IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Capital Structure of Young Firms and the Working Experience of New Entrepreneurs


  • Enrico Colombatto


  • Arie Melnik



We use a simple model to analyze the funding stage of new firms and characterize the directional causality between the ir capital structure and the length of prior working experience that entrepreneurs possess. In this light, we test a set of predictions by considering a sample of firms founded by Italian entrepreneurs in the period 1992-2004. We obtain three main results. First, we confirm the evidence presented in the literature, whereby the size of the firm has a significant effect on capital structure. Second, we find that previous working experiences of entrepreneurs in full-time employment (before founding a new firm) have a positive impact on the debt-to-asset ratio of newly founded firms. Third, we show that firms with access to subsidized government debt are able to increase the ir share of debt in total liabilities, even when the size of the subsidy is small.

Suggested Citation

  • Enrico Colombatto & Arie Melnik, 2008. "The Capital Structure of Young Firms and the Working Experience of New Entrepreneurs," ICER Working Papers 08-2008, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:08-2008

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rebel A. Cole & John D. Wolken, 1995. "Financial services used by small businesses: evidence from the 1993 National Survey of Small Business Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jul, pages 629-667.
    2. Chittenden, Francis & Hall, Graham & Hutchinson, Patrick, 1996. "Small Firm Growth, Access to Capital Markets and Financial Structure: Review of Issues and an Empirical Investigation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 59-67, February.
    3. N. Berger, Allen & F. Udell, Gregory, 1998. "The economics of small business finance: The roles of private equity and debt markets in the financial growth cycle," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(6-8), pages 613-673, August.
    4. repec:hrv:faseco:30728046 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Allen N. Berger & Gregory F. Udell, 2002. "Small Business Credit Availability and Relationship Lending: The Importance of Bank Organisational Structure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(477), pages 32-53, February.
    6. Astebro, Thomas & Bernhardt, Irwin, 2003. "Start-up financing, owner characteristics, and survival," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 303-319.
    7. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-783, June.
    8. Colombo, Massimo G. & Delmastro, Marco & Grilli, Luca, 2004. "Entrepreneurs' human capital and the start-up size of new technology-based firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1183-1211, November.
    9. Dunn, Thomas & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 2000. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment: Evidence from Intergenerational Links," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 282-305, April.
    10. Thomas Dunn & Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1996. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment:Evidence from Intergenerational Links," NBER Working Papers 5622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Michael Hout & Harvey Rosen, 2000. "Self-Employment, Family Background, and Race," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 670-692.
    12. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 745-778, September.
    13. Bernard F. Lentz & David N. Laband, 1990. "Entrepreneurial Success and Occupational Inheritance among Proprietors," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(3), pages 563-579, August.
    14. Myers, Stewart C., 1984. "Capital structure puzzle," Working papers 1548-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    15. Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "The Returns to Entrepreneurial Investment: A Private Equity Premium Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 8876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Myers, Stewart C, 1984. " The Capital Structure Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 575-592, July.
    17. Stewart C. Myers, 1984. "Capital Structure Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 1393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Bennedsen, Morten & Wolfenzon, Daniel, 2000. "The balance of power in closely held corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 113-139.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:08-2008. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Simone Pellegrino). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.