The Persistent and the Transitory in Corporate Leverage Ratios

Mardi | 2017-06-13
16h00-17h20 en salle des thèses


We investigate the dynamics of observed and target leverage ratios and deviations from the targets. The cross-sectional persistence in observed leverage ratios is driven by highly persistent targets, whereas the time series variation is driven by transitory deviations from targets. Deviations are less persistent for firms that are over-levered and firms that are smaller, younger, focused, or have lower credit ratings. In recessions, excess leverage is less persistent for larger firms and is more persistent for smaller firms. Thus, consistent with dynamic trade-off theories, persistence is higher when the costs of deviating from targets are likely to be lower and when the costs of adjustment are likely to be higher.