Asset Salability and Debt Maturity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century American Railroads
Posted: 23 Mar 2009
Date Written: April 2009
I investigate the effect of assets' liquidation values on capital structure by exploiting the diversity of track gauges in nineteenth-century American railroads. The abundance of track gauges limited the redeployability of rolling stock and tracks to potential users with similar track gauge. Moreover, potential demand for both rolling stock and tracks was further diminished when many railroads went under equity receiverships. I find that the potential demand for a railroad's rolling stock and tracks were significant determinants of debt maturity and the amount of debt that was issued by railroads. The results are consistent with liquidation values models of financial contracting and capital structure.
Keywords: G32, G33, L92, N21, N71
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