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A Soft Budget Constraint Explanation for the Venture Capital Cycle

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  • Gebhardt, Georg
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    Abstract

    We explore why venture capital funds limit the amount of capital they raise and do not reinvest the proceeds. This structure is puzzling because it leads to a succession of several funds financing each new venture which multiplies the well known agency problems. We argue that an inside investor cannot provide a hard budget constraint while a less well informed outsider can. Therefore, the venture capitalist delegates the continuation decision to the outsider by ex ante restricting the amount of capital he has under management. The soft budget constraint problem becomes the more important the higher the entrepreneur’s private benefits are and the higher the probability of failure of a project is.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 173.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:173

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    Keywords: Contract Theory; Corporate Finance; Venture Capital;

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    1. Gompers, Paul & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "An analysis of compensation in the U.S. venture capital partnership," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 3-44, January.
    2. Mathias Dewatripont & Eric Maskin, 1995. "Credit and efficiency in centralized and decentralized economies," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9603, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Dirk Bergemann & Ulrich Hege, 2001. "The Financing of Innovation: Learning and Stopping," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1292R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Oct 2004.
    4. Sahlman, William A., 1990. "The structure and governance of venture-capital organizations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 473-521, October.
    5. Schmidt, Klaus M, 1996. "The Costs and Benefits of Privatization: An Incomplete Contracts Approach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-24, April.
    6. Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance," CEPR Discussion Papers 2317, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Gompers, Paul A, 1995. " Optimal Investment, Monitoring, and the Staging of Venture Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1461-89, December.
    8. Kornai, J, 1979. "Resource-Constrained versus Demand-Constrained Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 801-19, July.
    9. Francesca Cornelli & Oved Yosha, 2003. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Securities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 1-32.
    10. Schmidt, Klaus M., 2003. "Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance," Munich Reprints in Economics 19769, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    11. Schmidt, Klaus M., 1996. "The costs and benefits of privatization: An incomplete contracts approach," Munich Reprints in Economics 19773, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    12. Gompers, Paul & Lerner, Josh, 1996. "The Use of Covenants: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Partnership Agreements," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 463-98, October.
    13. Neher, Darwin V, 1999. "Staged Financing: An Agency Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 255-74, April.
    14. Thomas Hellmann, 1998. "The Allocation of Control Rights in Venture Capital Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 57-76, Spring.
    15. Joshua Lerner, 1994. "The Syndication of Venture Capital Investments," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 23(3), Fall.
    16. Francesca Cornelli & Oved Yosha, 2003. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Securities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 1-32, January.
    17. Eric S. Maskin, 1999. "Recent Theoretical Work on the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 421-425, May.
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