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2005 Documento de Trabajo #200

What Drives Capital Structure? Evidence from Chilean Panel Data

There is an extensive literature on the determinants of capital structure for developed countries, but little has been said about emerging economies. This article analyzes the driving forces of capital structure in Chile for the period 1990-2002. We study aggregate leverage and interest-bearing liabilities in isolation for all firms, and firms segmented by economic sector. Our results give more support to the trade-off theory than to the pecking-order hypothesis. In particular, in recent years equity issues have followed firms’ financing deficits more closely than net debt issues have. We conjecture that tax and monetary policies might have driven this result. The contribution of our work is also methodological. Our econometric specification is based on a random-effects panel data model for censored data developed by Anderson (1986) and extended by Kim and Maddala (1992). We expand Anderson-Kim-Maddala’s work to panel data models for uncensored data, and devise specification tests for non-nested random-effects models. Most literature on capital structure focuses on the cross-section variation of the data by averaging observations over time. Or, when using panel data models, the bias of fixed-effects estimates, under a dynamic specification, is usually neglected.

JEL: G32.

Viviana Fernández

Keywords: pecking-order theory, random-effects., trade-off theory