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Are there reliable determinant factors of capital structure decisions? Empirical study of SMEs in different regions of Portugal

Matias, F., Z. Serrasqueiro (2017), "Are there reliable determinant factors of capital structure decisions? Empirical study of SMEs in different regions of Portugal", Research in International Business and Finance, 40, 19–33.
Abstract:

On the basis of the empirical literature review about the capital structure decisions in Portuguese SMEs, this study analyses the relationships between the determinants – profitability, size, age, asset structure and growth, identified as reliable determinants in the empirical literature, and debt for SMEs located in different regions of Portugal (NUTS II). The global sample is made up of 11.016 SMEs and covers the period between 2007 and 2011. Overall, the results suggest that those determinants are reliable in explaining Portuguese SME capital structure decisions, suggesting that these decisions are closer to the predictions of Pecking Order Theory in comparison to the assumptions of Trade-off Theory. However, both financial theories are not enough to explain SME capital structure decisions.

Furthermore, our results suggest that SMEs’ capital structure differs across regions and that, concerning the impact of profitability, size, age, asset structure and growth on firm debt, there are some differences across regions, which could be explained by regional heterogeneity. However, we do not find statistically significant differences in the kind (signs) of the relationships between those determinants and debt in Portuguese SMEs across the various regions.