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Pecking order or trade-off hypothesis? Evidence on the capital structure of Chinese companies

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This study tests the pecking order and trade-off hypotheses of corporate financing decisions using a cross-section of the largest Chinese listed companies. The study is built on Allen (1993), Baskin (1989) and Adedeji (1998) to set up three models in which trade-off and pecking order theories give distinctively different predictions: (1) the determinants of leverage; (2) the relationship between leverage and dividends; and (3) the determinants of corporate investment. In model 1, a significant negative correlation is found between leverage and profitability; in model 2 a significant positive correlation between current leverage and past dividends is found. These results broadly support the pecking order hypothesis over trade-off theory. However, model 3 is inconclusive. Overall, the results provide tentative support for the pecking order hypothesis and demonstrate that a conventional model of corporate capital structure can explain the financing behaviour of Chinese companies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK

Publication date: 2005-10-20

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