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Title: Determinants of the use of debt and leasing in UK corporate financing decisions
Authors: Dzolkarnaini, Mohd Nazam
Supervisor(s): Goodacre, Alan
Campbell, Kevin
Keywords: Capital structure
Corporate financing
Fixed-claim financing
Constructive capitalisation method
Marginal tax rate simulation
Panel data analysis
Dynamic panel data
Quantile regression
Issue Date: Jun-2009
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis investigates the determinants of the use of debt and leasing in the UK using a comprehensive measure of debt and leases, in recognition of the link between lease and debt-type financing decisions, based on financial contracting theory and the tax advantage hypothesis. The design of the study takes account three lacunae in our current understanding of this topic. Firstly, despite the fact that the capital structure literature is voluminous, it is perhaps surprising that relatively little research has been carried out on lease finance, given its significant role as a major source of finance for many firms. Secondly, the role of tax in the capital structure decision is unclear. Empirically testing for tax effects is challenging because spurious relationships may exist between the financing decision and many commonly used tax proxies. More importantly, our understanding of the impact of taxes on UK financing decisions is far from complete, especially since several major corporate tax reforms have taken place in the last decade. Thirdly, empirical evidence on capital structure determinants is also voluminous but far from conclusive. Notably, contradictory signs and significance levels are commonly observed. Using the standard regression approach invariably involves identification of the average behaviour of firms, and therefore does not measure diversity across firms. In response to these three major issues, this study employs empirical research methods, namely cross-sectional pooled regression, static and dynamic panel data regression, and quantile regression to analyse a large sample of 361 non-financial firms, drawn from the FTSE 350 and FTSE All-Small indices over the tax years 1995 through 2003. The operating lease data are estimated using the constructive capitalisation method while the simulated before-financing marginal tax rate is used to proxy for the firms’ tax status. The endogeneity of corporate tax status is evident since the use of simple tax proxy, the effective tax rate, leads to a spurious negative relation between debt usage and tax rates. The problem was avoided with a better measure of tax variable that is the simulated before-financing marginal tax rate where it is found that the empirical relationships between the tax factor and debt and leasing are consistent with those theoretical predictions. Furthermore, there is a clear distinction between the effect of taxes on debt and leasing where the firm’s marginal tax status is only relevant when managers make decisions on debt financing. The use of quantile regression method in the present study represents a novel approach in investigating the determinants of the use of debt and leasing. The results reveal that the determinants of debt and leasing are heterogeneous across the whole distribution of firms, consistent with the notion of heterogeneity as promoted by Beattie et al. (2006), but contradicting their claim that the large-scale regression approach cannot measure firms’ diversity. This finding implies that average model results (e.g., from OLS or panel data models) may not apply to the tails of debt and leasing levels, and hence assuming that the determinants of debt and leasing decisions are the same for all firms in the economy is clearly unrealistic. Using the dynamic panel data model, this thesis confirms that debt and leasing are substitutes rather than complements, and that the degree of substitutability is more pronounced among smaller firms, where the degree of information asymmetry is greater. More importantly, the use of a joint specification for debt and leasing improves our understanding of the determinants of the two fixed-claim financing instruments. There is also significant evidence to support the view that firm characteristics affect contracting costs which in turn impact on the choice between alternative forms of finance, namely equity, debt and leasing.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: Stirling Management School
Accounting and Finance

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