An EBIT-Based Model of Dynamic Capital Structure

Dice Center For Research In Financial Economics Working Paper No. 98-13

40 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 1998  

Robert S. Goldstein

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Nengjiu Ju

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF)

Hayne E. Leland

University of California, Berkeley - Walter A. Haas School of Business

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Abstract

Much of the literature on optimal capital structure has taken the unlevered firm value to be the underlying state variable, even though the unlevered firm ceases to exist after a capital structure change occurs. This approach has been a source of confusion, leading to conflicting views on the relationship between the levered and unlevered firm value at the moment of a capital structure change. Moreover, these frameworks imply that the role of government is to create a 'tax benefit' cash-flow into a firm, when in practice much of the cash that flows out of a firm is typically paid to government via taxes.

To circumvent these difficulties, we take the claim to future EBIT as the underlying state variable, and assume that it is invariant to changes in capital structure. In such a framework, all claims to EBIT (equity, debt, government) are treated in a consistent fashion. In particular, the government claim is correctly modeled as an outflow of EBIT via taxes, rather than as an inflow of 'tax benefits'. This distinction dramatically affects the payout ratio, which in turn affects both the probability of bankruptcy and predicted yield spreads. In addition, the invariance feature of the state variable makes this framework ideal for investigating optimal dynamic capital structure strategy. When firms are permitted to increase their level of outstanding debt in the future, predicted leverage ratios are consistent with those observed.

JEL Classification: G31, G32

Suggested Citation

Goldstein, Robert S. and Ju, Nengjiu and Leland, Hayne E., An EBIT-Based Model of Dynamic Capital Structure. Dice Center For Research In Financial Economics Working Paper No. 98-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=136716 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.136716

Robert S. Goldstein (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-624-8581 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Nengjiu Ju

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF) ( email )

Shanghai Jiao Tong University
211 West Huaihai Road
Shanghai, 200030
China

Hayne E. Leland

University of California, Berkeley - Walter A. Haas School of Business ( email )

Haas School of Business
545 Student Services Building
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
(510) 642-8694 (Phone)
(510) 643-1420 (Fax)

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