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Horses and Rabbits? Optimal Dynamic Capital Structure from Shareholder and Manager Perspectives

  • Nengjiu Ju
  • Robert Parrino
  • Allen M. Poteshman
  • Michael S. Weisbach

This paper examines optimal capital structure choice using a dynamic capital structure model that is calibrated to reflect actual firm characteristics. The model uses contingent-claim methods to value interest tax shields, allows for reorganization in bankruptcy, and maintains a long-run target debt/equity ratio by refinancing maturing debt. Using this model we calculate optimal capital structures in a realistic representation of the traditional tradeoff' model. In contrast to previous research, the resulting optimal capital structures do not imply that firms tend to use too little leverage in practice. We also estimate the costs borne by a firm whose capital structure deviates from its optimal, target' debt/equity ratio. The costs of moderate deviations are relatively small, suggesting that a policy of adjusting leverage only when it deviates substantially from a target debt/equity ratio is likely to be reasonable for most firms.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9327.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9327.

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Date of creation: Nov 2002
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Publication status: published as Ju, Nengjiu, Robert Parrino, and Allen Poteshman and Michael Steen Weisbach. “Horses and Rabbits? Optimal Dynamic Capital Structure from Shareholders’ and Managers’ Perspectives." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 40 (June 2005): 259-281.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9327
Note: CF
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  1. Myers, Stewart C, 1984. " The Capital Structure Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 575-92, July.
  2. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Hayne E. Leland and Klaus Bjerre Toft., 1995. "Optimal Capital Structure, Endogenous Bankruptcy, and the Term Structure of Credit Spreads," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-259, University of California at Berkeley.
  5. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  6. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  7. Hayne E. Leland, 1998. "Agency Costs, Risk Management, and Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1213-1243, 08.
  8. Graham, John R., 1996. "Proxies for the corporate marginal tax rate," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 187-221, October.
  9. Myers, Stewart C., 1984. "Capital structure puzzle," Working papers 1548-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  10. Merton, Robert C, 1974. "On the Pricing of Corporate Debt: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 449-70, May.
  11. Alex Kane & Alan J. Marcus & Robert L. McDonald, 1984. "Debt Policy and the Rate of Return Premium to Leverage," NBER Working Papers 1439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Stewart C. Myers, 1984. "Capital Structure Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 1393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Hayne E. Leland., 1994. "Corporate Debt Value, Bond Covenants, and Optimal Capital Structure," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-233, University of California at Berkeley.
  14. Miller, Merton H, 1977. "Debt and Taxes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 261-75, May.
  15. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  16. Black, Fischer & Cox, John C, 1976. "Valuing Corporate Securities: Some Effects of Bond Indenture Provisions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 351-67, May.
  17. Kane, Alex & Marcus, Alan J & McDonald, Robert L, 1984. " How Big Is the Tax Advantage to Debt?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 841-53, July.
  18. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  19. Goldstein, Robert & Ju, Nengjiu & Leland, Hayne, 2001. "An EBIT-Based Model of Dynamic Capital Structure," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(4), pages 483-512, October.
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