Do Firms Rebalance Their Capital Structures?

  • Author(s): MARK T. LEARY, MICHAEL R. ROBERTS
  • Published: Nov 10, 2005
  • Pages: 2575-2619
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2005.00811.x

ABSTRACT

We empirically examine whether firms engage in a dynamic rebalancing of their capital structures while allowing for costly adjustment. We begin by showing that the presence of adjustment costs has significant implications for corporate financial policy and the interpretation of previous empirical results. After confirming that financing behavior is consistent with the presence of adjustment costs, we find that firms actively rebalance their leverage to stay within an optimal range. Our evidence suggests that the persistent effect of shocks on leverage observed in previous studies is more likely due to adjustment costs than indifference toward capital structure.

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