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The Effects Of Uncertainty On The Leverage Of Nonfinancial Firms


"This paper investigates the link between the optimal level of nonfinancial firms' short-term leverage and macroeconomic and idiosyncratic sources of uncertainty. We develop a structural model of a firm's value maximization problem that predicts a negative relationship between uncertainty and optimal levels of borrowing. This proposition is tested using a panel of nonfinancial U.S. firms drawn from the COMPUSTAT quarterly database covering the period 1993-2003. The estimates confirm that as either form of uncertainty increases, firms decrease their levels of short-term leverage. This effect is stronger for macroeconomic uncertainty than for idiosyncratic uncertainty. " Copyright (c) 2008 Western Economic Association International.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 47 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 216-225

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:47:y:2009:i:2:p:216-225
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  1. Alan J. Auerbach, 1983. "Real Determinants of Corporate Leverage," NBER Working Papers 1151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Simon Gilchrist & Charles Himmelberg, 1999. "Investment: Fundamentals and Finance," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 223-274 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  4. Christopher F Baum & Mustafa Caglayan & Neslihan Ozkan, 2003. "The Impact of Macroeconomic Uncertainty on Cash Holdings for Non-Financial Firms," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 69, Society for Computational Economics.
  5. Love, Inessa, 2001. "Financial development and financing constraints - international evidence from the structural investment model," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2694, The World Bank.
  6. Steven Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1987. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 2387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Joseph P. Byrne & E. Philip Davis, 2005. "Investment and Uncertainty in the G7," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 141(1), pages 1-32, April.
  8. R. Glenn Hubbard & Anil K Kashyap & Toni M. Whited, 1993. "Internal Finance and Firm Investment," NBER Working Papers 4392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. n/a, 1999. "An Artificial Neural Network System of Leading Indicators," NIESR Discussion Papers 198, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  10. Vivek Ghosal & Prakash Loungani, 2000. "The Differential Impact of Uncertainty on Investment in Small and Large Businesses," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 338-343, May.
  11. Heitor Almeida & Murillo Campello & Michael S. Weisbach, 2004. "The Cash Flow Sensitivity of Cash," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1777-1804, 08.
  12. Nicholas Bloom & Steve Bond & John Van Reenen, 2001. "The dynamics of investment under uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W01/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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