Financing nascent industry : Leverage, politics, and performance in Imperial Russia

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Title: Financing nascent industry : Leverage, politics, and performance in Imperial Russia
Author: Gregg, Amanda ; Nafziger, Steven
Organization: Bank of Finland
Department / Unit: Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT)
Series: BOFIT Discussion Papers
ISSN: 1456-5889
Series year: 2020
Series number: 7/2020
Year of publication: 2020
Publication date: 8.3.2020
Pages: 51
Subject (yso): rahoitus; yritykset; taloushistoria; teollistuminen
Keywords: Bofit-kokoelma; Venäjä
JEL: N23; N63; G32
Other keywords: corporate finance; financial history; industrialization; Russia; Russian empire
Abstract: This paper explores the dynamics of corporate finance during the early stages of industrial growth by examining a newly constructed panel database of Imperial Russian industrial corporations’ balance sheets. We document large differences in financial strategies and outcomes across industries, over time, over firms’ life cycles, and between two Russian corporation types. Russian corporations’ profits and dividend payouts followed the Russian business cycle. Russian corporate debt ratios mostly follow modern capital structure theories, but tangible assets were not associated with higher debt levels, suggesting that Russian corporate debt was short-term, that collateral was irrelevant, or that agency problems dominated. We also find evidence that investors needed to be compensated for poor protections, since dividends were valued and widely-held corporations enjoyed greater returns. While the evidence suggests the presence of these and other frictions, our findings are consistent with the Imperial Russian financial system functioning well enough to enable early industrial development.
Rights: https://helda.helsinki.fi/bof/copyright


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