Date: December 2006
Creator: Palkar, Darshana
Description: Past literature attempts to resolve the issue of the motivation behind managers' choice of a given capital structure. Despite several decades of intensive research, there is still no consensus about which theory dominates capital structure decisions. The present study empirically investigates the relative importance of two prominent theories of capital structure- the trade-off and the pecking order theories by exploring the conditions under which each theory can explain the financing choices of firms. These conditions are defined along two dimensions: (i) a firm's degree of information asymmetry, and (ii) its observed leverage relative to target leverage. The results show that, in the short-run, pecking order theory has more explanatory power in explaining the financing choices of firms. The target leverage theory assumes limited importance: Over-leveraged firms, when faced with low adverse information, are more inclined to adapt to the trade-off policies. In the presence of high information asymmetry, however, firms appear to be more concerned about adverse selection costs and make financing decisions that are more consistent with the pecking order theory. An analysis of the market reaction to seasoned equity issuances during announcement periods reveals that firms with high information asymmetry are penalized more than firms with low information ...
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