IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Risk-Sharing As A Determinant Of Capital Structure: Internal Financing, Debt, And (Outside) Equity


  • Yadira González de Lara

    () (Universidad de Alicante)


This paper proposes a historically-grounded mechanism-design model of corporate finance, with two-side risk aversion under limited contract enforceability, where (inside) equity held by entrepreneurs, debt and (outside) equity coexist. This capital structure shares optimally the non-diversifiable risk associated with costly and risky ventures. Furthermore, it uniquely sustains the optimal risk allocation if agents' personal wealth is contractible at a higher enforcement cost than the projects' returns. Otherwise, the irrelevance theorem of Modigliani and Miller applies. Consistent with the theoretical predictions, we observe that (i) risk-averse merchants-entrepreneurs financed part of their ventures (hold inside equity) and raised additional funds from risk-averse investors through debt-like sea loan and equity-like commenda contracts when long-distance medieval trade was indeed highly costly and risky and that (ii) maritime insurance, with higher protection against the non-diversifiable "risk of loss at sea or from the action of men" but higher enforcement costs, did not develop until the mid-fourteenth century, when the ventures' costs and risk had decreased significantly. Whereas the model emphasizes the entrepreneurs' equity holdings and the limited-liability aspects of debt and equity, the choice between debt or equity derives from simple, although historically backed, information assumptions. The analysis is therefore complementary to other capital-structure theories based on agency costs, information asymmetries, signalling, transaction costs and incomplete contracting.

Suggested Citation

  • Yadira González de Lara, 2004. "Risk-Sharing As A Determinant Of Capital Structure: Internal Financing, Debt, And (Outside) Equity," Working Papers. Serie AD 2004-16, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  • Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2004-16

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Fisrt version / Primera version, 2004
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lacker, Jeffrey M & Weinberg, John A, 1989. "Optimal Contracts under Costly State Falsification," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1345-1363, December.
    2. Daniel A. Ackerberg & Maristella Botticini, 2002. "Endogenous Matching and the Empirical Determinants of Contract Form," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 564-591, June.
    3. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-41.
    4. Bolton, Patrick & Scharfstein, David S, 1990. "A Theory of Predation Based on Agency Problems in Financial Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 93-106, March.
    5. Greenwald, Bruce C & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1990. "Asymmetric Information and the New Theory of the Firm: Financial Constraints and Risk Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 160-165, May.
    6. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1995. " What Do We Know about Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1421-1460, December.
    7. Leland, Hayne E & Pyle, David H, 1977. "Informational Asymmetries, Financial Structure, and Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(2), pages 371-387, May.
    8. Patrick Bolton & Xavier Freixas, 2000. "Equity, Bonds, and Bank Debt: Capital Structure and Financial Market Equilibrium under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 324-351, April.
    9. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
    10. DeMarzo, Peter M. & Duffie, Darrell, 1991. "Corporate financial hedging with proprietary information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 261-286, April.
    11. Mathias Dewatripont & Jean Tirole, 1994. "A Theory of Debt and Equity: Diversity of Securities and Manager-Shareholder Congruence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1027-1054.
    12. Townsend, Robert M, 1982. "Optimal Multiperiod Contracts and the Gain from Enduring Relationships under Private Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1166-1186, December.
    13. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
    14. Douglas Gale & Martin Hellwig, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 647-663.
    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. Joel M. Vanden, 2016. "Optimal capital structures for private firms," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 245-273, May.

    More about this item


    debt contracts; capital structure; creditworthiness; enforceability; inside and outside equity; insurance; limited liability; private information; risk-sharing;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913

    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:ivi:wpasad:2004-16. 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: (Departamento de Edición). 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.