IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Performance Sensitive Debt - Investment and Financing Incentives


  • Myklebust, Tor Åge

    () (Dept. of Finance and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)


Performance sensitive debt (PSD) contracts link the paid coupon to a measure of firm performance. PSD contracts are widely used, especially as corporate bank loans. In a model where a firm has assets in place and the opportunity to invest in a growth option, I analyze how PSD affects equityholders' investment and financing incentives. With no pre-existing debt I show that PSD reduces a given firm's optimal leverage, indicating that in this case PSD partially solves potential future conflicts related to debt overhang. With debt in place I show that PSD financing magnifies equityholders' risk-shifting incentives, proving that in this case PSD is an inefficient financing tool. My conclusion questions the hypothesis that PSD is used to prevent asset substitution. When debt overhang creates problems of underinvestment I show that PSD financing partially resolves these inefficiencies. My conclusions are partially based on numerical analysis, but they are robust to changes in input parameters.

Suggested Citation

  • Myklebust, Tor Åge, 2012. "Performance Sensitive Debt - Investment and Financing Incentives," Discussion Papers 2012/7, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhhfms:2012_007

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sheridan Titman & Sergey Tsyplakov, 2007. "A Dynamic Model of Optimal Capital Structure," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 11(3), pages 401-451.
    2. Tsyplakov, Sergey, 2008. "Investment frictions and leverage dynamics," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(3), pages 423-443, September.
    3. Roberts, Michael R. & Sufi, Amir, 2009. "Renegotiation of financial contracts: Evidence from private credit agreements," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 159-184, August.
    4. 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 449-470, May.
    5. Christopher A. Hennessy & Toni M. Whited, 2005. "Debt Dynamics," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1129-1165, June.
    6. Gustavo Manso & Bruno Strulovici & Alexei Tchistyi, 2010. "Performance-Sensitive Debt," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(5), pages 1819-1854.
    7. Dirk Hackbarth & Christopher A. Hennessy & Hayne E. Leland, 2007. "Can the Trade-off Theory Explain Debt Structure?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(5), pages 1389-1428, 2007 04.
    8. Asquith, Paul & Beatty, Anne & Weber, Joseph, 2005. "Performance pricing in bank debt contracts," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-3), pages 101-128, December.
    9. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
    10. Dirk Hackbarth & David C. Mauer, 2012. "Optimal Priority Structure, Capital Structure, and Investment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(3), pages 747-796.
    11. Patrick Houweling & Albert Mentink & Ton Vorst, 2003. "Valuing Euro Rating-Triggered Step-Up Telecom Bonds," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-028/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    12. Mello, Antonio S & Parsons, John E, 1992. " Measuring the Agency Cost of Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1887-1904, December.
    13. Mauer, David C & Triantis, Alexander J, 1994. " Interactions of Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions: A Dynamic Framework," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1253-1277, September.
    14. Lando, David & Mortensen, Allan, 2004. "On the Pricing of Step-Up Bonds in the European Telecom Sector," Working Papers 2004-9, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Finance.
    15. Bhanot, Karan & Mello, Antonio S., 2006. "Should corporate debt include a rating trigger?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 69-98, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sarkar, Sudipto & Zhang, Chuanqian, 2015. "Underinvestment and the design of performance-sensitive debt," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 240-253.
    2. repec:eee:reveco:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:98-108 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Liu, Bo & Xia, Xin & Yang, Jinqiang, 2017. "Financing constraints and the use of performance-sensitive debt," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 73-84.

    More about this item


    Performance Sensitive Debt; Growth Option; Debt Overhang; Asset Substitution; Underinvestment;

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:nhhfms:2012_007. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Stein Fossen). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.