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Moral Hazard and Limited Liability: Implications for the Theory of the Firm

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  • Brander, James A
  • Spencer, Barbara J

Abstract

This paper presents a theory of the firm based on moral hazard in the provision of effort by an owner-manager who borrows money in financial markets under conditions of limited liability. The authors examine the relationship between the financial structure of the firm and the effort and output decisions of the owner-manager. Results are reported concerning the determination of the firm's optimal financial structure, and concerning the positive and normative implications of financial structure for pure competition and monopoly. They also identify a strategic advantage from equity finance under Cournot oligopoly. Copyright 1989 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

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  • Brander, James A & Spencer, Barbara J, 1989. "Moral Hazard and Limited Liability: Implications for the Theory of the Firm," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(4), pages 833-849, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:30:y:1989:i:4:p:833-49
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    Cited by:

    1. Dionne, Georges & Gagne, Robert & Gagnon, Francois & Vanasse, Charles, 1997. "Debt, moral hazard and airline safety An empirical evidence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 379-402, August.
    2. Nicolas Lampach & Kene Boun My & Sandrine Spaeter, 2016. "Risk, Ambiguity and Efficient Liability Rules: An experiment," Working Papers of BETA 2016-30, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    3. Istaitieh, Abdulaziz & Rodriguez-Fernandez, Jose M., 2006. "Factor-product markets and firm's capital structure: A literature review," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 49-75.
    4. Stennek, M.J., 1995. "Competition Reduces X-Inefficiency : A Note on a Limited Liability Mechanism," Discussion Paper 1995-56, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    5. Fluet, Claude, 1999. "Régulation des risques et insolvabilité : le rôle de la responsabilité pour faute en information imparfaite," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 75(1), pages 379-399, mars-juin.
    6. Kessler, Anke & Lülfesmann, Christoph & Schmitz, Patrick W, 2002. "Optimal Contracting in Agency with Verifiable Ex Post Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 3428, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Lars-Hendrik Röller & Johan Stennek & Frank Verboven, 2006. "Efficiency Gains from Mergers," Chapters,in: European Merger Control, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Fraja, Gianni De & Piga, Claudio A. G., 2004. "Strategic debt in vertical relationships: theory and evidence," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 103-123, June.
    9. Wagner, W.B., 2000. "Decentralized International Risk Sharing and Governmental Moral Hazard," Discussion Paper 2000-92, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    10. Stennek, Johan, 2000. "Competition increases x-efficiency: A limited liability mechanism," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1727-1744, October.
    11. Gerald T. Garvey, 1992. "Leveraging The Underinvestment Problem: How High Debt And Management Shareholdings Solve The Agency Costs Of Free Cash Flow," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 15(2), pages 149-166, June.
    12. Bernstein, J.I. & Nadiri, M.I., 1993. "Production, Financial Structure and Productivity Growth in U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers 93-10, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    13. Elie Appelbaum, 2007. "Incomplete Contracts, Bankruptcy and the Firm’s Capital Structure," Working Papers 2007_06, York University, Department of Economics.
    14. Dionne, Georges & Spaeter, Sandrine, 2003. "Environmental risk and extended liability: The case of green technologies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1025-1060, May.
    15. Gianni De Fraja & Claudio A. G. Piga, "undated". "Strategic Debt in Vertical Relationships," Discussion Papers 98/16, Department of Economics, University of York.
    16. Elie Appelbaum, 2002. "Union Contracts and the Firm's Financial Structure," Working Papers 2002_12, York University, Department of Economics.
    17. Hossain, Ferdaus & Jain, Ruchi, 2001. "Financial Structure, Production and Productivity Growth in U.S. Food Manufacturing Industry," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20756, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    18. Magill, Michael & Quinzii, Martine, 2002. "Capital market equilibrium with moral hazard," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1-2), pages 149-190, September.
    19. Teresa John & Lemma Senbet & Anant Sundaram & Peter Woodward, 2005. "Limited Liability and Market Power," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 215-231, November.
    20. Michael Magill, 2000. "Equity, Options and Efficiency in the Presence of Moral Hazard," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1845, Econometric Society.
    21. Florian Baumann, 2010. "Severance Payments as a Commitment Device," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(4), pages 715-734, December.
    22. Hennessy, Christopher A. & Livdan, Dmitry, 2009. "Debt, bargaining, and credibility in firm-supplier relationships," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 382-399, September.
    23. Jacques Lawarree & Marc van Audenrode, 2000. "Moral Hazard and Limited Liability," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0971, Econometric Society.

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