The Effect of Committed Ownership on the Financing Decisions of Firms: A Study on Listed Firms in the U.S.

Filip Grönroos & David Schröder

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of committed ownership on the financing decisions of the firm. Committed owners are purpose-driven and committed to a long-term mission extending beyond profit-making. Moreover, they are expected to maintain favorable relations with stakeholders since it strengthens the credibility of commitment and aligns interests toward the defined purpose. On a large number of U.S. listed firms, this paper shows that committed owners employ a more conservative capital structure than institutional owners. This is possibly attributable to the commitment role of equity, that is, a signal of dedication to upholding implicit contracts with stakeholders by assuming less risk. By taking on less debt, committed owners encourage the choice of stewardship among stakeholders and promote trust and pro-organizational behavior. What is more, the analysis shows that committed owners adjust to the target leverage at a higher speed than do institutional owners. This could be indicative of the close attention paid by committed owners to the maintenance of low leverage ratios, but also of a narrower optimal leverage range. Given the concerns of committed owners to demonstrate a credible devotion to the purpose and maintain favorable relations with stakeholders, default costs are likely to be higher than for institutional owners, thus, deviating from target leverage is costlier for committed owners.

EducationsMSc in Applied Economics and Finance, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisMSc in Finance and Strategic Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages121
SupervisorsCasper Berg Lavmand Larsen & Thomas Poulsen