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Growth options, macroeconomic conditions, and the cross section of credit risk

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  • Arnold, Marc
  • Wagner, Alexander F.
  • Westermann, Ramona

Abstract

This paper develops a structural equilibrium model with intertemporal macroeconomic risk, incorporating the fact that firms are heterogeneous in their asset composition. Compared with firms that are mainly composed of invested assets, firms with growth options have higher costs of debt because they are more volatile and have a greater tendency to default during recession when marginal utility is high and recovery rates are low. Our model matches empirical facts regarding credit spreads, default probabilities, leverage ratios, equity premiums, and investment clustering. Importantly, it also makes predictions about the cross section of all these features.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnold, Marc & Wagner, Alexander F. & Westermann, Ramona, 2013. "Growth options, macroeconomic conditions, and the cross section of credit risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 350-385.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:107:y:2013:i:2:p:350-385
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2012.08.017
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    2. Erwan Morellec & Boris Nikolov & Norman Schürhoff, 2018. "Agency Conflicts around the World," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 31(11), pages 4232-4287.
    3. Arnold, Marc & Hackbarth, Dirk & Puhan, Tatjana-Xenia, 2013. "Financing Asset Sales and Business Cycles," Working Papers on Finance 1320, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
    4. Xia, Xin & Gan, Liu, 2020. "SME financing with new credit guarantee contracts over the business cycle," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 515-538.
    5. Pindado, Julio & Requejo, Ignacio & Rivera, Juan C., 2017. "Economic forecast and corporate leverage choices: The role of the institutional environment," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 121-144.
    6. Ramona Westermann, 2018. "Measuring Agency Costs over the Business Cycle," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(12), pages 5748-5768, December.
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    8. Franke, Benedikt & Müller, Sebastian & Müller, Sonja, 2017. "The q-factors and expected bond returns," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 19-35.
    9. Jeon, Haejun & Nishihara, Michi, 2015. "The effects of business cycle and debt maturity on a firm's investment and default decisions," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 326-351.
    10. Gan, Liu & Lv, Wujun & Chen, Yifei, 2021. "Capital structure adjustment speed over the business cycle," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 39(C).
    11. Andrea Gamba & Alessio Saretto, 2020. "Growth Options and Credit Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(9), pages 4269-4291, September.
    12. Jeon, Haejun & Nishihara, Michi, 2014. "Macroeconomic conditions and a firm’s investment decisions," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 398-409.
    13. Luo, Pengfei & Yang, Zhaojun, 2017. "Real options and contingent convertibles with regime switching," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 122-135.
    14. Arnold, Marc & Westermann, Ramona, 2015. "The Value of Creditor Governance: Debt Renegotiations In and Outside Distress," Working Papers on Finance 1514, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance, revised Jul 2016.
    15. Issouf Soumaré & Ernest Tafolong, 2017. "Risk-based capital for credit insurers with business cycles and dynamic leverage," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 597-612, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Capital structure; Credit spread puzzle; Growth options; Macroeconomic risk; Value premium;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • 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
    • 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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