IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Columbus' Egg: The Real Determinant of Capital Structure

  • Ivo Welch

This paper shows that managers fail to readjust their capital structure in response to external stock returns. Thus, the typical firm's capital structure is not caused by attempts to time the market, by attempts to minimize taxes or bankruptcy costs, or by any other attempts at firm-value maximization. Instead, capital structure is almost entirely determined by lagged stock returns (which, when applied to ancient equity values, predict current equity value and with it debt equity ratios). Consequently, one should conclude that capital structure is determined primarily by external stock market influences, and not by internal corporate optimizing decisions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8782.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8782.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Welch, Ivo. "Capital Structure and Stock Returns." Journal of Political Economy 112-1 (February 2004): 106-131.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8782
Note: CF
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. 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 1421-60, December.
  2. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
  3. 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.
  4. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
  5. David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2001. "An Economic Approach to the Psychology of Change: Amnesia, Inertia, and Impulsiveness," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm185, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Aug 2009.
  6. Hayne E. Leland, 1998. "Agency Costs, Risk Management, and Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1213-1243, 08.
  7. John R. Graham & Michael L. Lemmon & James S. Schallheim, 1998. "Debt, Leases, Taxes, and the Endogeneity of Corporate Tax Status," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(1), pages 131-162, 02.
  8. Jeffrey A. Wurgler & Malcolm P. Baker, 2001. "Market Timing and Capital Structure," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm181, Yale School of Management.
  9. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  10. Alan Schwartz & Joel Watson, 2000. "Economic and Legal Aspects of Costly Recontracting," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm143, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Jan 2001.
  11. 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.
  12. Shlomo Benartzi & Roni Michaely & Richard Thaler, 1997. "Do Changes in Dividends Signal the Future or the Past?," CRSP working papers 455, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  13. Michael J. Barclay & Clifford W. Smith & Ross L. Watts, 1995. "The Determinants Of Corporate Leverage And Dividend Policies," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 7(4), pages 4-19.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8782. 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 you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.