Leverage, Investment, and Firm Growth

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Larry Lang ; Eli Ofek ; Rene M. Stulz (1995)

We show that there is a negative relation between leverage and future growth at the firm level and, for diversified firms, at the segment level. Further, this negative relation between leverage and growth holds for firms with low Tobin's q, but not for high-q firms or firms in high-q industries. Therefore, leverage does not reduce growth for firms known to have good investment opportunities, but is negatively related to growth for firms whose growth opportunities are either not recognized by the capital markets or are not sufficiently valuable to overcome the effects of their debt overhang.
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