Transparency, Ownership, and Financing Constraints in Private Firms

Posted: 13 Jan 2010 Last revised: 12 Apr 2010

Date Written: April 9, 2010


The role that financial information plays in facilitating the flow of capital between external providers of capital and the firm is less obvious for private firms compared with public firms. Using a large sample of private firms from 68 countries, we find that private firms with greater financial transparency experience significantly lower problems with gaining access to external finance (and obtain those funds at a lower cost) than do other private firms. We further find that the effect of financial transparency in reducing financing constraints increases in the presence of a controlling shareholder, and that this joint effect is more pronounced in poorer countries with weaker institutional environments. We thus provide unique evidence on the joint role of financial transparency and ownership in a private firm setting. Our results are robust to controlling for firm-level characteristics, industry effects, and country-level variables, as well as controlling for endogeneity related to financial transparency. Given the predominance of private firms around the world and the relatively scarce amount of research in this area, we add to the literature on the role of financial information for an important and interesting group of firms.

Keywords: Financing constraints, financial transparency, ownership concentration, private companies, international, institutional environment, auditing

JEL Classification: F30, G30, G32, M41, M49

Suggested Citation

, Transparency, Ownership, and Financing Constraints in Private Firms (April 9, 2010). Available at SSRN:

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