Zero-leverage policy and stock price crash risk: Evidence from Korea

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This study examines the difference in stock price crash risk between zero-leverage and non-zero-leverage firms. We find that zero-leverage firms have a significantly higher future stock price crash risk than non-zero-leverage firms. Next, we find that the positive relation between zero-leverage policy and future stock price crash risk is more pronounced when firms have higher controlling shareholders' ownership and foreign ownership. We also find that the positive relation is more pronounced for firms with low cash holdings than for those with high cash holdings. Further, we find that the positive relation is stronger for dividend-paying firms than non-dividend-paying firms. Our results are robust to alternative estimation specifications and endogeneity concerns. Overall, our findings shed light on the extent to which extreme corporate financial policy has an impact on future stock price crash risk. Our empirical evidence also provides meaningful implications for how stakeholders (especially investors) predict stock price crash risk in the context of extremely conservative capital structure.

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International Review of Financial Analysis



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