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The firm under uncertainty: capital structure and background risk

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  • Broll, Udo
  • Wong, Keith K.P.
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    Abstract

    This paper examines the interplay between the real and financial decisions of the competitive firm under output price uncertainty. The firm faces additional sources of uncertainty that are aggregated into a background risk. We show that the firm always chooses its optimal debt-equity ratio to minimize the weighted average cost of capital, irrespective of the risk attitude of the firm and the incidence of the underlying uncertainty. We further show that the firm's optimal input mix depends on its optimal debt-equity ratio, thereby rendering the interdependence of the real and financial decisions of the firm. When the background risk is either additive or multiplicative, we provide reasonable restrictions on the firm's preferences so as to ensure that the firm's optimal output is adversely affected upon the introduction of the background risk. --

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics in its series Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics with number 04/10.

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    Date of creation: 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:tuddps:0410

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    Web page: http://www.tu-dresden.de/wiwi/
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    Related research

    Keywords: Background risk; Capital structure; Price uncertainty;

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    1. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
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    17. Kraus, Alan & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1973. "A State-Preference Model of Optimal Financial Leverage," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 28(4), pages 911-22, September.
    18. Franke, Günter & Schlesinger, Harris & Stapleton, Richard C., 2002. "Multiplicative background risk," Discussion Papers, various Research Units FS IV 02-06, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    19. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Cooper, Ian & Franks, Julian R, 1983. " The Interaction of Financing and Investment Decisions When the Firm Has Unused Tax Credits," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(2), pages 571-83, May.
    21. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Romer, David & Williams, Steve, 1981. "Risk Aversion with Random Initial Wealth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 911-20, June.
    22. Barnea, Amir & Haugen, Robert A & Senbet, Lemma W, 1981. "An Equilibrium Analysis of Debt Financing under Costly Tax Arbitrage and Agency Problems," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(3), pages 569-81, June.
    23. Hite, Gailen L., 1977. "Leverage, output effects, and the M-M theorems," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 177-202, March.
    24. Athey, Susan, 2002. "Monotone Comparative Statics Under Uncertainty," Scholarly Articles 3372263, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    25. Dotan, Amihud & Ravid, S Abraham, 1985. " On the Interaction of Real and Financial Decisions of the Firm under Uncertainty," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(2), pages 501-17, June.
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