Implications of Public Corruption for Local Firms: Evidence from Corporate Debt Maturity
66 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2021 Last revised: 28 Apr 2021
Date Written: February 14, 2021
Using political corruption conviction data from the U.S. Department of Justice, we examine the impact of local corruption on firms’ debt maturity structure while exploring both demand-side and supply-side explanations. Our results support the demand-side story and indicate that firms located in high corruption areas utilize less short-term debt to mitigate liquidity and refinancing risks. Consistent with this, we find the effect is more pronounced among firms with smaller size, lower asset redeployability, and higher volatility. Our findings remain robust to the inclusion of an array of controls expected to influence debt maturity preferences as well as time, industry, and state fixed effects. Moreover, a seemingly unrelated regression approach, instrumental variables regression, propensity score matching, and placebo analyses corroborate our findings. Altogether, our results indicate that firms alter their debt maturity choices in response to local corruption to limit refinancing risk and the uncertainty created by corrupt government officials.
Keywords: Debt Maturity, Liquidity Risk, Cost of Debt, Political Corruption
JEL Classification: D73, G18, G32, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation