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Corporate Governance Strength and Leverage: Empirical Evidence from Jordan

  • Received : 2021.02.20
  • Accepted : 2021.06.01
  • Published : 2021.07.30

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of corporate governance strength on capital structure in an emerging country, namely, Jordan, by constructing a corporate governance score that captures both internal monitoring mechanisms (foreign ownership and institutional ownership) and external monitoring mechanism (audit fees). In addition, this study uses profitability as control variable. This paper uses data of non-financial companies (industrial and services) of 87 listed firms on Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) from 2011 to 2019. Using the random-effects generalized least square (GLS) regression model, the findings reveal that foreign ownership significantly and negatively influences the level leverage, while institutional ownership has a positive and insignificant association with level leverage. Further, audit fees have a positive and strong significant association with level leverage in Jordan. In addition, profitability has a positive and significant association with leverage. These outcomes suggest that foreign ownership should be encouraged in listed companies as it can replace the weakness of other corporate governance mechanisms in Jordan. The outcomes of the current study should be of great interest to regulators and policy-makers. The results, which are robust to a range of alternative proxies and to additional tests, provide new insights into the determinants of level leverage.

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