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Firm Internationalization and the Cost of Debt Financing: Evidence from Non-Provisional Publicly Traded Debt

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 April 2009


Recent research suggests that firm internationalization is associated with greater exchange rate risk and a higher cost of equity capital. However, there is no research on the relation between the level of firm international activity and the cost of debt financing. This study offers the first such empirical evidence using non-provisional public debt. Based on a sample of 2,194 U.S. firm year observations, we find that firms with greater levels of international activity have better credit ratings. We also find that the cost of debt financing is inversely related to the degree of firm internationalization beyond that incorporated in credit ratings. These results suggest that rating agencies do not fully incorporate firm international activity in their analysis resulting in a downward bias in credit ratings for international firms. In aggregate, the results imply that failing to incorporate firm international activity in debt pricing leads to potential omitted variable problems.

Research Article
Copyright © School of Business Administration, University of Washington 2001

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