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Critical Review on ‘Revisiting the Capital Structure Puzzle: Uk Evidence’


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Critical Review on ‘Revisiting the Capital Structure puzzle: UK Evidence’

Assignment for PGBS0140 Accounting & Finance for Managers

Plymouth Business School
Module No.:PGBS0140
Module: Accounting & Finance for Managers
Group Members and Student No.:

Word count: 1492

Critical Review on ‘Revisiting the Capital Structure puzzle: UK Evidence’

Al-Najjar, B. and Hussainey, K. (2011). Revisiting the capital structure puzzle: UK evidence. The Journal of Risk Finance, 12 (4), 329- 338.
This essay will summarise and critically review the report of Al-Najjar and Hussainey (2011) in which the effects of potential drivers of corporate capital structure are differing for three different definitions of capital structure. The article of Al-Najjar and Hussainey is a meaning but problematic piece of research. This essay aims to critically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of authors’ arguments and mainly focuses on the introduction, theoretical background, hypothesis, empirical tests, and result.
Al-Najjar and Hussainey found a capital structure puzzle which is involved with different definition of capital structure and determinants of corporate capital structure. They collected a sample data of 379 non-financial firms in the UK from 1991 to 2002, and investigated firms’ corporate characteristics (including firm growth rate, risk level, firm size, asset tangibility, and firm’s profitability) and corporate governance elements (including non-executive directors and board size) which are the potential drivers of UK firms’ capital structure.
They utilised the fixed panel models and random effect Tobit models to analyse statistics. There are three definitions of capital structure: 1. Long-term debt to equity ratio =
Total loan / (equity capital + reserves – total intangibles)

2. Debt to capital ratio =
(Preference capital + total debt) / (total capital employed + short-term borrowing – total intangibles) 3. Debt to equity ratio = total debt / (total equity capital + reserves)
They analyse the influences of corporate characteristics and corporate governance components on three definitions of capital structure. The test results showed that the potential drivers have different effects on different definitions of capital structure. This article indicates that the puzzle in the definition of capital structure makes the comparison between the capital structure studies difficult and even incorrect.
Analysis and Evaluation
Above all, there are several strengths in this research. Authors presented a comprehensive and concentrated abstract in which the research’s objectives, findings, methods, and value are illustrated clearly. However, there are many problems in the main body of this article: arguments are lack of support evidence; the explanations of others’ researches are too short; methodologies are lack of assumptions and theoretical explanation; the findings are not specific and not sufficient.
The introduction provides basic theories, and explains different arguments on the potential drivers of capital structure. Authors also presented the potential drivers of capital structure, and explained the structure of this research article. However, in the part of prior literature, some of the early studies are lack of explanation as they just summarise analysts’ findings by one sentence. At least, Al-Najjar and Hussainey should explain how those results are found or what the selected sample data is.
The first one is the findings of Barclay and Smith (2005), Al-Najjar and Hussainey should write that Barclay and Smith have revisited the benefits of debt in controlling overinvestment, information costs, and analysed the determinants of corporate leverage policy. It is necessary to explain the process of prior research before using the finding that different capital-structure theories result in different and even opposite outcomes of firm-specific factors.
Secondly, the authors just listed several citations without any explanation on the viewpoint – corporate governance system influences the capital-structure. They should demonstrate the main ideas of each report to support this argument. Wen and others (2002) found that the board composition and CEO tenure have a significant relation with the financial leverage. Julan and Dai (2005) indicated that the corporate leverage is statistically significant with the ultimate corporate ownership structure, control rights, and the separation of cash flow rights. La Rocca (2007) and Driffield (2007) found that the corporate governance has influence on firm value and capital structure.
These researchers investigated the effects of components of corporate governance on capital structure specifically. But Al-Najjar and Hussainey did not provide sufficient explanations.
Theoretical background and hypotheses
In the second part of article, Al-Najjar and Hussainey clearly illustrated 9 hypotheses with each potential determinant of capital structure. Also, Al-Najjar and Hussainey explained each of the firm-specific factors and the elements of corporate governance by according to corresponding prior arguments.
However, Al-Najjar and Hussainey omitted two variables of corporate characteristics. They utilised Ozkan’s (2001) conclusion that liquidity and non-debt tax shield are negatively associated with capital-structure. But they did not make hypotheses about these two factors. They should make hypotheses and collect relevant data to investigate the impact of liquidity and non-debt tax shield on corporate capital structure.
In addition, the research hypotheses focused on the influence of 9 determinants just on the debt-to-equity ratio, but in the empirical tests, authors utilised three formulas of capital structure (Al-Najjar & Hussainey, 2011): Long-term debt to equity ratio, Debt to capital ratio, and Debt to equity ratio. Thus, it is a mistake that authors just mentioned ‘the debt to equity ratio’ but ignored the debt to capital ratio and the long-term debt to equity ratio. They should write the hypotheses with ‘capital structure’ instead of ‘the debt to equity ratio’.
After the explanation of hypotheses, the authors just simply mention the methodologies of this research and three definitions of capital structure. This part is lack of demonstration on the fixed panel models and random effect Tobit models as well as the different definitions of capital structure. It is important to explain the assumptions of methods, and the reasons why chosen these methods particularly the random effect Tobit models to conduct research, because different analysis methods may lead to varying outcomes of research.
Empirical tests
In the part of empirical test, the strengths are that authors demonstrated the functions of test models clearly; explained every variable with corresponding symbol; clarified the sources of data and the scope of selected sample. Furthermore, the definitions of capital structure are explained specifically; and the measures for each potential driver are clarified with corresponding data sources.
The first weakness is that the authors did not check the endogeneity problems of variables. In order to avoid endogeneity, authors can set the independent variables as lagged variables to run regression because the lagged explanatory variables can reduce endogeneity problems. Secondly, there is no correlation matrix in this research. Generally, researchers will draw a correlation matrix to demonstrate the relationship between any two of variables.
Test results
In this section, authors demonstrated three statistic tables for each definition of capital structure analysis. As for the statistically significant figures, authors referred to many relevant prior researches to explain the significant positive or negative effects of variables. Finally, the brief summary of test findings is comprehensive as they summarised the main drivers of capital structures and indicated the puzzle of capital structure definitions.
However, the first weakness is that the authors did not refer to the specific figures when they explained the relationship between determinants and capital structure. For example, according to table I, the coefficient of asset tangibility is -165 under the fixed effect models. It is necessary to mention the specific figures because it is a statistic evidence to show the level of influence, and it will increase the reliability of arguments.
Secondly, there is only one explanation for each finding. The influence of potential drivers to capital structure may be complex, so authors should investigate more reasons carefully. For instance, in the table I, when the authors explained the reason why the relationship between asset tangibility an capital structure is negative, they just listed four citations for one reason. They should also clarify other relevant findings of prior researches. To be specifc, Bhaduri (2002) regarded the collateral assets as the fixed assets. He argued that firms can utilise a high level of debt to mitigate the problem that less collateral assets are vulnerable to agency costs.
Thirdly, some explanations for the significant statistics in table III are too simple. They just said the reasons of effects are consistent with the findings in table I and II. For example, ‘Consistent with Tables I and II, the results show a positive relationship between firm size and capital structure’ (Al-Najjar & Hussainey, 2011). But, the three definitions of capital structure have different meanings, so they cannot simply consider the influence of determinants on debt-to-equity ratio are consistent with the reasons for long-term debt-to-equity ratio and debt-to-capital ratio.
In conclusion, this report summarises and critically analyses the research of Al-Najjar & Hussainey. They investigated the potential determinants of capital structure by utilising three different definitions. They found that the influences of corporate-specific characteristics and corporate governance on capital structure are different from three different definitions of capital structure. There are many merits in this report including clear hypotheses, specific statistic tables for three capital structure models, comprehensive summary for each finding and so on. However, there are many demerits in this research. Authors did not explain prior theories in the introduction; the hypotheses did not mention the long-term debt-to-equity ratio and debt to capital ratio; there is no explanation about the reason why choosing random effect Tobit models; authors did not refer to the figures in test tables; the explanations for table III are lack of sufficient theoretical supports.

Word count: 1492

Al-Najjar, B. & Hussainey, K., 2011. Revisiting the capital-struture puzzle: UK evidence. The Journal of Risk Management, 12(4), pp. 329-338.
Barclay, M. & Smith, C., 2005. The capital-structure puzzle. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 17(1), pp. 8-17.
Bhaduri, S., 2002. Determinants of corporate borrowing: some evidence from the Indian corporate structure. Journal of Economics and Finance, 26(2002), pp. 200-215.
Driffield, N., Mahambare, V. & Pal, S., 2007. How does ownership structure affect capital structure and firm value?. Economics of Transition, 15(3), pp. 535-573.
Julan, D. & Dai, Y., 2005. Ultimate corporate ownership structures and capital structures: evidence from East Asian economies. Corporate Governance, 13(1), pp. 60-71.
La Rocca, M., 2007. The influence of corporate governance on the relation between capital structure and value. Corporate Governance, 7(3), pp. 312-325.
Ozkan, A., 2001. Determinants of capital-structure and adjustment to long run target: evidence from UK company panel data. Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, 28(1/2), pp. 175-198.
Wen, Y., Rwegasira, K. & Bilderbeek, J., 2002. Corporate governance and capital structure decisions of the Chinese listed firms. Capital Structure Decisions, 10(2), pp. 75-83.

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