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Financial constraints, capital structure and dividend policy : evidence from Jordan

The economic reforms in Jordan during the last two decades have highlighted and promoted the role that non-financial firms play within the Jordanian economy. The ability of firms to play this role is in major part determined by the structure of the financial system in which they operate, and in particular whether this financial system is able to make capital available efficiently to those firms that need it. Whether this is the case can be investigated by analysing the impact of firm characteristics on some of the most important financial decisions taken by these firms, and how these decisions are influenced by the presence of market imperfections. The thesis examines the relation between the financing and investment decisions, where the effect of financial constraints on the firm’s investment decision is investigated. In particular, this thesis focuses on how financial constraints affect different firms by investigating the extent to which the reliance on internal cash flow is affected by firm characteristics such as size, age, dividend payout ratio, and market listing. We find that Jordanian firms are financially constrained, but that these constraints do not appear to be related to firm characteristics. Further, results show that Jordanian firms use debt rather than equity to finance their investment. The second empirical chapter focuses on the main determinants of firms’ capital structure. Here the results show that Jordanian firms follow the pecking order theory, where profitability and liquidity have a negative impact on the level of debt. Size and market to book value have a positive impact, supporting the view that there are significant constraints on debt financing since indicators of the financial health of the firms affect their capital structure ratio. There is also evidence that ownership structure affects the firm’s access to debt. The final empirical chapter examines the impact of firm characteristics on dividend policy, and shows that profitability and market to book value have a positive impact on dividend policy, implying that firms with better access to capital or credit pay dividends. This implies that firms retain earnings in order to ensure that they have sufficient capital to invest, confirming the initial result that Jordanian firms are financially constrained. There is also evidence of the impact of ownership structure, consistent with the predictions of agency cost theory, while institutional investors appear to follow the prudent-man restrictions, being positively associated with firms that pay dividends. This thesis confirms the presence of market imperfections that have a significant influence on the financial decisions taken by Jordanian firms. The consistent evidence of the importance of retained earnings shows that these firms face substantial constraints in terms of their access to external funds, despite the reforms to the Jordanian financial system over the last two decades.
Date January 2013
CreatorsAbuhommous, Ala’a Adden Awni
ContributorsMase, B.
PublisherBrunel University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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