This study examines the effects of oligarch ownership on corporate capital structures. Using panel data from Ukraine, I find that oligarch–owned companies employ significantly more debt and liabilities than their peers. However, there is no direct relation between oligarch ownership and target capital structure. Whereas the determinants of target leverage are similar across all owners, differences in firm characteristics also have a fairly small effect. I show that larger leverage is due to better access to debt, which results in lower rebalancing costs and faster restructurings of oligarch–owned companies. The findings clearly suggest that oligarchs benefit from the accumulated advantages.
Capital structure Leverage Oligarchs Influential ownership Connected firms Cumulative advantage
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I thank two anonymous referees for valuable comments and suggestions. All remaining errors are mine.
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