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Leasing, Ability to Repossess, and Debt Capacity

  • Adriano Rampini
  • Andrea Eisfeldt

This paper studies the financing role of leasing and secured lending. We argue that the benefit of leasing is that repossession of a leased asset is easier than foreclosure on the collateral of a secured loan, which implies that leasing has higher debt capacity than secured lending. However, leasing involves agency costs due to the separation of ownership and control. More financially constrained firms value the additional debt capacity more and hence lease more of their capital than less constrained firms. We provide empirical evidence consistent with this prediction. Our theory is consistent with the explanation of leasing by practitioners, namely that leasing "preserves capital," which the academic literature considers a fallacy.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2007/CES-WP-07-19.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 07-19.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:07-19
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  1. Gavazza, Alessandro, 2010. "Leasing and Secondary Markets: Theory and Evidence from Commercial Aircraft," MPRA Paper 28821, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Eisfeldt, Andrea L. & Rampini, Adriano A., 2007. "New or used? Investment with credit constraints," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2656-2681, November.
  3. Steven A. Sharpe & Hien H. Nguyen, 1994. "Capital market imperfections and the incentive to lease," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-5, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Thomas W. Gilligan, 2004. "Lemons and Leases in the Used Business Aircraft Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1157-1186, October.
  5. Stulz, ReneM. & Johnson, Herb, 1985. "An analysis of secured debt," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 501-521, December.
  6. Hart, O. & Moore, J., 1991. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," Working papers 592, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Johnson, Justin P & Waldman, Michael, 2003. " Leasing, Lemons, and Buybacks," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 247-65, Summer.
  8. Eisfeldt, Andrea L. & Rampini, Adriano A., 2006. "Capital reallocation and liquidity," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 369-399, April.
  9. Burkart, Mike & Ellingsen, Tore & Giannetti, Mariassunta, 2004. "What You Sell is What You Lend? Explaining Trade Credit Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 4823, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Ang, James & Peterson, Pamela P, 1984. " The Leasing Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1055-65, September.
  11. Engelhardt, Gary V, 1996. "Consumption, Down Payments, and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(2), pages 255-71, May.
  12. Flath, David, 1980. "The Economics of Short-Term Leasing," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 247-59, April.
  13. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Moore, John, 1997. "Credit Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 211-48, April.
  14. Artle, Roland & Varaiya, Pravin, 1978. "Life cycle consumption and homeownership," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 38-58, June.
  15. Miller, Merton H & Upton, Charles W, 1976. "Leasing, Buying, and the Cost of Capital Services," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(3), pages 761-86, June.
  16. Justin P. Johnson & Michael Waldman, 2010. "Leasing, Lemons, and Moral Hazard," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 307-328, 05.
  17. Todd Sinai & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2005. "Owner-Occupied Housing as a Hedge Against Rent Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 763-789, May.
  18. Lewis, Craig M. & Schallheim, James S., 1992. "Are Debt and Leases Substitutes?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(04), pages 497-511, December.
  19. Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1997. "Sequential Investments and Options to Own," CEPR Discussion Papers 1645, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Smith, Clifford W, Jr & Wakeman, L MacDonald, 1985. " Determinants of Corporate Leasing Policy," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 895-908, July.
  21. Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Interfering with Secondary Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 1-21, Spring.
  22. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  23. Ezzell, John R. & Vora, Premal P., 2001. "Leasing versus purchasing: Direct evidence on a corporation's motivations for leasing and consequences of leasing," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 33-47.
  24. Lewellen, Wilbur G & Long, Michael S & McConnell, John J, 1976. "Asset Leasing in Competitive Capital Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(3), pages 787-98, June.
  25. Coase, Ronald H, 1972. "Durability and Monopoly," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 143-49, April.
  26. Bulow, Jeremy, 1986. "An Economic Theory of Planned Obsolescence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(4), pages 729-49, November.
  27. Kim, E. Han & Lewellen, Wilbur G. & McConnell, John J., 1978. "Sale-and-Leaseback Agreements and Enterprise Valuation," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(05), pages 871-883, December.
  28. John R. Graham & Michael L. Lemmon & James S. Schallheim, 1998. "Debt, Leases, Taxes, and the Endogeneity of Corporate Tax Status," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(1), pages 131-162, 02.
  29. Igal Hendel & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2002. "The Role of Leasing under Adverse Selection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 113-143, February.
  30. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
  31. Waldman, Michael, 1997. "Eliminating the Market for Secondhand Goods: An Alternative Explanation for Leasing," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(1), pages 61-92, April.
  32. Brennan, Michael J & Maksimovic, Vojislav & Zechner, Josef, 1988. " Vendor Financing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(5), pages 1127-41, December.
  33. Henderson, J Vernon & Ioannides, Yannis M, 1983. "A Model of Housing Tenure Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 98-113, March.
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