optimal capital structure, leverage adjustment speed, partial adjustment model, unified capital structure theory


In this research paper, the dynamic trade-off theory is tested by applying European public and private firms, since as much of the existing research remains in the US public firm context only. The results of our research show that European firms, both private and public, follow the optimal capital structure path consistent with the dynamic trade-off theory. We find that above optimally levered firms adjust their leverage towards the optimal capital structure faster than the below optimally levered ones. In addition, the results show that public and private firms seem to make similar leverage adjustment decisions and that not only the size but also the public/private status of the firms account for the differences.