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Self-Enforcing Stochastic Monitoring and the Separation of Debt and Equity Claims

  • Harold L. Cole


    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

We study the incentive issues associated with self-enforcing stochastic monitoring in a model of investment and production. The efficient contract features a debt-like payment with a threshold in terms of the reported output in which all of the reported output is taken up to the threshold if monitoring doesn’t occur and all of the output is taken if monitoring does occur. An output report above the threshold leads to zero probability of monitoring and just the threshold amount being paid out. The efficiency gap between the self-enforcing contract and the commitment constraint is minimized when the monitors holds no part of the residual claim on the firm, which we associate with equity. Misreporting by the manager is an important component of the efficient contract.

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Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 08-025.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 14 Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:08-025
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  1. Boyd, John H & Smith, Bruce D, 1994. "How Good Are Standard Debt Contracts? Stochastic versus Nonstochastic Monitoring in a Costly State Verification Environment," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(4), pages 539-61, October.
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  6. Dewatripont, Mathias & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "A Theory of Debt and Equity: Diversity of Securities and Manager-Shareholder Congruence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1027-54, November.
  7. Border, Kim C & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Samurai Accountant: A Theory of Auditing and Plunder," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 525-40, October.
  8. Simi Kedia & Thomas Philippon, 2005. "The Economics of Fraudulent Accounting," NBER Working Papers 11573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Monnet, Cyril & Quintin, Erwan, 2002. "Optimal contracts in a dynamic costly state verification model," Working Paper Series 0126, European Central Bank.
  10. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo Hopenhayn, 2002. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," RCER Working Papers 493, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  11. Erik Berglof & Ernst-Ludwig von Thadden, 1994. "Capital Structure with Multiple Investors," CEPR Financial Markets Paper 0044, European Science Foundation Network in Financial Markets, c/o C.E.P.R, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ..
  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. 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.
  14. Stephen D. Williamson, 1984. "Costly Monitoring, Loan Contracts and Equilibrium Credit Rationing," Working Papers 572, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  15. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, Ivan, 1989. "Optimal Auditing, Insurance, and Redistribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 399-415, May.
  16. Bester, Helmut & Strausz, Roland, 2001. "Contracting with Imperfect Commitment and the Revelation Principle: The Single Agent Case," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1077-98, July.
  17. Harold Cole & Andrew Atkeson, 2004. "A Dynamic Theory of Optimal Capital Structure and Executive Compensation," 2004 Meeting Papers 267, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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