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Financing Decisions When Managers Are Risk Averse

  • Lewellen, Katharina
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    This paper studies the impact of financing decisions on risk-averse managers. Leverage raises stock volatility, driving a wedge between the cost of debt to shareholders and the cost to undiversified, risk-averse managers. I quantify these "volatility costs" of debt and examine their impact on financing decisions. The paper finds: (1) the volatility costs of debt can be large, particularly if the CEO owns in-the-money options; (2) higher option ownership tends to increase, not decrease, the volatility costs of debt; (3) a stock price increase typically reduces managerial preference for leverage, consistent with prior evidence on security issues. Empirically, I estimate the volatility costs of debt for a large sample of U.S. firms and test whether these costs affect financing decisions. I find evidence that volatility costs affect both the level of and short-term changes in debt. Further, a probit model of security issues suggests that managerial preferences help explain a firm's choice between debt and equity

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/4046
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    Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management in its series Working papers with number 4438-03.

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    Date of creation: 06 Feb 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:mit:sloanp:4046
    Contact details of provider: Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA
    Phone: 617-253-2659
    Web page: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/

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    Order Information: Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA

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