The Effects of Uncertainty on the Leverage of Non-Financial Firms
This paper investigates the link between the optimal level of nonfinancial firms' leverage and macroeconomic uncertainty. We develop a structural model of a firm's value maximization problem that predicts that as macroeconomic uncertainty increases the firm will decrease its optimal level of borrowing. We test this proposition using a panel of non-financial US firms drawn from the COMPUSTAT quarterly database covering the period 1991-2001. The estimates confirm that as macroeconomic uncertainty increases, firms decrease their levels of leverage. Furthermore, we demonstrate that our results are robust with respect to the inclusion of the index of leading indicators.
|Date of creation:||15 Sep 2004|
|Date of revision:||27 Jul 2007|
|Publication status:||published, Economic Inquiry, 47 (2009), 216-225|
|Note:||formerly circulated as "Macroeconomic Uncertainty and Firm Leverage"|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA|
Web page: http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC/
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