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A Dynamic Theory of Optimal Capital Structure and Executive Compensation

  • Andrew Atkeson
  • Harold Cole

We put forward a theory of the optimal capital structure of the firm based on Jensen's (1986) hypothesis that a firm's choice of capital structure is determined by a trade-off between agency costs and monitoring costs. We model this tradeoff dynamically. We assume that early on in the production process, outside investors face an informational friction with respect to withdrawing funds from the firm which dissipates over time. We assume that they also face an agency friction which increases over time with respect to funds left inside the firm. The problem of determining the optimal capital structure of the firm as well as the optimal compensation of the manager is then a problem of choosing payments to outside investors and the manager at each stage of production to balance these two frictions.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11083.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11083.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11083
Note: EFG
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  1. 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.
  2. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1997. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1792, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Robert Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo Hopenhayn, 2002. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," RCER Working Papers 493, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. Thomas Cooley & Ramon Marimon & Vicenzo Quadrini, 1999. "Aggregate consequences of limited contract enforceability," Economics Working Papers 843, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2003.
  6. Andrew Atkeson, 2010. "International lending with moral hazard and risk of repudiation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 200, David K. Levine.
  7. Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Dynamic Capital Structure under Managerial Entrenchment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1197-1215, December.
  8. Gina Luca Clementi & Hugo A Hopenhayn, 2006. "A Theory of Financing Constraints and Firm Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 229-265, 02.
  9. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1995. "Debt and Seniority: An Analysis of the Role of Hard Claims in Constraining Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 567-85, June.
  10. Timothy J Kehoe & David K Levine, 1993. "Debt Constrained Asset Markets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1276, David K. Levine.
  11. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 473-94, July.
  12. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  13. Peter M. DeMarzo & Michael J. Fishman, 2007. "Optimal Long-Term Financial Contracting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(6), pages 2079-2128, November.
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