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Separation of ownership and control for Chinese listed firms: Effect on the cost of debt and the moderating role of bank competition

Shuangyan Li, Huan Fu, Jun Wen and Chun-Ping Chang

Journal of Asian Economics, 2020, vol. 67, issue C

Abstract: This research investigates the effect of the separation between firm ownership and control on the cost of debt, with attention to the moderating role of state ownership and bank competition. We make use of a sample of 1744 Chinese A-share firms for the years 2011–2017. We find that separation between ownership and control is positively associated with the cost of debt. This is consistent with the view that separation of control from ownership allows controlling shareholders to engage in tunneling and other behaviors that increase the risk of default. State ownership weakens this positive link because government debt guarantees mitigate the risk of default. Greater competition in the banking industry generally reduces the cost of debt for non-state enterprises while having no effect for state enterprises. At the same time, greater bank competition amplifies the positive effect of ownership and control separation on debt cost for non-state enterprises as banks must still cover the higher default risk. Finally, the global financial crisis raised the cost of debt for non-state enterprises but had no effect for state enterprises.

Keywords: Separation of ownership and control; Bank competition; Cost of debt; Chinese listed firms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G21 G32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.asieco.2020.101179

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