State Ownership, Bank Loans, and Corporate Investment
International Review of Economics & Finance, 2014, vol. 32, issue C, pages 92-116
Posted: 8 Mar 2016 Last revised: 30 Mar 2018
Date Written: June 7, 2014
We study the effect of bank loans on Chinese publicly listed firms' investment decisions based on the underinvestment and overinvestment theories of leverage. Evidence from China is of particular importance because China is the world's largest emerging and transitional economy. At first we show that there is a negative relationship between bank loan ratios and investment for Chinese publicly listed firms. And this negative relationship is much stronger for firms with low growth than firms with high growth. Secondly, we find that both short-term and long-term loan ratios are negatively correlated with investment. However, the higher the long-term loan ratios are, the weaker the negative relationship between long-term loan ratios and investment is. Thirdly, firm ownership only matters to the effect of short-term bank loans on investment in our sample. That is, the negative relationship between short-term loan ratios and investment is weaker for SOEs than for non-SOEs. Lastly, we show that the reform of China's banking system in 2003 has not strengthened the negative relationship between bank loans and investment. Our findings suggest that although Chinese state-owned banks are severely intervened by government policies, they still have a disciplining role on firms' investment, especially in firms with low growth.
Keywords: Leverage, Underinvestment, Overinvestment, State-owned banks, Disciplining role
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