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The Design of Corporate Debt Structure and Bankruptcy

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  • Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden
  • Erik Berglöf
  • Gérard Roland

Abstract

This article integrates the problem of designing corporate bankruptcy rules into a theory of optimal debt structure. We show that, in an optimal contracting framework with imperfect renegotiation, having multiple creditors increases a firm's debt capacity while increasing its incentives to default strategically. The optimal debt contract gives creditors claims that are jointly inconsistent in case of default. Bankruptcy rules are therefore a necessary part of the overall financing contract, to make claims consistent and to prevent a value-reducing run for the assets of the firm. We characterize these rules, with predictions about the allocation of security rights, the right to trigger bankruptcy, and the symmetry of treatment of creditors in default. The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden & Erik Berglöf & Gérard Roland, 2010. "The Design of Corporate Debt Structure and Bankruptcy," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(7), pages 2648-2679, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:23:y:2010:i:7:p:2648-2679
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhq019
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Antoine Martin & David Skeie & Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden, 2014. "Repo Runs," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(4), pages 957-989.
    2. Martin, Antoine & Skeie, David & von Thadden, Ernst-Ludwig, 2014. "The fragility of short-term secured funding markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 15-42.
    3. Vladimir Korotin & Arseniy Ulchenkov & Rustam Islamov, 2017. "Debt Portfolio Management for an Oil Company Under Oil Price Uncertainty," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 49(2), pages 289-306, February.
    4. Attaoui, Sami & Poncet, Patrice, 2015. "Write-Down Bonds and Capital and Debt Structures," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 97-119.
    5. Sami Attaoui, 2016. "Capital Structure And Tax Convexity When The Maturity Of Debt Is Finite," International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Finance (IJTAF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 19(01), pages 1-20, February.
    6. Guembel, Alexander & White, Lucy, 2014. "Good cop, bad cop: Complementarities between debt and equity in disciplining management," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 541-569.
    7. de La Bruslerie, Hubert, 2016. "Does debt curb controlling shareholders' private benefits? Modelling in a contingent claim framework," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 263-282.

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