Corporate Governance and Capital Structure Dynamics: An Empirical Study
41 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2012 Last revised: 17 Aug 2016
Date Written: January 25, 2013
Morellec, Nikolov, and Schürhoff (2012) predict that a self-interested manager prefers a leverage level that is lower than the shareholders’ desired level, and effective corporate governance encourages timely capital structure rebalancing. In a U.S. sample during 1996-2008, we confirm that both a higher level of financial leverage and a faster speed of adjustment of leverage toward the shareholders’ desired level are associated with a better corporate governance quality as defined by a more independent board featuring CEO-Chairman separation and greater presence of outside directors, coupled with larger institutional shareholding. In contrast, managerial incentive compensation on average discourages use of debt or adjustments toward the shareholders’ desired level, consistent with its entrenchment effect. The effect of corporate governance on leverage adjustments is most pronounced when the initial leverage is between the manager’s desired level and the shareholders’ desired level where the interests of managers and shareholders conflict.
Keywords: Capital structure, corporate governance, adjustment costs, partial adjustment
JEL Classification: G30, G32, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation