Title

Does religion affect capital structure?

Department/School

Finance

Date of this version

2014

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Capital structure, Culture, Religion, Behavioral Finance, Debt, Equity

Abstract

We hypothesize that if the cultural characteristics of a region are important, then firms located in Protestant and Catholic-majority counties within the U.S. will have different attitude towards leverage. We find that a one percent increase in a county’s Protestant religiosity leads to a 0.4% lower leverage and less frequent debt issuances. This religiosity also has significant effect on the firms’ adjustment speeds towards the target capital structure. Using a sample of international firms, we find that these differences in leverage in the U.S. are similar to the behavior of firms in Catholic and Protestant countries outside of the U.S.

Published in

Research in International Business and Finance

Citation/Other Information

31(1), 112-131. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ribaf.2013.09.003