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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fmg:fmgdps:dp348
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  1. 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.
  2. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1997. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," NBER Working Papers 5907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Mella-Barral, Pierre, 1999. "The Dynamics of Default and Debt Reorganization," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(3), pages 535-78.
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  8. Merton, Robert C, 1974. "On the Pricing of Corporate Debt: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 449-70, May.
  9. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
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  12. 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.
  13. Mathias Dewatripont & Jean Tirole, 1994. "A theory of debt and equity: diversity of securities and manager-shareholder congruence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9593, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  18. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:2:p:361-386 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  20. Hayne E. Leland, 1998. "Agency Costs, Risk Management, and Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1213-1243, 08.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Anderson, Ronald W. & Sundaresan, Suresh & Tychon, Pierre, 1996. "Strategic analysis of contingent claims," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 871-881, April.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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