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Conflicts between Managers and Investors over the Optimal Financial Contract

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  • Richard Fairchild

    (Department of Corporate Finance, University of Bath, U.K.)

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    Abstract

    We develop a principal-agent model of financial contracting in which investors face moral hazard problems relating to managerial effort. The level of debt potentially mitigates these problems in two ways. For high debt levels, the manager owns more of the equity, and also the threat of financial distress increases. In the absence of financial distress costs, we derive a novel irrelevance result; the financial contract does not affect managerial effort or firm value. Therefore, the manager and the investors are indifferent between a high debt and low debt contract. In the presence of financial distress costs, the manager has an incentive to increase his effort level in order to reduce the threat of distress. Now investors unambiguously prefer the (value-maximising) high debt contract. When effort costs and financial distress costs are low, the manager also prefers the high debt contract. When effort costs and financial distress costs are high, the manager prefers the (value-minimising) low debt contract.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by College of Business, and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan in its journal International Journal of Business and Economics.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 3 (December)
    Pages: 197-212

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    Handle: RePEc:ijb:journl:v:2:y:2003:i:3:p:197-212

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    Postal: 100 Wenhwa Road, Seatwen, Taichung
    Web page: http://www.ijbe.org/
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    Related research

    Keywords: financial contracting; moral hazard; equity ownership; financial distress;

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    References

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    1. Jeremy C. Stein, 1996. "Rational Capital Budgeting in an Irrational World," NBER Working Papers 5496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 473-94, July.
    3. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    5. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
    6. Jong, A. de & Veld, C.H., 1998. "An Empirical Analysis of Incremental Capital Structure Decisions Under Managerial Entrenchment," Discussion Paper 1998-83, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    7. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
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