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Credit Risk and Dynamic Capital Structure Choice

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  • Dangl, Thomas
  • Zechner, Josef

Abstract

This Paper analyses the effect of dynamic capital structure adjustments on credit risk. Firms may optimally adjust their leverage in response to stochastic changes in firm value. It is shown that capital structure dynamics lower optimal initial leverage ratios but increase both fair credit spreads and expected default probabilities for moderate levels of transactions costs. Numerical examples demonstrate that expected default frequencies do not decrease monotonically in the traditional distance to default measure. The magnitude of the effect of capital structure dynamics depends on firm characteristics such as asset volatility, the growth rate, the effective corporate tax rate, debt call features and transactions costs. We find that the underestimation of credit spreads and expected default frequencies is exacerbated when the risk-adjusted drift of the underlying stochastic process is inferred from a model which ignores the opportunity to recapitalize. Finally it is shown that the Value-at-Risk of corporate bonds increases with the distance to default (DD) both for very low and for very high values of DD whereas it decreases for intermediate values.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4132.

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Date of creation: Dec 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4132

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Keywords: capital structure; credit risk;

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References

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  1. Pierre Mella-Barral & William R M Perraudin, 1993. "Strategic Debt Service," CEPR Financial Markets Paper 0039, European Science Foundation Network in Financial Markets, c/o C.E.P.R, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
  2. Anderson, Ronald W & Sundaresan, Suresh, 1996. "Design and Valuation of Debt Contracts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(1), pages 37-68.
  3. Fischer, Edwin O. & Heinkel, Robert & Zechner, Josef, 1989. "Dynamic Recapitalization Policies and the Role of Call Premia and Issue Discounts," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(04), pages 427-446, December.
  4. Goldstein, Robert & Ju, Nengjiu & Leland, Hayne, 2001. "An EBIT-Based Model of Dynamic Capital Structure," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(4), pages 483-512, October.
  5. Pierre Collin-Dufresne, 2001. "Do Credit Spreads Reflect Stationary Leverage Ratios?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1929-1957, October.
  6. Gilson, Stuart C, 1997. " Transactions Costs and Capital Structure Choice: Evidence from Financially Distressed Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 161-96, March.
  7. Fischer, Edwin O & Heinkel, Robert & Zechner, Josef, 1989. " Dynamic Capital Structure Choice: Theory and Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(1), pages 19-40, March.
  8. Merton, Robert C., 1973. "On the pricing of corporate debt: the risk structure of interest rates," Working papers 684-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  9. Black, Fischer & Cox, John C, 1976. "Valuing Corporate Securities: Some Effects of Bond Indenture Provisions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 351-67, May.
  10. Mella-Barral, Pierre, 1999. "The Dynamics of Default and Debt Reorganization," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(3), pages 535-78.
  11. Crouhy, Michel & Galai, Dan & Mark, Robert, 2000. "A comparative analysis of current credit risk models," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 59-117, January.
  12. Deen Kemsley & Doron Nissim, 2002. "Valuation of the Debt Tax Shield," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 2045-2073, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Delis, Manthos D & Tsionas, Efthymios, 2011. "A new method to estimate the risk of financial intermediaries," MPRA Paper 34735, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Andrea Gamba & Leon Gordon & Carmen Aranda Leon, 2008. "Investment Under Uncertainty, Debt and Taxes," Working Papers wpn08-03, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  3. Andrea Gamba & Alexander J. Triantis, 2008. "Valuing Corporate Financing Strategies," Working Papers wpn08-02, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  4. Löffler, Gunter & Maurer, Alina, 2011. "Incorporating the dynamics of leverage into default prediction," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 3351-3361.
  5. Xu, Ruxing & Li, Shenghong, 2010. "Belief updating, debt pricing and financial decisions under asymmetric information," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 123-137, June.
  6. Maclachlan, Iain C, 2007. "An empirical study of corporate bond pricing with unobserved capital structure dynamics," MPRA Paper 28416, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Lin, Tyrone T., 2009. "The determinant of production entry and exit model on financing behavior," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 196(1), pages 258-265, July.
  8. : Andrea Gamba & : Alexander J. Triantis, 2013. "How Effectively Can Debt Covenants Alleviate Financial Agency Problems?," Working Papers wpn13-08, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  9. Pawlina, Grzegorz, 2010. "Underinvestment, capital structure and strategic debt restructuring," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 679-702, December.
  10. : Andrea Gamba & Carmen Aranda Leon & Alessio Saretto, 2011. "Dynamic Capacity Choice, Dynamic Capital Structure and Credit Risk," Working Papers wpn11-03, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.

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