Capital structure policies in Europe: Survey evidence

Dirk Brounen, Abe de Jong, Kees Koedijk

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137 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we present the results of an international survey among 313 CFOs on capital structure choice. We document several interesting insights on how theoretical concepts are being applied by professionals in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and France and we directly compare our results with previous findings from the US our results emphasize the presence of pecking-order behavior. At the same time this behavior is not driven by asymmetric information considerations. The static trade-off theory is confirmed by the importance of a target debt ratio in general, but also specifically by tax effects and bankruptcy costs. Overall, we find remarkably low disparities across countries, despite the presence of significant institutional differences. We find that private firms differ in many respects from publicly listed firms, e.g. listed firms use their stock price for the timing of new issues. Finally, we do not find substantial evidence that agency problems are important in capital structure choice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1442
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Banking and Finance
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Capital structure
  • Debt maturity
  • Equity issues
  • Financial economics
  • International economics

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