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Two Tales of Debt

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  • Amir Kermani
  • Yueran Ma

Abstract

We analyze the heterogeneous nature of corporate debt contracts, some focusing on liquidation values of discrete assets whereas others on going-concern values of the business. Using hand-collected data on firm attributes, we present several findings. First, firms on average have limited liquidation values. Second, companies with lower liquidation values have more debt backed by going-concern values and more intensive monitoring of firm performance. They have higher interest rates only for debt against discrete assets. Third, secured debt is not always tied to liquidation values of discrete assets. We present a model that matches the empirical findings, which demonstrates how creditor monitoring and covenants facilitate borrowing well beyond liquidation values.

Suggested Citation

  • Amir Kermani & Yueran Ma, 2020. "Two Tales of Debt," NBER Working Papers 27641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27641
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    1. Thais Laerkholm Jensen & Søren Leth-Petersen & Ramana Nanda, 2014. "Financing Constraints, Home Equity and Selection into Entrepreneurship," Harvard Business School Working Papers 15-020, Harvard Business School, revised May 2021.

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    More about this item

    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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