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Macroeconomic Conditions and the Puzzles of Credit Spreads and Capital Structure

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  • HUI CHEN

Abstract

I build a dynamic capital structure model that demonstrates how business cycle variation in expected growth rates, economic uncertainty, and risk premia influences firms' financing policies. Countercyclical fluctuations in risk prices, default probabilities, and default losses arise endogenously through firms' responses to macroeconomic conditions. These comovements generate large credit risk premia for investment grade firms, which helps address the credit spread puzzle and the under‐leverage puzzle in a unified framework. The model generates interesting dynamics for financing and defaults, including market timing in debt issuance and credit contagion. It also provides a novel procedure to estimate state‐dependent default losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Hui Chen, 2010. "Macroeconomic Conditions and the Puzzles of Credit Spreads and Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(6), pages 2171-2212, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:65:y:2010:i:6:p:2171-2212
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2010.01613.x
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation

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