How Important Is Financial Risk?

88 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2013

See all articles by Söhnke M. Bartram

Söhnke M. Bartram

Warwick Business School - Department of Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Gregory W. Brown

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Finance Area

William Waller

Tulane University - Finance & Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 22, 2013

Abstract

We explore the determinants of equity price risk of non-financial corporations. Operating and asset characteristics are by far the most important determinants of risk. For the median firm, financial risk accounts for only 15% of observed stock price volatility. Furthermore, financial risk has declined over the last three decades indicating that any upward trend in equity volatility was driven entirely by economic risk factors. This explains why financial distress (as opposed to economic distress) was surprisingly uncommon in the nonfinancial sector during the recent crisis even as measures of equity volatility reached unprecedented highs.

Keywords: capital structure, financial risk, risk management, corporate finance

JEL Classification: G3, F4, F3

Suggested Citation

Bartram, Söhnke M. and Brown, Gregory W. and Waller, William, How Important Is Financial Risk? (April 22, 2013). Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis (JFQA), Forthcoming; WBS Finance Group Research Paper No. 207. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2307939

Söhnke M. Bartram

Warwick Business School - Department of Finance ( email )

Coventry, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
+44 (24) 7657 4168 (Phone)
+1 425 952 1070 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://go.warwick.ac.uk/sbartram/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Gregory W. Brown (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Finance Area ( email )

Kenan-Flagler Business School
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

William Waller

Tulane University - Finance & Economics ( email )

A.B. Freeman School of Business
7 McAlister Drive
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

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