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Political Relationships, Global Financing and Corporate Transparency

  • Christian Leuz
  • Felix Oberholzer-Gee

This study examines the financing choices of firms operating in a weak institutional environment. We argue that in relationship-based systems, global financing and strong political connections are alternative means to create firm value. Well-connected firms might be less inclined to access global capital markets because (state-owned) domestic banks provide capital at low cost. Moreover, the expanded disclosures and additional scrutiny that come with issuing foreign securities might be at odds with close political ties at home because these ties can best be exploited when little is disclosed about the firm. Using data from Indonesia, we provide strong support for the hypothesis that global financing and political connections are substitutes: Firms with close political ties to former President Soeharto are significantly less likely than nonconnected firms to have publicly traded foreign securities. To study performance effects, we examine how returns during the Asian financial crisis differ between firms with and without foreign securities. Consistent with prior work, we find that firms with foreign securities exhibit higher returns during the crisis. However, our data indicate that politically well-connected firms also received considerable support during this period. These results suggest that previous estimates of cross-listing benefits are considerably biased if domestic opportunities such as political connections are ignored.

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Paper provided by Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania in its series Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers with number 03-16.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:pennin:03-16
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  1. Bekaert, Geert & Harvey, Campbell R. & Lundblad, Christian, 2005. "Does financial liberalization spur growth?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 3-55, July.
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  14. Mitton, Todd, 2002. "A cross-firm analysis of the impact of corporate governance on the East Asian financial crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 215-241, May.
  15. Blass, Asher & Yafeh, Yishay, 2001. "Vagabond shoes longing to stray: Why foreign firms list in the United States," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 555-572, March.
  16. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon & Lang, Larry H. P., 2000. "The separation of ownership and control in East Asian Corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 81-112.
  17. Shahrokh M Saudagaran & Gary C Biddle, 1995. "Foreign Listing Location: A Study of MNCs and Stock Exchanges in Eight Countries," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 26(2), pages 319-341, June.
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  19. Mara Faccio, 2006. "Politically Connected Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 369-386, March.
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