Capital Structure in Emerging Asia

HKUST IEMS Working Papers No. 2017-48


This paper examines the capital structure and financing decisions of firms in emerging Asia between 1991-2014. Neither the mean/median leverage nor the upper tails of the leverage distribution show any upward shift in recent years. On the whole, corporate leverage appears quite stable. The legal environment and quality of a country's institutions are important influences on corporate leverage decisions: firm characteristics such as asset tangibility and size that help to overcome information asymmetries are less important in countries with stronger institutions. During periods of expansive global monetary policy, firms in countries with stronger institutions raise more debt financing and invest more than other firms.

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