Proactive Capital Structure Adjustments: Evidence from Corporate Filings
59 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2018 Last revised: 18 Aug 2020
Date Written: August 14, 2020
We use new hand-collected data from corporate filings to study the drivers of corporate capital structure adjustment. Classifying firms by their adjustment frequencies, we reveal previously unknown patterns in their reasons for financing and financial instruments used. Some are consistent with existing theory, while others are understudied. Many leverage changes are outside of the firm's control (e.g., executive option exercise) or incur negligible adjustment costs (e.g., credit line usage). This implies a lower frequency of proactive leverage adjustments than indicated by prior research using accounting data, suggesting that costs of adjustment are higher, or the benefits lower, than previously thought.
Keywords: capital structure, leverage, adjustment costs
JEL Classification: G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation