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Excessive Continuation and Dynamic Agency Costs of Debt

  • Jean-Paul Décamps

This paper analyses the incentives of the equityholders of a leveraged company to shut it down in a continuous time, stochastic environment. Keeping the firm as an ongoing concern has an option value but equity and debt holders value it differently. Equityholders decisions exhibit excessive continuation and reduce firms value. Using a compound exchange option approach, we characterise the resulting agency costs of debt, derive the ¶price¶ of these costs and analyse their dynamics. We also show how agency costs can be reduced by the design of debt and the possibility of renegotiation.

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Paper provided by Financial Markets Group in its series FMG Discussion Papers with number dp348.

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Date of creation: Mar 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fmg:fmgdps:dp348
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/fmg/

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  1. Merton, Robert C., 1973. "On the pricing of corporate debt: the risk structure of interest rates," Working papers 684-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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  9. Geske, Robert, 1977. "The Valuation of Corporate Liabilities as Compound Options," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(04), pages 541-552, November.
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  11. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1991. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 3906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Hayne E. Leland and Klaus Bjerre Toft., 1995. "Optimal Capital Structure, Endogenous Bankruptcy, and the Term Structure of Credit Spreads," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-259, University of California at Berkeley.
  13. Hayne E. Leland., 1998. "Agency Costs, Risk Management, and Capital Structure," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-278, University of California at Berkeley.
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  16. Parrino, Robert & Weisbach, Michael S., 1999. "Measuring investment distortions arising from stockholder-bondholder conflicts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 3-42, July.
  17. Margrabe, William, 1978. "The Value of an Option to Exchange One Asset for Another," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(1), pages 177-86, March.
  18. Mello, Antonio S & Parsons, John E, 1992. " Measuring the Agency Cost of Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1887-904, December.
  19. David De Meza & Ben Lockwood, 1998. "Does Asset Ownership Always Motivate Managers? Outside Options And The Property Rights Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 361-386, May.
  20. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
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  22. Hans U. Gerber & Hlias S. W. Shiu, 1996. "Martingale Approach To Pricing Perpetual American Options On Two Stocks," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 303-322.
  23. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean-Paul DÊcamps, 1997. "A variational approach for pricing options and corporate bonds," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 557-569.
  24. Anderson, Ronald W & Sundaresan, Suresh, 1996. "Design and Valuation of Debt Contracts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(1), pages 37-68.
  25. McDonald, Robert L & Siegel, Daniel R, 1985. "Investment and the Valuation of Firms When There Is an Option to Shut Down," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 331-49, June.
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