Optimal Debt and Profitability in the Trade‐Off Theory

Optimal Debt and Profitability in the Trade‐Off Theory I develop a dynamic model of leverage with tax deductible interest and an endogenous cost of default. The interest rate includes a premium to compensate lenders for expected losses in default. A borrowing constraint is generated by lenders' unwillingness to lend an amount that would trigger immediate default. When the borrowing constraint is not binding, the trade‐off theory of debt holds: optimal debt equates the marginal interest tax shield and the marginal expected cost of default. Contrary to conventional interpretation, but consistent with empirical findings, increases in current or future profitability reduce the optimal leverage ratio when the trade‐off theory holds. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Finance Wiley

Optimal Debt and Profitability in the Trade‐Off Theory

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2018 the American Finance Association
ISSN
0022-1082
eISSN
1540-6261
D.O.I.
10.1111/jofi.12590
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

I develop a dynamic model of leverage with tax deductible interest and an endogenous cost of default. The interest rate includes a premium to compensate lenders for expected losses in default. A borrowing constraint is generated by lenders' unwillingness to lend an amount that would trigger immediate default. When the borrowing constraint is not binding, the trade‐off theory of debt holds: optimal debt equates the marginal interest tax shield and the marginal expected cost of default. Contrary to conventional interpretation, but consistent with empirical findings, increases in current or future profitability reduce the optimal leverage ratio when the trade‐off theory holds.

Journal

The Journal of FinanceWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2018

References

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