Common Problems in Capital Structure Research: The Financial-Debt-To-Asset Ratio, and Issuing Activity vs. Leverage Changes
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
October 20, 2010
AFA 2008 New Orleans Meetings Paper
This paper points out two common problems in capital structure research. First, although it is not clear whether they should be considered debt, non-financial liabilities should never be considered as equity. Yet, the common financial-debt-to-asset ratio (FD/AT) measure of leverage commits exactly this mistake. Thus, research that explains increases in FD/AT explains, at least in parts, decreases in non-financial liabilities. Future research should avoid FD/AT altogether. Second, equity issuing activity should not be viewed as equivalent to capital structure changes. Empirically, the correlation between the two is weak. The capital structure and capital issuing literature are distinct.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: capital structure
JEL Classification: G32
Date posted: September 20, 2006 ; Last revised: October 22, 2010
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