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Short-term borrowing for long-term projects: Are family businesses more susceptible to 'irrational' financing choices?


  • Peters, Bettina
  • Westerheide, Peter


There are noticeable differences between the roles that various forms of credit financing play in family businesses and in other businesses. Family businesses take out more often bank loans specifically to finance investments and innovations, and they particularly often resort to the short-term and relatively expensive option of an overdraft. How can we explain these differences in financing choices? Do family businesses tend to use shorter-term, more expensive sources of financing because they face more restrictions than other or are there other motives such as financial independence at play? Our econometric approach to these issues is to study the financing behaviour and creditworthiness. For both of these aspects, we compare family businesses with non-family-run businesses that otherwise have the same characteristics. Our results do not confirm that family businesses are faced by stronger financial constraints but they indicate that family firms are prepared to accept higher financing costs in order to preserve their financial independence.

Suggested Citation

  • Peters, Bettina & Westerheide, Peter, 2011. "Short-term borrowing for long-term projects: Are family businesses more susceptible to 'irrational' financing choices?," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-006, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:11006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Petersen, Mitchell A & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1994. " The Benefits of Lending Relationships: Evidence from Small Business Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-37, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dorothea Schäfer & Andreas Stephan & Jenniffer Solórzano Mosquera, 2017. "Family ownership: does it matter for funding and success of corporate innovations?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 931-951, April.
    2. Hanna Hottenrott & Bettina Peters, 2012. "Innovative Capability and Financing Constraints for Innovation: More Money, More Innovation?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 1126-1142, November.
    3. Aschhoff, Birgit & Baier, Elisabeth & Crass, Dirk & Hud, Martin & Hünermund, Paul & Köhler, Christian & Peters, Bettina & Rammer, Christian & Schricke, Esther & Schubert, Torben & Schwiebacher, Franz, 2013. "Innovation in Germany - Results of the German CIS 2006 to 2010. Background report on the Innovation Surveys 2007, 2009 and 2011 of the Mannheim Innovation Panel," ZEW Dokumentationen 13-01, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Behrens, Vanessa & Berger, Marius & Hud, Martin & Hünermund, Paul & Iferd, Younes & Peters, Bettina & Rammer, Christian & Schubert, Torben, 2017. "Innovation activities of firms in Germany - Results of the German CIS 2012 and 2014: Background report on the surveys of the Mannheim Innovation Panel Conducted in the Years 2013 to 2016," ZEW Dokumentationen 17-04, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item


    Corporate financing; innovation; family businesses; financing restrictions;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility

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