, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 55-65

Determinants of small firm debt ratios: An analysis of retail panel data

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Abstract

In this paper, the relevance of some debt ratio determinants from the recent theory of finance is empirically investigated in a small business sector. The data used in this study consist of average financial data of 27 shoptypes in 20 different years, covering a period of 24 years. The panel character of the data facilitates the use of analytical techniques aimed at reducing or avoiding the biasing effect of omitted variables on the outcomes. The main conclusion is, that the theoretical determinants appear indeed to be relevant for the small business sector investigated here, but the influences encountered in the analyses are far less straightforward than the hypothesized effects in the theory. Influences on total debt are frequently found to be the net effects of opposite influences on long and short term debt and some variables show large time and industry specific effects. Further, distinct patterns in the time specific effects were found.