Article | Journal of Financial Economics | April 2011

Ownership Structure and the Cost of Corporate Borrowing

by Chen Lin, Yue Ma, Paul Malatesta and Yuhai Xuan


This article identifies an important channel through which excess control rights affect firm value. Using a new, hand-collected data set on corporate ownership and control of 3,468 firms in 22 countries during the 1996-2008 period, we find that the cost of debt financing is significantly higher for companies with a wider divergence between the largest ultimate owner's control rights and cash-flow rights and investigate factors that affect this relation. Our results suggest that potential tunneling and other moral hazard activities by large shareholders are facilitated by their excess control rights. These activities increase the monitoring costs and the credit risk faced by banks and, in turn, raise the cost of debt for the borrower.

Keywords: Borrowing and Debt; Cash Flow; Cost; Financing and Loans; Governance Controls; Ownership Stake; Business and Shareholder Relations;


Lin, Chen, Yue Ma, Paul Malatesta, and Yuhai Xuan. "Ownership Structure and the Cost of Corporate Borrowing." Journal of Financial Economics 100, no. 1 (April 2011): 1–23. (Lead Article. First Place Winner of the 2011 Jensen Prize for the Best Paper in the Areas of Corporate Finance and Organizations published in the Journal of Financial Economics.)