The Effect of Capital Structure on Profitability: Evidence from the United States

Gill, Amarjit; Biger, Nahum; Mathur, Neil
December 2011
International Journal of Management;Dec2011, Vol. 28 Issue 4, p3
Academic Journal
The relationship between capital structure and profitability cannot be ignored because the improvement in the profitability is necessary for the long-term survivability of the firm. This paper seeks to extend Abor's (2005) findings regarding the effect of capital structure on profitability by examining the effect of capital structure on profitability of the American service and manufacturing firms. A sample of 272 American firms listed on New York Stock Exchange for a period of 3 years from 2005 - 2007 was selected. The correlations and regression analyses were used to estimate the functions relating to profitability (measured by return on equity) with measures of capital structure. Empirical results show a positive relationship between i) short-term debt to total assets and profitability and ii) total debt to total assets and profitability in the service industry. The findings of this paper show a positive relationship between i) short-term debt to total assets and profitability, ii) long-term debt to total assets and profitability, and iii) total debt to total assets and profitability in the manufacturing industry. This paper offers useful insights for the owners/operators, managers, and lending institutions based on empirical evidence.


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