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Real Assets and Capital Structure

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  • Murillo Campello
  • Erasmo Giambona

Abstract

We characterize the relation between asset structure and capital structure by exploiting variation in the salability of corporate assets. Theory suggests that asset tangibility increases borrowing capacity because it allows creditors to more easily repossess a firm's assets. Tangible assets, however, are often illiquid. We show that the redeployability of tangible assets is a main determinant of corporate leverage --- beyond standard proxies for tangibility. To establish this link, we distinguish across different asset categories in firms' balance sheets (e.g., machinery, land and buildings) and use an instrumental approach that incorporates measures of supply and demand for those individual assets. We also use a natural experiment driving differential increases in the supply of real estate assets in some regions of the country: The Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990. Consistent with a credit supply-side view of capital structure, we find that asset redeployability is a particularly important driver of leverage for firms that are likely to face credit frictions (e.g., small, unrated firms). Our tests also show that asset redeployability facilitates borrowing the most during periods of tight credit in the economy. Our work contributes new evidence to capital structure models that are based on contract incompleteness and limited enforceability. It does so characterizing a well-defined channel through which credit frictions affect firm financial decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Murillo Campello & Erasmo Giambona, 2012. "Real Assets and Capital Structure," NBER Working Papers 18147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18147 Note: CF
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    Cited by:

    1. Arce, Óscar & Manuel Campa, José & Gavilán, Ángel, 2013. "Macroeconomic adjustment under loose financing conditions in the construction sector," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 19-34.
    2. Arping, Stefan, 2014. "Credit protection and lending relationships," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, pages 7-19.
    3. Dietrich, Diemo & Hauck, Achim, 2014. "Bank capital regulation, loan contracts, and corporate investment," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 230-241.
    4. Johannes A. Skjeltorp & Elvira Sojli & Wing Wah Tham, 2011. "Sunshine trading: Flashes of trading intent at the NASDAQ," Working Paper 2011/17, Norges Bank.
    5. Rima Turk, 2015. "Financial Decisions and Investment Outcomes in Developing Countries; The Role of Institutions," IMF Working Papers 15/38, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Beladi, Hamid & Quijano, Margot, 2013. "CEO incentives for risk shifting and its effect on corporate bank loan cost," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 182-188.
    7. Bustamante, M. Cecilia, 2016. "How Do Frictions Affect Corporate Investment? A Structural Approach," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(06), pages 1863-1895, December.
    8. Lars Norden & Stefan van Kampen, 2015. "The Dynamics of Trade Credit and Bank Debt in SME Finance: International Evidence," RBA Annual Conference Volume,in: Angus Moore & John Simon (ed.), Small Business Conditions and Finance Reserve Bank of Australia.
    9. Arnab Bhattacharjee & Chris Higson & Sean Holly, 2015. "Operating Leverage over the Business Cycle," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1535, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    10. Taoufik Elkemali & Aymen Ben Rejeb, 2015. "R&D Intensity and Financing Decisions: Evidence from European Firms," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(2), pages 1042-1055.
    11. Drobetz, Wolfgang & Gounopoulos, Dimitrios & Merikas, Andreas & Schröder, Henning, 2013. "Capital structure decisions of globally-listed shipping companies," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 49-76.
    12. Murillo Campello & Mauricio Larrain, 2015. "Enlarging the Contracting Space: Collateral Menus, Access to Credit, and Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 21690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    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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