Serie: Working Papers. 2308.
Author: Isabel Argimón and Irene Roibás.
The empirical literature on the debt overhang hypothesis has estimated the relationship between investment and leverage at the firm level, which does not allow to disentangle between a firm’s decision not to invest as it is highly indebted and its ability to obtain the necessary resources. Using annual Spanish credit data from the Central Credit Register and non-financial corporations’ annual accounts from the lntegrated Central Balance Sheet Data Office Survey for the period 2004-2019, we study the impact of corporate debt on non-financial firms’ demand for bank loans, as a proxy for their willingness to invest. We find a negative relationship between firms’ leverage and demand for bank credit, thus supporting the debt overhang hypothesis. We then study whether such relationship is affected by financial conditions and find that a reduction in short-term interest rates mitigates the effect of firms’ leverage on demand for credit.