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What Determines the Structure of Corporate Debt Issues?

Author

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  • Julio, Brandon

    (Londong Business School)

  • Kim, Woojin

    (Korea U)

  • Weisbach, Michael S.

    (Ohio State U)

Abstract

Publicly-traded debt securities differ on a number of dimensions, including quality, maturity, seniority, security, and convertibility. Finance research has provided a number of theories as to why firms should issue debt with different features; yet, there is very little empirical work testing these theories. We consider a sample of 14,867 debt issues in the U.S. between 1971 and 2004. Our goal is to test the implications of these theories, and, more generally, to establish a set of stylized facts regarding the circumstances under which firms issue different types of debt. Our results suggest that there are three main types of factors that affect the structure of debt issues: First, firm-specific factors such as leverage, growth opportunities and cash holdings are related with the convertibility, maturity and security structure of issued bonds. Second, economy-wide factors, in particular the state of the macroeconomy, affect the quality distribution of securities offered; in particular, during recessions, firms issue fewer poor quality bonds than in good times but similar numbers of high-quality bonds. Finally, controlling for firm characteristics and economy-wide factors, project specific factors appear to influence the types of securities that are issued. Consistent with commonly stated 'maturity-matching' arguments, long-term, nonconvertible bonds are more likely to be issued by firms investing in fixed assets, while convertible and short-term bonds are more likely to finance investment in R&D.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio, Brandon & Kim, Woojin & Weisbach, Michael S., 2008. "What Determines the Structure of Corporate Debt Issues?," Working Paper Series 2008-11, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:ohidic:2008-11
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ulf Axelson & Per Strömberg & Michael S. Weisbach, 2009. "Why Are Buyouts Levered? The Financial Structure of Private Equity Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1549-1582, August.
    2. Valentina Bruno & Hyun Song Shin, 2014. "Globalization of corporate risk taking," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 45(7), pages 800-820, September.
    3. Lau, Sie Ting & Yu, Jing, 2010. "Does proximity matter in international bond underwriting?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 2027-2041, September.
    4. Hamadi FakhFakh & Rim Zouari-Hadiji, 2011. "Dettes financières et investissement en R&D:une étude comparative," Working Papers CREGO 1110302, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.
    5. Kim, Woojin & Weisbach, Michael S., 2008. "Motivations for public equity offers: An international perspective," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 281-307, February.
    6. Azmat, Saad & Skully, Michael & Brown, Kym, 2014. "Issuer's choice of Islamic bond type," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 122-135.
    7. Lewis, Craig M. & Tan, Yongxian, 2016. "Debt-equity choices, R&D investment and market timing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(3), pages 599-610.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • 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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