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Nuri Ersahin – Michigan State – Brown Bag Series
7 April 2021 @ 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm
Crowded out from the Beginning: Impact of Government Debt on Corporate Financing
Cagri Akkoyun, Nuri Ersahin, & Christopher James
March 22, 2021
Using hand-collected data on corporate bond and stock offerings, we identify the impact of government debt on corporate financing during World War I. The early twentieth century provides a unique opportunity to identify the impact of government debt on private financing because during this period (1) firms announced the amount they wanted to raise before each security offering and (2) the Treasury issued debt in discrete intervals. We identify the impact of Treasury issues by comparing differences in the amount firms offered to the amount they actually raised when the Treasury was borrowing to when the Treasury was not in the market. We find that long-term government bond offerings negatively affect both amount of long-term corporate bonds and dividend paying stocks issued. In contrast, we find no effect of government bond offerings on short-term debt issue. Our findings suggest that investors view stable dividend paying stocks as a close substitute for relatively safe long-term bonds.