The Capital Structure of Business Start-Up: Is There a Pecking Order Theory or a Reversed Pecking Order? —Evidence from the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics


Using the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics, we study if the problems of asymmetry and opacity of information, asset specificity, agency problem and signaling theory predict the financial structure at inception. Thus, we conduct a study in two steps. First, by analyzing the descriptive statistics, we find that novice entrepreneurs turn first to internal sources of finance. Then, they apply to external debts and finally to equity finance. We prove then the applicability of the Pecking order theory in case of entrepreneurial firms. Second, by analyzing the role of financial theory in predicting the capital structure of entrepreneurial firms we find the following results. In fact, evidence from analyzing the role of information opacity, asset specificity and signaling theory, proves that the main source of finance is equity rather than debt. In the majority of the cases, depth interviews show from studying the financial theory an inverted pecking order. Two main reasons for this pattern can be established. First, entrepreneurs consider debt as a personal liability as it requires to be underwritten by personal guarantees. Entrepreneurs place a self-imposed limit on the extent to which they are prepared to mortgage their assets. Second, entrepreneurs deliberately seek out equity investment as a means of obtaining added value. This external equity which has been viewed as expensive is viewed as good value. A well chosen investor can add business skills and social capital in the form of commercial contacts and access to relevant networks.

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H. Fourati and H. Affes, "The Capital Structure of Business Start-Up: Is There a Pecking Order Theory or a Reversed Pecking Order? —Evidence from the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics," Technology and Investment, Vol. 4 No. 4, 2013, pp. 244-254. doi: 10.4236/ti.2013.44029.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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