Cross-country variations in capital structures: the role of bankruptcy codes

Acharya, V, John, K and Sundaram, R K (2005) Cross-country variations in capital structures: the role of bankruptcy codes. Working Paper. London Business School IFA Working Paper.


We investigate the impact of bankruptcy codes on the firms' capitalstructure choices. We develop a theoretical model to identify how firm characteristics may interact with the bankruptcy code in determining optimal capital structures. A novel and sharp empirical implication emerges from this model: that the difference in leverage choices under a relatively equityfriendly bankruptcy code (such as the US's) and one that is relatively more debtfriendly (such as the UK's) should be a decreasing function of the anticipated liquidation value of the firm's assets. Using a large database of firms from the US and the UK over the period 1990 to 2002, we subject this prediction to extensive empirical testing, both parametric and nonparametric, using different proxies for liquidation values and different measures of leverage. We find strong support for the theory; that is, we find that our proxies for liquidation value are both statistically and economically significant in explaining leverage differences across the two countries. On the other hand, many of the other factors that are known to affect withincountry leverage (e.g., size) cannot explain acrosscountries differences in leverage.

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Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Subject Areas: Finance
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2023 15:22
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2023 23:31

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