Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-30-2017

Publication Title

Financial Management

Keywords

inside debt, capital structure, shareholders’ desired leverage, speed of adjustment (SOA), managerial conservatism, risk-shifting

Disciplines

Business | Corporate Finance | Finance and Financial Management

Abstract

Debt-type compensation (inside debt) exacerbates the divergence in risk preferences between the chief executive officer (CEO) and shareholders and, in turn, affects capital structure decisions. An excessively risk-averse CEO tends to use less debt than the shareholders desire, reduce debt
quickly when the firm is overlevered, but is reluctant to increase debt when the firm is underlevered. We find that higher CEO’s inside debt ratio (i.e., inside debt as a percentage of total incentive compensation) is associated with lower firm leverage and faster (slower) leverage adjustments toward the shareholders’ desired level for overlevered (underlevered) firms. The CEO’s inside debt ratio most conducive to capital structure rebalancing is around 10% of the firm’s market debt ratio.

DOI

10.1111/fima.12169

Volume

46

Issue

3

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