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A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital

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Listed:
  • Hart, O.
  • Moore, J.

Abstract

Consider an entrepreneur whocneeds to raise funds from an investor, but cannot commit not to withdraw his human capital from the project. The possibility of a default or quit puts an upper bound on the total indebtedness from the entrepreneur to the investor at any date. We characterize the optimal repayment path and show how it is affected both by the maturity structure of the project return stream and by the durability and specificity of project assets. Our results are consistent with the conventional wisdom about what determines the maturity structure of (long-term) debt contracts.
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Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:mit:worpap:592
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    Keywords

    contracts ; debt ; investments;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation

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