The effects of debt liquidity risk on firms' growth rate

Zilong Liu, Hongyan Liang, Chang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: In theory, the impact of debt liquidity risk (DLR) on the firm's future growth is ambiguous. This study aims to examine the empirical relationship between the DLR and firms' growth rate using annual data for USA companies from 1976 to 2020. Design/methodology/approach: Given the longitudinal nature of the data, the author uses OLS (ordinary least squares) regression methodology with fixed effects to control for unobserved characteristics that might affect the dependent variable. Instrument variable regression is also used to address the potential endogeneity problem. Findings: The results show that firms having higher DLR, as proxied by more short-term debt, experience lower growth rate. An increase in firms' short-term debt decreases the firms' future growth rate as evidenced by lower assets, revenue and employee growth rate. Moreover, the authors' results show that small firms or firms with more investment opportunities grow fast if the firms take higher DLR. Finally, cyclical firms with higher DLR exhibit lower growth rate during the credit tighten period. The authors' results hold for both the pre-zero lower bound (ZLB) era and ZLB period. Originality/value: To the authors' best knowledge, this is one of the earliest studies to carefully examine the effects of DLR on firms' growth rate. While prior research finds that firms with higher growth potential, measured by market-to-book (MTB) ratio, use more short-term debt, the authors' research directly addresses whether DLR affects firms' future growth rate. The authors’ findings also help explain why firms with high growth potential use more short-term debt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-93
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Managerial Finance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2024


  • Debt liquidity risk
  • Debt maturity structure
  • Firm growth rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Finance


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