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The Net Benefits to Leverage

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  • ARTHUR KORTEWEG
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    Abstract

    I estimate the market's valuation of the net benefits to leverage using panel data from 1994 to 2004, identified from market values and betas of a company's debt and equity. The median firm captures net benefits of up to 5.5% of firm value. Small and profitable firms have high optimal leverage ratios, as predicted by theory, but in contrast to existing empirical evidence. Companies are on average slightly underlevered relative to the optimal leverage ratio at refinancing. This result is mainly due to zero leverage firms. I also look at implications for financial policy. Copyright (c) 2010 the American Finance Association.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 65 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 6 (December)
    Pages: 2137-2170

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:65:y:2010:i:6:p:2137-2170

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    Cited by:
    1. Anginer, Deniz & Yildizhan, Celim, 2010. "Is there a distress risk anomaly ? pricing of systematic default risk in the cross section of equity returns," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5319, The World Bank.
    2. Ogden, Joseph P. & Wu, Shanhong, 2013. "Reassessing the effect of growth options on leverage," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 182-195.
    3. Dang, Viet Anh, 2013. "An empirical analysis of zero-leverage firms: New evidence from the UK," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 189-202.
    4. Coricelli, Fabrizio & Driffield, Nigel & Pal, Sarmistha & Roland, Isabelle, 2012. "When does leverage hurt productivity growth? A firm-level analysis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1674-1694.
    5. Armen Hovakimian & Ayla Kayhan & Sheridan Titman, 2012. "Are Corporate Default Probabilities Consistent with the Static Trade-off Theory?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(2), pages 315-340.
    6. Arnold, Marc & Wagner, Alexander F. & Westermann, Ramona, 2013. "Growth options, macroeconomic conditions, and the cross section of credit risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 350-385.
    7. Muradoğlu, Yaz Gülnur & Sivaprasad, Sheeja, 2012. "Capital structure and abnormal returns," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 328-341.
    8. Faulkender, Michael & Flannery, Mark J. & Hankins, Kristine Watson & Smith, Jason M., 2012. "Cash flows and leverage adjustments," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 632-646.
    9. Elkamhi, Redouane & Ericsson, Jan & Parsons, Christopher A., 2012. "The cost and timing of financial distress," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 62-81.
    10. 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.
    11. Bessler, Wolfgang & Drobetz, Wolfgang & Haller, Rebekka & Meier, Iwan, 2013. "The international zero-leverage phenomenon," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 196-221.
    12. Devos, Erik & Dhillon, Upinder & Jagannathan, Murali & Krishnamurthy, Srinivasan, 2012. "Why are firms unlevered?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 664-682.

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