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A Theory Of Corporate Financial Structure Based On The Seniority Of Claims

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  • HART, O.
  • MOORE, J.

Abstract

We develop a theory of optimal capital structure based on the idea that debt and equity differ in their priority status relative to future corporate cash pants. A company with high (dispersed) debt will find it hard to raise new capital since new security-holders will have low priority relative to existing senior creditors. Conversely for a company with low debt. We show that there is an optimal debt-equity ratio and mix of senior and junior debt for a corporation whose management may undertake unprofitable as well as profitable investments. Among other things, our theory can explain the observation that profitable firms have low debt. In addition, it predicts that (long-term) debt will be high if new investment is risky and on average profitable, or if assets in place are risky an new investment is on average unprofitable.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Hart, O. & Moore, J., 1990. "A Theory Of Corporate Financial Structure Based On The Seniority Of Claims," Working papers 560, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mit:worpap:560
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    Cited by:

    1. Heather M. Hulburt & Frederick C. Scherr, 2003. "Determinants of the collateralization of credit by small firms," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(6-7), pages 483-501.
    2. Sanjiva Prasad & Christopher J. Green & Victor Murinde, 2001. "Company Financing, Captial Structure, and Ownership: A Survey, and Implications for Developing Economies," SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum, number 12 edited by Morten Balling, August.
    3. Henrik Cronqvist & Fredrik Heyman & Mattias Nilsson & Helena Svaleryd & Jonas Vlachos, 2009. "Do Entrenched Managers Pay Their Workers More?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(1), pages 309-339, February.
    4. Bebchuk, Lucian Ayre & Chang, Howard F, 1992. "Bargaining and the Division of Value in Corporate Reorganization," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 253-279, April.
    5. Lang, Larry & Poulsen, Annette & Stulz, Rene, 1995. "Asset sales, firm performance, and the agency costs of managerial discretion," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 3-37, January.
    6. Daron Acemoglu & Miles Gietzmann, 1998. "Auditor independence, incomplete contracts and the role of legal liability," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 355-375.
    7. Kooyul Jung & Yong-Cheol Kim & Rene M. Stulz, 1994. "Investment Opportunities, Managerial Decisions, and the Security Issue Decision," NBER Working Papers 4907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Tahvanainen, Antti-Jussi, 2003. "The Capital Structure of Finnish Biotechnology SMEs - An empirical analysisi," Discussion Papers 864, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.

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    Keywords

    capital ; debt ; investments ; shareholders;

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