Debt Policy and the Rate of Return Premium to Leverage
AbstractEquilibrium in the market for real assets requires that the price of those assets be bid up to reflect the tax shields they can offer to levered firms.Thus there must be an equality between the market values of real assets and the values of optimally levered firms. The standard measure of the advantage to leverage compares the values of levered and unlevered assets, and can be misleading and difficult to interpret. We show that a meaningful measure of the advantage to debt is the extra rate of return, net of a market premium for bankruptcy risk, earned by a levered firm relative to an otherwise-identical unlevered firm. We construct an option valuation model to calculate such a measure and present extensive simulation results. We use this model to compute optimal debt maturities, show how this approach can be used for capital budgeting, and discuss its implications for the comparison of bankruptcy costs versus tax shields.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1439.
Date of creation: Aug 1984
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Kane, Alex, Marcus, Alan J. and Robert L. McDonald. "Debt Policy and the Rate of Return Premium to Leverage," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Vol. 20, No. 4, (Dec. 1985), pp. 479-499.
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- 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.
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"How Big is the Tax Advantage to Debt?,"
NBER Working Papers
1286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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