Incomplete contracts, renegotiation, and the choice between bank loans and public debt issues
In a two-period model where an investment project is funded with standard debt, the probability distribution of final cash flow is determined, at the interim date, by an unverifiable state of nature together with a choice by the controlling party (entrepreneur or creditor). With a control allocation contingent on a noisy default signal, renegotiation may improve efficiency in two ways: (i) reduce excessive risk-taking - due to the entrepreneur's moral hazard - through debt forgiveness; (ii) avoid the costs of financial distress associated with excessive liquidation or underinvestment by debt-holders, by letting them receive an equity stake in the firm. Such efficiency gain is an advantage of bank loans over publicly traded debt, given that the former are more easily renegotiated than the latter. The difference between the two types of debt is increasing in the degree of contractual incompleteness (noise present in the default signal) and in the portion of project value accounted for by future discretionary investment options.
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Volume (Year): 1 (1995)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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