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The Dynamics of Capital Structure

Author

Listed:
  • Banerjee, Saugata

    (College of Administrative Sciences and Economics)

  • Heshmati, Almas

    () (Dept. of Economic Statistics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Wihlborg, Clas

    () (School of Economics and Commercial Law)

Abstract

The common approach in empirical capital structure research has been to study the determinants of optimal leverage by studying the association between observed leverage and a set of explanatory variables. This approach has two major shortcomings. First, the observed leverage need not necessarily be the optimal leverage. Second, the empirical analyses, being effectively non-dynamic, are unable to shed any light on the nature of dynamic capital structure adjustment by firms. In this paper, we use a dynamic adjustment model, and panel data methodology on a sample of UK and US firms to specifically establish the determinants of a time-varying optimal capital structure. In addition, the model allows for the possibility that at any point in time firms' observed leverage may not be optimal, and that firms differ in their speed of adjustment towards the optimal capital structure, which itself may be changing over time for the same firm. We also attempt to identify factors determining the speed of adjustment. We find that firms typically have capital structures that are not at the target, and that they adjust very slowly towards the target.

Suggested Citation

  • Banerjee, Saugata & Heshmati, Almas & Wihlborg, Clas, 1999. "The Dynamics of Capital Structure," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 333, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 21 Aug 2000.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0333
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    2. Kumbhakar, Subal C & Heshmati, Almas & Hjalmarsson, Lennart, 1999. " Parametric Approaches to Productivity Measurement: A Comparison among Alternative Models," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(3), pages 405-424, September.
    3. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
    4. Titman, Sheridan & Wessels, Roberto, 1988. " The Determinants of Capital Structure Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(1), pages 1-19, March.
    5. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
    6. Michael S. Long & Ileen B. Malitz, 1985. "Investment Patterns and Financial Leverage," NBER Chapters,in: Corporate Capital Structures in the United States, pages 325-352 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Fischer, Edwin O & Heinkel, Robert & Zechner, Josef, 1989. " Dynamic Capital Structure Choice: Theory and Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(1), pages 19-40, March.
    8. Myers, Stewart C., 1984. "Capital structure puzzle," Working papers 1548-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    9. Subal Kumbhakar & Almas Heshmati & Lennart Hjalmarsson, 2002. "How Fast Do Banks Adjust? A Dynamic Model of Labor-Use with an Application to Swedish Banks," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, pages 79-102.
    10. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1995. " What Do We Know about Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1421-1460, December.
    11. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-329, May.
    12. Myers, Stewart C, 1984. " The Capital Structure Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 575-592, July.
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    14. Jalilvand, Abolhassan & Harris, Robert S, 1984. " Corporate Behavior in Adjusting to Capital Structure and Dividend Targets: An Econometric Study," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(1), pages 127-145, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Capital structure; dynamic adjustment; optimal leverage; firms; panel data;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • 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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