.
    9. José Manuel Marqués & Fernando Nieto & Ana del Río, 2005. "Una aproximación a los determinantes de la financiación de las sociedades no financieras en España," Working Papers 0535, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    10. Ojah Patrick, Ogebe & Joseph Orinya, Ogebe & Kemi, Alewi, 2013. "The Impact of Capital Structure on Firms’ Performance in Nigeria," MPRA Paper 45986, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 04 Apr 2013.
    11. Mohamed Soufeljil & Asma Sghaier & Zouhayer Mighri & Hanène Kheireddine, 2017. "The financial structure of the Tunisian listed businesses: an application on panel data," Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, Springer;UNESCO Chair in Entrepreneurship, vol. 7(1), pages 1-25, December.
    12. Gebauer, Stefan & Setzer, Ralph & Westphal, Andreas, 2018. "Corporate debt and investment: A firm-level analysis for stressed euro area countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 112-130.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    capital structure; pecking order;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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