Essays in international corporate finance
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This dissertation consists of three essays in international corporate finance. It studies the impact of aggregate conditions and the institutional environment on the behavior of publicly traded firms from a broad sample of countries. In the first essay I argue that when credit constraints are widespread, as may be the case in countries with poor investor protection, we should not necessarily expect small firms´ investment to be more sensitive to monetary contractions or negative aggregate shocks. A simple model of investment with credit constraints shows that for this pattern to occur we need a high enough level of investor protection. The empirical evidence is broadly consistent with the hypothesis. In periods of tight credit conditions, small firms from countries with high creditor protection contract their investment rate more than large firms, while there is no significant difference in the investment contraction of small and large firms in from low creditor protection countries. In the second essay I explore to what extent the effect of legal origin on payout policy, ownership concentration, and valuation has been stable through time. The results suggest that previously established results should be taken with caution, and cast doubts on their strength. In particular, it appears that corporate characteristics are converging across countries, and legal origin is not longer an important determinant of them. In the final essay I study to what extent capital raising in international markets is related to firms´ ability to react to financial shocks. I provide a complete descriptive picture of the main patterns in the use of international financing between 1990 and 2009,study how issuers and non-issuers grow during financial crises, and how their growth is related to the aggregate conditions in the economy and their past financing behavior. Firms that raise capital internationally have a lower correlation with the local GDP growth, and grow more during local financial crises; however this relationship depends on the overall degree of development of the country and is highly dependent on the determinants of the issuance decision. The descriptive analysis show that international capital raising is pervasive in most countries, but the firms doing so differ depending on the development of their country of origin.