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Explaining Corporate Capital Structure: Product Markets, Leases, and Asset Similarity

55 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2010 Last revised: 28 Jun 2010

Joshua D. Rauh

Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Amir Sufi

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; NBER

Date Written: June 28, 2010

Abstract

Better measurement of the output produced and capital employed by firms substantially improves the ability to explain capital structure variation in the cross-section. For every firm, we construct the set of other firms producing the same output using the set of product market competitors listed in the firm’s public SEC filings. In addition, we improve measurement of capital structure by explicitly accounting for leased capital. These two steps increase the explanatory power of the average capital structure of other firms producing similar output on a firm’s capital structure by 50%, compared to the use of the average unadjusted debt ratio of other firms in the same 3-digit SIC code. We provide evidence that the large explanatory power of the capital structure of other firms producing similar output is related to the assets used in the production process. Our findings suggest that what a firm produces and the assets used in production are the most important determinants of capital structure in the cross-section.

Keywords: Capital Structure, Leases, Industries, Product Markets, Asset Tangibility, Liquidation Value

JEL Classification: G32

Suggested Citation

Rauh, Joshua D. and Sufi, Amir, Explaining Corporate Capital Structure: Product Markets, Leases, and Asset Similarity (June 28, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1592463 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1592463

Joshua D. Rauh

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Amir Sufi (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

NBER

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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