Using internal data of a leasing company in Germany, we examine the determinants of the probability and use of leasing by small firms. We find that small and young firms are likely to be constrained on the leasing market but use leasing to increase their debt capacity. Beyond contract- and firm-specific characteristics, demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the entrepreneur matter. Older and higher qualified entrepreneurs have easier access to leasing than those who are younger or non-educated, but the latter lease more than highly educated entrepreneurs. Female and non-married entrepreneurs of young firms use leasing to increase their debt capacity. These results are important for aging populations where the financing of entrepreneurial activities by highly qualified, older and female persons are important to sustain growth.
leasing financial constraints small firm finance capital structure aging population