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Debt Dynamics

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  • CHRISTOPHER A. HENNESSY
  • TONI M. WHITED

Abstract

We develop a dynamic trade-off model with endogenous choice of leverage, distributions, and real investment in the presence of a graduated corporate income tax, individual taxes on interest and corporate distributions, financial distress costs, and equity flotation costs. We explain several empirical findings inconsistent with the static trade-off theory. We show there is no target leverage ratio, firms can be savers or heavily levered, leverage is path dependent, leverage is decreasing in lagged liquidity, and leverage varies negatively with an external finance weighted average "Q". Using estimates of structural parameters, we find that simulated model moments match data moments. Copyright 2005 by The American Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher A. Hennessy & Toni M. Whited, 2005. "Debt Dynamics," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1129-1165, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:60:y:2005:i:3:p:1129-1165
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    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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