The Role of Debt and Equity Finance over the Business Cycle
Wouter J. den Haan
Net equity issuance occurs frequently and is quantitatively important for both small and large publicly traded firms. Moreover, we show that net equity and net debt issuance are positively correlated and both are procyclical for small firms. For large firms net equity issuance is neither cyclical nor correlated with debt issuance. We extend the existing business cycle models with agency costs in two ways. First, we relax the standard assumptions of linearity and full depreciation. Consequently, variables such as the default probability and leverage will depend on firm size. It also means that an increase in net worth reduces the default probability (instead of leaving it unchanged). Second, we relax the standard assumption that firms cannot attract outside equity. In our model, aggregate shocks are propagated as in the model without equity issuance, but in contrast to the standard model they are also magnified and the default rate is countercyclical. Moreover, our model is consistent with the observed cyclical behavior of firms' financing sources for both small and large firms.
agency costs, frictions
The authors show that debt and equity issuance are procyclical for most listed U.S. firms. The procyclicality of equity issuance decreases monotonically with firm size. At the aggregate level, however, the authors' results are not conclusive: issuance is countercyclical for very large firms that, although few in number, have a large effect on the aggregate because of their enormous size. If firms use the standard one-period contract, then the shadow price of external funds is procyclical and the cyclicality decreases with firm size. This property generates equity to be procyclical and--as in the data--the procyclicality decreases with firm size. Other factors that cause equity to be procyclical in the model are a countercyclical price of risk and a countercyclical cost of equity issuance. The model (i) generates a countercyclical default rate, (ii) magnifies shocks, and (iii) generates a stronger cyclical response for small firms, whereas the model without equity does the exact opposite.
Financial stability; Business fluctuations and cycles
In order to set up a list of libraries that you have access to,
you must first login
or sign up.
Then set up a personal list of libraries from your profile page by
clicking on your user name at the top right of any screen.