Title: Bank leverage choices of French SMEs: a quantile analysis

Authors: Ramzi Benkraiem; Calin Gurau; Thi Hong Van Hoang; Amine Lahiani; Thuy Seran-Luu

Addresses: Audencia Business School, 8 Route de la Jonelière, 44312 Nantes, France ' Montpellier Business School, 2300, avenue des Moulins, 34185 Montpellier, France ' Montpellier Business School, 2300, avenue des Moulins, 34185 Montpellier, France ' Montpellier Business School, Montpellier, Château de la Source, 45100 Orléans, France; LEO, University of Orléans, Orléans, France ' Montpellier Research in Management, MOMA, University of Montpellier, Espace Richter, 208 Rue Vendémiaire, 34000 Montpellier, France

Abstract: With a large sample of 24,825 firm-year observations of French SMEs in the 2003-2016 period, we investigate the drivers of bank leverage choices. A quantile regression modelling is used to consider the bank leverage distribution. This method is applied on three different sub-periods to examine the impact of the financial crisis. The results reveal that drivers of the bank leverage level vary in function of its distribution and of time. This helps explain mixed results of previous research in this field. The pecking order theory is suitable to French SMEs while performance is the most important criterion considered by banks. The highlights of the study are: 1) drivers of French SMEs' bank leverage depend on the leverage level and on time; 2) future research should consider both time and leverage distributional dimensions; 3) the pecking order theory is suitable to French SMEs; 4) the size of firms impacts the bank leverage level negatively; 5) the firm performance is the most important criterion in the decision process of banks.

Keywords: SMEs; bank leverage; quantile regressions; nonlinearity; crisis.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2021.117348

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2021 Vol.43 No.4, pp.570 - 597

Received: 23 Jan 2019
Accepted: 04 Mar 2019

Published online: 24 Aug 2021 *

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