Elena Sholomitskaya 1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Corporate Debt Overhang and Investment in Russia

2016. Vol. 20. No. 2. P. 337–365 [issue contents]

The paper considers the factors of investment activity of Russian companies before and after the global financial crisis of 2008–2009. Given the growth of non-financial corporations debt under the general monetary tightening accompanied by the stagnation of investment in fixed assets, the roles of financial constraints and debt overhang are investigated. We also raise the question about the influence of the government participation in the company’s capital on investment behavior. In order to identify the phenomenon of debt overhang we provide a new indicator and show its advantages over others previously used in studies. We estimate investment functions using annual panel data on financial indicators of Russian public companies for the period from 2000 to 2014.

The results show differences in the investment behavior of firms before and after the crisis of 2008–2009: the weak influence of financial constraints before the crisis turned into statistically and economically significant thereafter. The behavior of private companies and state-owned ones differs much. State-owned companies have relatively soft budget constraints and are almost not subject to debt overhang, while the post-crisis decline in investment of private companies, according to our estimates, is 14% due to the aggravation of the problem. This result means that in the post-crisis environment of limited financial resources state-owned companies’ borrowing can crowd out borrowings of other companies, and thus crowd out private investment.

The presence of debt overhang may have implications for monetary policy: central bank has an additional argument in favor of softer policy. The central bank also has to take into account the heterogeneity of economic agents: the major "burden" of tight monetary policy falls on the market segment, while state-owned enterprises get advantages of their easier access to financing.
Citation: Sholomitskaya E. (2016) Korporativnyy dolgovoy naves i investitsii v rossiyskoy ekonomike [Corporate Debt Overhang and Investment in Russia]. HSE Economic Journal, vol. 20, no 2, pp. 337-365 (in Russian)
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