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Capital Structure Choice when Managers are in Control: Entrenchment versus Efficiency

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  • Walter Novaes
  • Luigi Zingales

Abstract

Recent capital structure theories have emphasized the role of debt in minimizing the agency costs that arise from the separation between ownership and control. In this paper we argue that capital structure choices themselves are affected by the same agency problem. We show that, in general, the shareholders' and the manager's capital structure choices differ not only in their levels, but also in their sensitivities to the cost of financial distress and taxes. We argue that only the managerial perspective can explain why firms are generally reluctant to issue equity, why they issue it only following a stock price run-up, and why Corporate America recently deleveraged under the same tax system that supposedly generated the increase in leverage in the 1980s.

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  • Walter Novaes & Luigi Zingales, 1995. "Capital Structure Choice when Managers are in Control: Entrenchment versus Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 5384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5384 Note: CF
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