What Do We Know about the Capital Structure of Small Firms?
CERGE-EI Working Paper No. 283
43 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2008
Date Written: December 2005
There are no stylized facts about the capital structure of small firms. Therefore, in this paper I use firm data from 10 Western European countries to contrast the sources of leverage across small and large firms. Specifically, I jointly evaluate the explanatory power of firm-specific, country of incorporation institutional, and macroeconomic factors. Using data that is more comprehensive in coverage than that used in the existing research, I confirm the stylized facts of the capital structure literature for large and listed firms, but I obtain contrasting evidence for smaller companies: First, the country of incorporation carries much more information for small firms supporting the idea that small firms are more financially constrained and face non-firm-specific hurdles in their capital structure choice. Second, using two different leverage measures I show that the relationship of firm size and tangibility to leverage is robust to the measure used for listed, but not for unlisted, firms.
Keywords: Capital structure, Publicly traded and privately hold companies, Europe
JEL Classification: G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation