Pyramidal Groups and Debt
Posted: 6 May 2006
This paper suggests that debt should be raised by subsidiaries in order to exploit the limited liability of the holding company. However, when this behavior increases the cost of funds, the holding might prefer to raise debt to a point where it would also default when subsidiaries are insolvent.
After accounting for standard controls, we find that holding companies in Italian pyramids have higher leverage than subsidiaries and that the cash flow share of the entrepreneur in the subsidiary does not play a significant role. These findings are consistent with the implications of our model of group capital structure.
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