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Equity Mispricing and Leverage Adjustment Costs

  • Richard S. Warr (a1), William B. Elliott (a2), Johanna Koëter-Kant (a3) and Özde Öztekin (a4)

We find that equity mispricing impacts the speed at which firms adjust to their target leverage (TL) and does so in predictable ways depending on whether the firm is over- or underlevered. For example, firms that are above their TL and should therefore issue equity (or retire debt) adjust more rapidly toward their target when their equity is overvalued. However, when a firm is undervalued but needs to reduce leverage, the speed of adjustment is much slower. Our findings support the role of equity mispricing as an important factor that alters the cost of making capital structure adjustments.

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Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
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