Does Asymmetric Information Drive Capital Structure Decisions?
Using a novel information asymmetry index based on measures of adverse selection developed by the market microstructure literature, we test whether information asymmetry is an important determinant of capital structure decisions, as suggested by the pecking order theory. Our index relies exclusively on measures of the market's assessment of adverse selection risk rather than on ex ante firm characteristics. We find that information asymmetry does affect the capital structure decisions of U.S. firms over the sample period 1973--2002. Our findings are robust to controlling for conventional leverage factors (size, tangibility, Q ratio, profitability), the sources of firms' financing needs, and such firm attributes as stock return volatility, stock turnover, and intensity of insider trading. For example, we estimate that on average, for every dollar of financing deficit to cover, firms in the highest adverse selection decile issue 30 cents of debt more than firms in the lowest decile. Overall, this evidence explains why the pecking order theory is only partially successful in explaining all of firms' capital structure decisions. It also suggests that the theory finds support when its basic assumptions hold in the data, as should reasonably be expected of any theory. The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Oxford University Press.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 22 (2009)
Issue (Month): 8 (August)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Oxford University Press, Journals Department, 2001 Evans Road, Cary, NC 27513 USA.|
Web page: http://www.rfs.oupjournals.org/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: http://www4.oup.co.uk/revfin/subinfo/|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:8:p:3211-3243. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.