Does religion affect capital structure?
Date of this version
Capital structure, Culture, Religion, Behavioral Finance, Debt, Equity
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.
Research in International Business and Finance