The purpose of this paper is to use samples from Chinese-listed companies to investigate the effects of interest rate deregulation and earnings transparency on company’s capital structure in China over the period of 2003–2015. In particular, the authors study the link between state-owned enterprises (SOEs), economic growth targets and marketization in China’s unique institutional context.
Based on the methodology of quantitative analysis, the authors use baseline and cluster analysis for all samples with full set of controls, for robustness tests of alternative proxy of interest rate control by using a cluster analysis at the firm level, regarding endogeneity tests conducted fixed effect model with adding instrument variables (IV), two-period factors regression method via IV and system generalized method of moments for dynamic analysis.
The results show that earnings transparency increases firm leverage and the additional tests suggest that such an effect takes place via a mechanism by reducing the cost of debt finance. However, information transparency could moderate the effects of interest rate deregulation on corporate capital structure. In addition, it finds that SOEs are less sensitive toward the changes of interest rates in China because lending to SOEs is policy-oriented and lacks of market evaluation of business risk. Government control is conducive to enhancing the transparency of the whole industry; however, market-oriented reform is conducive to enhancing the transparency of the company’s own information.
The paper makes contribution to the relationship between earnings disclosure quality and capital structure in the Chinese unique institutional context, such as taking the progressive interest rate reform, SOES, different economic growth target and different marketization level in each province of China. The authors suggest that investors will pay more attention to the company’s own unique information transparency in the provinces with a high degree of marketization. As a potential direction for future research, the authors will investigate how the earnings transparency has impact on capital structure, and how such impact would depend on the transparency of specific business, the cap of foreign shareholding and the convenience of investment.
This research would be the target of banking market reform in order to bring a fair financing environment for all businesses in China. It implies that current experiment of interest rate liberalization in China is not as efficient as it could be in allocating funds across all businesses. State banks, SOEs and local governments are still the biggest players on both the demand and supply sides of the Chinese credit markets.
The social implication of this paper lies in the fact that first, it provides additional evidence on the effect of market-oriented reforms through how the information transparency interacts with the financial decisions making of corporations. Second, it offers policy implication to banking market deregulation in China.
The paper makes contribution to the relationship between earnings disclosure quality and capital structure in the Chinese unique institutional context. This research tests the existing literature, such as Francis et al. (2004) and Zhang and Lu (2007), and suggests that informationally transparent firms have a higher debt ratio and lower effective interest costs on bank loans. In addition, this paper further explores the role played by interest rate deregulation in corporate finance, and in turn market fund allocation. This paper sheds new light on information transparency and explores the relationship between earnings disclosure quality and debt financing behaviors of Chinese publicly listed companies over the period of 2003–2015.
The authors are grateful to Professor Xianzhong Song of Jinan University, China for her valuable and constructive comments, which substantially improve this paper; and the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions. Dr Xiaolong Li acknowledges financial support from The Science and Technology Support Program of Guangzhou City, China (Grant No. 201704030098) and the Major Natural Science Research Projects of Anhui Province, China (Grant No. KJ2017ZD35).
Li, X., Tian, L., Han, L. and Cai, H. (2019), "Interest rate regulation, earnings transparency and capital structure: evidence from China", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOEM-04-2018-0164Download as .RIS
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