To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Does the legal origin affect corporate cash holding?

Ranjan Das Gupta (Goa Institute of Management, Sattari, India)
Rajesh Pathak (Goa Institute of Management, Sattari, India)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 19 June 2020

Issue publication date: 14 October 2021




The study examines the role of a country's legal system in predicting the corporate cash holdings using a sample of 18 countries inherited with distinct legal traditions. The central point of the study is the comparative assessment of legal frameworks in shaping the corporate finance policies.


The authors employ host of regression techniques including dummy variables, panel data regression and Fama–MacBeth regressions to establish the relationship.


The study results support the idea of “theory of law and finance” that legal tradition is a key factor determining corporate behaviour and policy. In particular, the authors observe that firms operating in civil law systems hold significantly higher cash as compared to their peers from common law systems. Moreover, the authors report that the law system affects the corporate cash holdings through the channels of economic development and shareholder's protection, yet in opposite directions. This is because the authors find that in developed countries where civil law tradition prevails, firms hold reasonably higher cash. Moreover, if the firm belongs to high investors' protection country with civil law traditions, the cash holdings get substantially reduced. Besides, the authors find that the predictability of widely held determinants of cash holdings is not invariant of law traditions, and it holds true also when analysed in conjunction with the financial crisis. Overall, the authors find support for their postulation that corporate cash management policies are likely to be different across legal traditions. The study results are robust to the controls for various firm and country-specific antecedents of cash holdings and to the alternate econometric techniques.

Practical implications

The study findings would encourage the government and firm policymakers and regulators in strengthening the investor protection rights which would further augment the legal system and firm-specific corporate governance mechanisms. This would mitigate agency issues and managers would be forced to undertake investor-friendly financial policies especially corporate cash holdings which would be resulting into shareholder value maximization.


The study contributes uniquely since the existing literature is largely silent on the role that legal tradition of a country has on the cash holdings of its firms.



Das Gupta, R. and Pathak, R. (2021), "Does the legal origin affect corporate cash holding?", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 16 No. 8, pp. 1964-1983.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited