Capital Structure, Industry Pricing, and Firm Performance
29 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2008
Date Written: September 4, 2008
This paper provides empirical evidence on the link between industry pricing dynamics and industry capital structure. We find evidence of countercyclical mark-up behaviour as predicted by Chevelier and Scharfstein (1996). The mark-ups are more countercyclical for industries with higher debt ratio. Secondly, the paper analyzes growth in firm sales and profitability performance post an industry downturn under different financial structures. This methodology helps mitigate the endogenous nature of capital structure and firm performance, since it is assumed that the downturn was not anticipated by industry participants. Also, inclusion of lagged values of debt ratio (t-2) ensures that spurious relation between contemporaneous values of debt ratio and firm performance is not obtained. We find that firms which are over-levered compared to the industry median experience lower sales growth and lower profitability vis-a-vis a benchmark firm which assumes industry median characteristics. This lends support to the hypothesis that external financing induces financial fragility that leads to reduction in competitive spending at the time of distress.
Keywords: Capital structure, Product markets, Mark-ups, Business Cycles
JEL Classification: G 32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation