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An International Comparison of Capital Structure and Debt Maturity Choices

  • Joseph P. H. Fan (a1), Sheridan Titman (a2) and Garry Twite (a3)

Abstract

This study examines how the institutional environment influences capital structure and debt maturity choices of firms in 39 developed and developing countries. We find that a country’s legal and tax system, corruption, and the preferences of capital suppliers explain a significant portion of the variation in leverage and debt maturity ratios. Specifically, firms in more corrupt countries and those with weaker laws tend to use more debt, especially short-term debt; explicit bankruptcy codes and deposit insurance are associated with higher leverage and more long-term debt. More debt is used in countries where there is a greater tax gain from leverage.

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