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How Big Is the Tax Advantage to Debt?

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  • Kane, Alex
  • Marcus, Alan J
  • McDonald, Robert L

Abstract

This paper uses an option valuation model of the firm to answer the question, "What magnitude tax advantage to debt is consistent with the range of observed corporate debt ratios?" We incorporate into the model differential personal tax rates on capital gains and ordinary income. We conclude that variations in the magnitude of bankruptcy costs across firms can not by itself account for the simultaneous existence of levered and unlevered firms. When it is possible for the value of the underlying assets to junip discretely to zero, differences across firms in the probability of this jump can account for the simultaneous existence of levered and unlevered firms. Moreover, if the tax advantage to debt is small, the annual rate of return advantage offered by optimal leverage may be so small as to make the firm indifferent about debt policy over a wide range of debt-to-firm value ratios.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Finance Association in its journal Journal of Finance.

Volume (Year): 39 (1984)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 841-53

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:39:y:1984:i:3:p:841-53

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Cited by:
  1. Strebulaev, Ilya A. & Whited, Toni M., 2012. "Dynamic Models and Structural Estimation in Corporate Finance," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 6(1–2), pages 1-163, November.
  2. Hayne E. Leland., 1998. "Agency Costs, Risk Management, and Capital Structure," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-278, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Andrea Gamba & Leon Gordon & Carmen Aranda Leon, 2008. "Investment Under Uncertainty, Debt and Taxes," Working Papers wpn08-03, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  4. Kane, Alex & Marcus, Alan J. & McDonald, Robert L., 1985. "Debt Policy and the Rate of Return Premium to Leverage," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(04), pages 479-499, December.
  5. Kristoffer Glover & Gerhard Hambusch, 2013. "The Trade-off Theory Revisited: On the Effect of Operating Leverage," Research Paper Series 329, Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney.
  6. Sinha, Pankaj & Bansal, Vishakha, 2013. "Capital structure puzzle: the interrelationship between leverage, taxes and other micro economic factors," MPRA Paper 49878, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 17 Sep 2013.
  7. DeAngelo, Harry & DeAngelo, Linda & Whited, Toni M., 2011. "Capital structure dynamics and transitory debt," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 235-261, February.
  8. Ilya A. Strebulaev, 2007. "Do Tests of Capital Structure Theory Mean What They Say?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1747-1787, 08.
  9. Pascal Francois, 2006. "Tax loss carry-forwards and optimal leverage," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(14), pages 1075-1083.
  10. Mehdi Elhaei Sahar & Seyed Ali Vaez, 2013. "Information Asymmetry and Financing Decisions: Evidence from Iran Stock Exchange," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 3(3), pages 105-110, July.
  11. Nengjiu Ju & Robert Parrino & Allen M. Poteshman & Michael S. Weisbach, 2002. "Horses and Rabbits? Optimal Dynamic Capital Structure from Shareholder and Manager Perspectives," NBER Working Papers 9327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Moyen, Nathalie, 2007. "How big is the debt overhang problem?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 433-472, February.
  13. Martin Dózsa & Jakub Seidler, 2012. "Debt Contracts and Stochastic Default Barrier," Working Papers IES 2012/17, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Jun 2012.

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