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Capital Structure Puzzle

Stewart C. Myers

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

July 1984

NBER Working Paper No. w1393

This paper contrasts the "static tradeoff" and "pecking order" theories of capital structure choice by corporations. In the static tradeoff theory, optimal capital structure is reached when the tax advantage to borrowing is balanced, at the margin, by costs of financial distress. In the pecking order theory, firms preferinternal to external funds, and debt to equity if external funds are needed. Thus the debt ratio reflects the cumulative requirement for external financing. Pecking order behavior follows from simple asymmetric information models. The paper closes with a review of empirical evidence relevant to the two theories.

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Date posted: April 27, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Myers, Stewart C., Capital Structure Puzzle (July 1984). NBER Working Paper No. w1393. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=227147

Contact Information

Stewart C. Myers (Contact Author)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )
Sloan School of Management
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6696 (Phone)
617-258-6855 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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References:  41
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