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The cost and timing of financial distress

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  • Elkamhi, Redouane
  • Ericsson, Jan
  • Parsons, Christopher A.

Abstract

Assessments of the trade-off theory have typically compared the present value of tax benefits to the present value of bankruptcy costs. We verify that this comparison overwhelmingly favors tax benefits, suggesting that firms are under-leveraged. However, when we allow firms to experience even modest (e.g., 1–2% annualized) financial distress costs prior to bankruptcy, the cumulative present value of such costs can easily offset the tax benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Elkamhi, Redouane & Ericsson, Jan & Parsons, Christopher A., 2012. "The cost and timing of financial distress," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 62-81.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:105:y:2012:i:1:p:62-81
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2012.02.005
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    2. Reindl, Johann & Stoughton, Neal & Zechner, Josef, 2013. "Market implied costs of bankruptcy," CFS Working Paper Series 2013/27, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    3. Adelino, Manuel & Dinc, I. Serdar, 2014. "Corporate distress and lobbying: Evidence from the Stimulus Act," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 256-272.
    4. Lotfaliei, Babak, 2018. "Zero leverage and the value in waiting to have debt," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 335-349.
    5. John R. Graham & Hyunseob Kim & Si Li & Jiaping Qiu, 2019. "Employee Costs of Corporate Bankruptcy," NBER Working Papers 25922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Anshu Agrawal, 2020. "Modified Total Interpretive Structural Model of Corporate Financial Flexibility," Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management, Springer;Global Institute of Flexible Systems Management, vol. 21(4), pages 369-388, December.
    7. Guanping Zhou, 2019. "Financial distress prevention in China: Does gender of board of directors matter?," Journal of Applied Finance & Banking, SCIENPRESS Ltd, vol. 9(6), pages 1-8.
    8. Lotfaliei, Babak, 2018. "The variance risk premium and capital structure," ESRB Working Paper Series 70, European Systemic Risk Board.
    9. Mousavi, Mohammad M. & Ouenniche, Jamal & Xu, Bing, 2015. "Performance evaluation of bankruptcy prediction models: An orientation-free super-efficiency DEA-based framework," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 64-75.
    10. Panos Kouvelis & Wenhui Zhao, 2016. "Supply Chain Contract Design Under Financial Constraints and Bankruptcy Costs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(8), pages 2341-2357, August.
    11. Álvaro Chamizo & Alexandre Fonollosa & Alfonso Novales, 2019. "Forward-looking asset correlations in the estimation of economic capital," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 2019-25, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico.
    12. Chamizo, Álvaro & Fonollosa, Alexandre & Novales, Alfonso, 2019. "Forward-looking asset correlations in the estimation of economic capital," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 264-288.
    13. Benjamin Iverson, 2018. "Get in Line: Chapter 11 Restructuring in Crowded Bankruptcy Courts," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(11), pages 5370-5394, November.
    14. Mohammad Mahdi Mousavi & Jamal Ouenniche, 2018. "Multi-criteria ranking of corporate distress prediction models: empirical evaluation and methodological contributions," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 271(2), pages 853-886, December.
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    16. Kaviani, Mahsa S. & Kryzanowski, Lawrence & Maleki, Hosein & Savor, Pavel, 2020. "Policy uncertainty and corporate credit spreads," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(3), pages 838-865.

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