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Capital Structure and the Informational Role of Debt

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  • Harris, Milton
  • Raviv, Artur

Abstract

This paper provides a theory of capital structure based on the effect of debt on investors' information about the firm and on their ability to oversee management. The authors postulate that managers are reluctant to relinquish control and unwilling to provide information that could result in such an outcome. Debt is a disciplining device because default allows creditors the option to force the firm into liquidation and generates information useful to investors. The authors characterize the time path of the debt level and obtain comparative statics results on the debt level, bond yield, probability of default, probability of reorganization, etc. Copyright 1990 by American Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1990. " Capital Structure and the Informational Role of Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 321-349, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:45:y:1990:i:2:p:321-49
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