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Credit Risk and Dynamic Capital Structure Choice

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  • Dangl, Thomas
  • Zechner, Josef

Abstract

This Paper analyses the effect of dynamic capital structure adjustments on credit risk. Firms may optimally adjust their leverage in response to stochastic changes in firm value. It is shown that capital structure dynamics lower optimal initial leverage ratios but increase both fair credit spreads and expected default probabilities for moderate levels of transactions costs. Numerical examples demonstrate that expected default frequencies do not decrease monotonically in the traditional distance to default measure. The magnitude of the effect of capital structure dynamics depends on firm characteristics such as asset volatility, the growth rate, the effective corporate tax rate, debt call features and transactions costs. We find that the underestimation of credit spreads and expected default frequencies is exacerbated when the risk-adjusted drift of the underlying stochastic process is inferred from a model which ignores the opportunity to recapitalize. Finally it is shown that the Value-at-Risk of corporate bonds increases with the distance to default (DD) both for very low and for very high values of DD whereas it decreases for intermediate values.

Suggested Citation

  • Dangl, Thomas & Zechner, Josef, 2003. "Credit Risk and Dynamic Capital Structure Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 4132, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4132
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. : Andrea Gamba & : Alexander J. Triantis, 2013. "How Effectively Can Debt Covenants Alleviate Financial Agency Problems?," Working Papers wpn13-08, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
    2. Delis, Manthos D. & Hasan, Iftekhar & Tsionas, Efthymios G., 2014. "The risk of financial intermediaries," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-12.
    3. Loffler, Gunter, 2004. "An anatomy of rating through the cycle," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 695-720, March.
    4. Lin, Tyrone T., 2009. "The determinant of production entry and exit model on financing behavior," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 196(1), pages 258-265, July.
    5. : Andrea Gamba & Carmen Aranda Leon & Alessio Saretto, 2011. "Dynamic Capacity Choice, Dynamic Capital Structure and Credit Risk," Working Papers wpn11-03, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
    6. Delis, Manthos D & Tsionas, Efthymios, 2011. "A new method to estimate the risk of financial intermediaries," MPRA Paper 34735, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Sabiwalsky, Ralf, 2010. "Nonlinear modelling of target leverage with latent determinant variables -- new evidence on the trade-off theory," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 137-150, October.
    8. Pawlina, Grzegorz, 2010. "Underinvestment, capital structure and strategic debt restructuring," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 679-702, December.
    9. Andrea Gamba & Alexander J. Triantis, 2008. "Valuing Corporate Financing Strategies," Working Papers wpn08-02, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
    10. Andrea Gamba & Gordon A. Sick & Carmen Aranda León, 2008. "Investment under Uncertainty, Debt and Taxes," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 37(1), pages 31-58, February.
    11. Xu, Ruxing & Li, Shenghong, 2010. "Belief updating, debt pricing and financial decisions under asymmetric information," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 123-137, June.
    12. Maclachlan, Iain C, 2007. "An empirical study of corporate bond pricing with unobserved capital structure dynamics," MPRA Paper 28416, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Löffler, Gunter & Maurer, Alina, 2011. "Incorporating the dynamics of leverage into default prediction," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 3351-3361.
    14. Dangl, Thomas & Zechner, Josef, 2016. "Debt maturity and the dynamics of leverage," CFS Working Paper Series 547, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    capital structure; credit risk;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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