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Dividends, Safety and Liquidation when Liabilities are Long-term and Stochastic

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  • Mason, Robin

Abstract

This paper extends the two-period model of Mason and Swanson (1996) to investigate the optimal management of a firm faced with a long-term liability that occurs at a random date. Three issues are analysed: the optimal dividend policy; optimal expenditure on safety to delay the occurrence of any liability; and the optimal liquidation date of the firm. An owner faced with unlimited liability never liquidates and therefore accumulates capital to the golden rule level. For long-term liabilities, dividend payments and safety expenditure are non-decreasing over time. The owner protected by limited liability may liquidate the firm in finite time in order to avoid paying the liability. If this is the case, then it accumulates less capital than the unlimited liability owner, and may decrease dividend payments and safety expenditure over time. The paper shows that a finite liquidation date is more likely to be optimal when the arrival rate of the liability occurrence increases over time.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 9731.

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Date of creation: Aug 1997
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Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:9731

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Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

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References

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  3. Robin Mason & Timothy Swanson, 1996. "Long-term Liability and the Choice of Liquidation*," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 21(2), pages 204-223, April.
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  10. Clark, Colin W & Clarke, Frank H & Munro, Gordon R, 1979. "The Optimal Exploitation of Renewable Resource Stocks: Problems of Irreversible Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 25-47, January.
  11. Ringleb, Al H & Wiggins, Steven N, 1990. "Liability and Large-Scale, Long-term Hazards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 574-95, June.
  12. Peter S. Menell, 1991. "The Limitations of Legal Institutions for Addressing Environmental Risks," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 93-113, Summer.
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  15. Wiggins, Steven N & Ringleb, Al H, 1992. "Adverse Selection and Long-Term Hazards: The Choice between Contract and Mandatory Liability Rules," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 189-215, January.
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Cited by:
  1. van 't Veld, Klaas, 2006. "Hazardous-industry restructuring to avoid liability for accidents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 297-322, September.

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