Essays on Ownership Structures, Corporate Finance Policies and Financial Reporting Decisions



This is an online PhD defence. You can watch the defence via this livestream

This dissertation covers empirical analyses in the fields of corporate governance, corporate finance and accounting conservatism – as well as the relationships between them. The impact of the global financial crisis is also a key theme that runs through each of the three studies.

Chapter 2 examines the use of leverage in concentrated ownership structures and its effects on payout policy. Based on French data, we find that companies exposed to blockholder leverage are reluctant to cut dividends in difficult times. Furthermore, we observe that, within pyramids, on average only 60% of dividends are passed through to the ultimate owners, with the rest predominantly used to meet debt service obligations of the pyramidal entities.

The latter two essays concern the demand for accounting conservatism and the impact of capital structure decisions on firm reporting behaviors. In Chapter 3, we investigate US firms that attracted new funds from capital markets and find support for the demand for conservative reporting by shareholders in the public markets. The analysis provides no significant results for debt issues or private equity deals.

In Chapter 4, using an extensive international dataset, I find variations in the reporting quality of corporates around the world. The results also indicate that conservatism is associated not only with the legal origin of the counties but also their institutional factors.