A Structural Econometric Investigation of the Agency Theory of Financial Structure
AbstractWe estimate a structural model of financing choices in presence of managerial moral hazard, financial distress costs and taxes. In the theoretical model, firms with low cost of managerial effort, and high financial distress costs and non--debt tax shields, find it optimal to issue equity. Correspondingly the likelihood that a given firm issues equity is the probability that its managerial cost of effort is below an upper bound, reflecting its financial distress cost and non debt tax shields, as well as the other deep parameters of the model. Similarly we characterize the likelihood of issues of debt and convertible bonds. Using maximum likelihood analysis, we confront this theoretical model to data on financing choices by French firms in 1996. We find large costs of financial distress, equal on average to 41.2\% of the value of the firm when it is in distress. We also find large agency costs, equal to 40.26\% of the value of the investment project. In contrast, we find that tax shields do not play a significant role in the financing decision.
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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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