DP4161 How Do Legal Differences and Learning Affect Financial Contracts?

Author(s): Steven Kaplan, Frederic Martel, Per Johan Strömberg
Publication Date: December 2003
Keyword(s): brokerage, capital and owner ship structure, financing policy, investment banking, venture capital
JEL(s): G24, G32
Programme Areas: Financial Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=4161

We analyse venture capital (VC) investments in 23 non-US countries and compare them to VC investments in the US. We describe how the contracts allocate cash flow, board, liquidation, and other control rights. In univariate analyses, contracts differ across legal regimes. At the same time, however, more experienced VCs implement US-style contracts regardless of legal regime. In most specifications, legal regime becomes insignificant controlling for VC sophistication. VCs who use US-style contracts fail significantly less often. Financial contracting theories in the presence of fixed costs of learning, therefore, appear to explain contracts along a wide range of legal regimes.