The Relative Leverage Premium
The existing empirical evidence does not yet provide a clear understanding of how leverage and expected equity returns are related. While some studies show a positive relationship between financial leverage and returns, others conclude that returns are either insensitive or decrease with leverage, after controlling for size and book-to-market. We re-examine this evidence by explicitly accounting for the dynamic nature of a firm’s optimal leverage policy in the presence of frictions. Specifically, consistent with recent dynamic models of capital structure, we allow firms to temporarily deviate from their optimal capital structure due to adjustment costs. For each firm we estimate target leverage, and compute relative leverage as the difference between observed and target leverage. We find that relative leverage is positively and significantly related to expected equity returns, and has a dominant effect over size and book-to-market. The relative leverage premium shows a remarkable symmetry for over- and under-leveraged firms. Finally, the relative leverage premium is not captured by Fama and French’s three-factor model, and it appears to be consistent with rational asset pricing. We conjecture that risk-averse investors require a higher expected return for over-leveraged stocks than for under-leveraged ones because the former are counter-cyclical, while the latter are cyclical.
|Date of creation:||2011|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: via Rontgen, 1 - 20136 Milano (Italy)|
Web page: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/
|Order Information:|| Web: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/en/papers/index.htm Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Huang, Rongbing & Ritter, Jay R., 2009. "Testing Theories of Capital Structure and Estimating the Speed of Adjustment," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(02), pages 237-271, April.
- Flannery, Mark J. & Hankins, Kristine Watson, 2013. "Estimating dynamic panel models in corporate finance," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 1-19.
- Faulkender, Michael & Flannery, Mark J. & Hankins, Kristine Watson & Smith, Jason M., 2012. "Cash flows and leverage adjustments," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 632-646.
- Flannery, Mark J. & Rangan, Kasturi P., 2006. "Partial adjustment toward target capital structures," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 469-506, March.
- R Blundell & Steven Bond, "undated".
"Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data model,"
W14&104., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
- Blundell, R. & Bond, S., 1995. "Initial Conditions and Moment Restrictions in Dynamic Panel Data Models," Economics Papers 104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Lukas Schmid & Joao Gomes, 2007.
2007 Meeting Papers
1007, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Ilya A. Strebulaev, 2007.
"Do Tests of Capital Structure Theory Mean What They Say?,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1747-1787, 08.
- Ilya A. Strebulaev, 2004. "Do Tests of Capital Structure Theory Mean What They Say?," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 646, Econometric Society.
- Mark T. Leary & Michael R. Roberts, 2005.
"Do Firms Rebalance Their Capital Structures?,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2575-2619, December.
- Michael R. Roberts & Mark T. Leary, 2004. "Do Firms Rebalance Their Capital Structures?," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 52, Econometric Society.
- Lu Zhang, 2005. "The Value Premium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 67-103, 02.
- Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119.
- Gibbons, Michael R & Ross, Stephen A & Shanken, Jay, 1989. "A Test of the Efficiency of a Given Portfolio," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 1121-1152, September.
- 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.
- Korajczyk, Robert A. & Levy, Amnon, 2003. "Capital structure choice: macroeconomic conditions and financial constraints," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 75-109, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:398. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.