Banking Sector Development and Corporate Leverage: Empirical Evidence from South African Firms

  •  Oyebola Etudaiye-Muhtar    
  •  Rubi Ahmad    


The banking sector in Africa dominates the financial system which makes bank credit an important source of external finance for firms within the economy. For this reason, financial policy makers and regulators implement development measures in the banking sector to ease a firm’s access to bank credit. This paper investigates the effect of banking sector development on capital structure decisions of publicly listed firms in South Africa with the use of a dynamic panel data estimator. We use the two-step system generalised method of moments (GMM) in the investigation and find that as the banking sector develops, publicly listed firms in South Africa use less debt in their capital structure. This is consistent with the notion that as the banking sector develops in emerging markets; the resultant risk management process which tightens lending process gives a better pricing for risk and makes the cost of bank credit higher. The policy implication for financial policy makers and regulatory bodies is that they should implement policies that will put in place an efficient risk management process which at the same time, reduces cost of bank credit.

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