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Corporate debt and investment: a firm level analysis for stressed euro area countries

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  • Gebauer, Stefan
  • Setzer, Ralph
  • Westphal, Andreas

Abstract

This paper investigates the link between corporate debt and investment for a group of five peripheral euro area countries. Using firm-level data from 2005-2014, we postulate a non-linear corporate leverage-investment relationship and derive thresholds beyond which leverage has a negative and significant impact on investment. The investment sensitivity of debt increased after 2008 when financial distress intensified and firms had a lower capacity to finance investment from internal sources of funds. Our results also suggest that even moderate levels of debt can exert a negative influence on investment for smaller firms or when profitability is low. JEL Classification: E22, F34, G31, G32

Suggested Citation

  • Gebauer, Stefan & Setzer, Ralph & Westphal, Andreas, 2017. "Corporate debt and investment: a firm level analysis for stressed euro area countries," Working Paper Series 2101, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20172101
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio De Socio & Enrico Sette, 2018. "Firms’ investments during two crises," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1173, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Masuch, Klaus & Anderton, Robert & Setzer, Ralph & Benalal, Nicholai, 2018. "Structural policies in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 210, European Central Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corporate debt; debt overhang; investment; leverage; threshold model;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • 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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