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The Dynamics of Capital Structure: Evidence from Swedish Micro and Small Firms


  • Heshmati, Almas

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


Capital structure studies have generally been aimed at studying the determinants of optimal leverage. Empirically, the focus is, however, on studying the association between observed leverage and a set of explanatory variables. This approach has a number of shortcomings. First, the observed leverage deviates from the optimal leverage. Second, the empirical analyses are static. Third, adjustments are non-constant. In this paper, we formulate a dynamic adjustment model. We specify and estimate the unobservable optimal capital structure using observable determinants. The optimal level varies, allowing for deviations of observed leverage from optimal leverage. This model is specified such that the speed of adjustment towards the optimal level is firm- and time-specific. Identification of determinants and estimation of the level of optimal capital structure and speed of adjustment allow for flexible determination and adjustment of the effective level of capital structure. Empirical analysis is based on a large sample of Swedish micro and small firms. We find that the observed capital structure exceeds the target, and that adjustment towards the target level is very slow.

Suggested Citation

  • Heshmati, Almas, 2001. "The Dynamics of Capital Structure: Evidence from Swedish Micro and Small Firms," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 0440, Stockholm School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0440

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Faris Nasif Al-Shubiri, 2011. "Capital Structure and Market Power: Evidence from Jordanian Banks," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 9(3), pages 289-310.
    2. Cristina Aybar-Arias & Alejandro Casino-Martínez & José López-Gracia, 2012. "On the adjustment speed of SMEs to their optimal capital structure," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 977-996, November.
    3. Haouas, Ilham & Yagoubi, Mahmoud & Heshmati, Almas, 2002. "Labour-Use Efficiency in Tunisian Manufacturing Industries: A Flexible Adjustment Model," WIDER Working Paper Series 103, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Ali Saggay & Almas Heshmati & Mohamed Dhif, 2007. "Effects of trade liberalization on domestic prices: Some evidence from Tunisian manufacturing," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 54(1), pages 148-175, March.
    5. Matias, Fernanda & Serrasqueiro, Zélia, 2017. "Are there reliable determinant factors of capital structure decisions? Empirical study of SMEs in different regions of Portugal," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 19-33.
    6. ShiXue He & Marcel Ausloos, 2017. "Impact of the Global Crisis on SME Internal vs. External Financing in China," Papers 1707.06635,
    7. Degryse, H.A. & de Goeij, P. C. & Kappert, P., 2009. "The Impact of Firm and Industry Characteristics on Small Firms' Capital Structure : Evidence from Dutch Panel Data," Discussion Paper 2009-21, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    8. R.T.A. de Haas & H.M.M. Peeters, 2004. "Firms' dynamic adjustment to target capital structures in transition economies," WO Research Memoranda (discontinued) 761, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    9. Lee, Minkyu & Heshmati, Almas, 2006. "A Dynamic Flexible Partial-Adjustment Model of International Diffusion of the Internet," Ratio Working Papers 99, The Ratio Institute.
    10. Hyesung Kim & Almas Heshmati & Dany Aoun, 2006. "Dynamics of Capital Structure: The Case of Korean Listed Manufacturing Companies ," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 275-302, September.
    11. Kim, Nam-Seok & Heshmati, Almas, 2017. "The Relationship between Economic Growth and Democracy: Alternative Representations of Technological Change," GLO Discussion Paper Series 85, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    12. Oino, Isaiah & Ukaegbu, Ben, 2015. "The impact of profitability on capital structure and speed of adjustment: An empirical examination of selected firms in Nigerian Stock Exchange," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 111-121.
    13. Nivorozhkin, Eugene, 2004. "Financing Choices of Firms in EU Accession Countries," Ratio Working Papers 33, The Ratio Institute.
    14. Hyytinen, Ari & Pajarinen, Mika, 2001. "Financial Systems and Venture Capital in Nordic Countries: A comparative Study," Discussion Papers 774, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    15. Nigel Driffield & Vidya Mahambare & Sarmistha Pal, 2004. "Dynamic Adjustment of Corporate Leverage: Is there a lesson to learn from the Recent Asian Crisis?," Finance 0405007, EconWPA.
    16. Wolfgang Drobetz & Gabrielle Wanzenried, 2006. "What determines the speed of adjustment to the target capital structure?," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(13), pages 941-958.
    17. Wolfgang Drobetz & Pascal Pensa & Gabrielle Wanzenried, 2007. "Firm Characteristics, Economic Conditions and Capital Structure Adjustment," Working papers 2007/16, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    18. Wolfgang Drobetz & Gabrielle Wanzenried, 2004. "What Determines the Speed of Adjustment to the Target Capital Structure?," Diskussionsschriften dp0415, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    19. Duc Khuong Nguyen & Adel Boubaker, 2009. "Does financing behavior of Tunisian firms follow the predictions of the market timing theory of capital structure?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(1), pages 169-181.

    More about this item


    Capital structure; dynamic adjustment; optimal leverage; micro and firms;

    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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