Corporate Capital Structure and Firm Value: International Evidence on the Special Roles of Bank Debt
45 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2020 Last revised: 16 Jan 2021
Date Written: November 8, 2020
We contribute to the corporate capital structure and bank specialness literatures by studying the effects of bank debt on corporate value. We apply novel methodology to almost 60,000 firms in 110 countries over 17 years—over 300,000 total observations. We find that bank term loans and credit lines are strongly positively associated with firm value, but only when employed very intensively—at 90% or more of total corporate debt. These effects are consistent with bank specialness at high-intensity levels. These findings support previously untested theoretical predictions that bank specialness would be stronger or exist only at high bank debt intensities. Our results hold broadly but are stronger for credit-constrained firms—small firms and those in low-income countries. Channel analysis suggests that term loans boost short-term firm performance more, while credit lines better promote long-run growth. The findings suggest future research topics and have policy implications, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis.
Keywords: Capital structure, banks, bank specialness, debt finance, debt intensity
JEL Classification: G21, G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation