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Nonlinear Modeling of Target Leverage with Latent Determinant Variables – New Evidence on the Trade-off Theory

  • Ralf Sabiwalsky
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    The trade-off theory on capital structure is tested by modelling the capital structure target as the solution to a maximization problem. This solution maps asset volatility and loss given default to optimal leverage. By applying nonlinear structural equation modelling, these unobservable variables are estimated based on observable indicator variables, and simultaneously, the speed of adjustment towards this leverage target is estimated. Linear specifications of the leverage target suffer from overlap between the predictions of various theories on capital structure about the sign and significance of determinants. In contrast, the framework applied here allows for a direct test: results confirm the trade-off theory for small and medium-sized firms, but not for large firms.

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    File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2008-062.pdf
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    Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2008-062.

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    Length: 43 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2008-062
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    1. Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R., 2001. "The theory and practice of corporate finance: evidence from the field," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2-3), pages 187-243, May.
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    7. John R. Graham, 2000. "How Big Are the Tax Benefits of Debt?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(5), pages 1901-1941, October.
    8. Christian Habermann & Fabian Kindermann, 2007. "Multidimensional Spline Interpolation: Theory and Applications," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 153-169, September.
    9. Bassam Fattouh & Laurence Harris & Pasquale Scaramozzino, 2008. "Non-linearity in the determinants of capital structure: evidence from UK firms," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 417-438, June.
    10. Antoniou, Antonios & Guney, Yilmaz & Paudyal, Krishna, 2008. "The Determinants of Capital Structure: Capital Market-Oriented versus Bank-Oriented Institutions," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 59-92, March.
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