Article | Journal of Finance | February 2002

Market Timing and Capital Structure

by Malcolm Baker and Jeffrey Wurgler


It is well known that firms tend to raise equity when their market values are high relative to book and past market values. We document that the resulting effects on capital structure are very persistent. As a consequence, current capital structure is strongly related to past market valuations. The results are difficult to explain within traditional theories of capital structure and suggest that capital structure is the cumulative outcome of past attempts to time the equity market.

Keywords: Valuation; Outcome or Result; Equity; Capital Structure; Theory; Market Timing; Financial Markets;


Baker, Malcolm, and Jeffrey Wurgler. "Market Timing and Capital Structure." Journal of Finance 57, no. 1 (February 2002): 1–32. (Winner of Brattle Prize. First Prize Paper For outstanding papers on corporate finance published in the Journal of Finance presented by Brattle Group, Inc. Reprinted in Recent Developments in Corporate Finance, edited by Jay Ritter. Edward Elgar Publishing: UK, 2005.)