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A Dynamic Theory of Optimal Capital Structure and Executive Compensation

Author

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  • Harold Cole
  • Andrew Atkeson

Abstract

In this paper, 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. 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. Our theory has the following implications regarding optimal capital structure and executive compensation. Each period, the payouts from the firm can be divided into payments to the manager that consist of a non-contingent base pay and a performance component of pay based on the realized output of the firm, and two distinct payments to the outside investors that resemble payments debt and outside equity respectively. In our model, the dynamics of the capital structure come from the dynamics of compensation

Suggested Citation

  • Harold Cole & Andrew Atkeson, 2004. "A Dynamic Theory of Optimal Capital Structure and Executive Compensation," 2004 Meeting Papers 267, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:267
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Cooley & Ramon Marimon & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2004. "Aggregate Consequences of Limited Contract Enforceability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 817-847, August.
    2. Atkeson, Andrew, 1991. "International Lending with Moral Hazard and Risk of Repudiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 1069-1089, July.
    3. 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.
    4. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-329, May.
    5. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo Hopenhayn, 2002. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," RCER Working Papers 493, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    6. Timothy J. Kehoe & David K. Levine, 1993. "Debt-Constrained Asset Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 865-888.
    7. Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Dynamic Capital Structure under Managerial Entrenchment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1197-1215, December.
    8. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 473-494.
    9. Gian Luca Clementi & Hugo Hopenhayn, "undated". "A Theory of Financing Constraints and Firm Dynamics," GSIA Working Papers 2002-E9, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    10. Mathias Dewatripont & Jean Tirole, 1994. "A Theory of Debt and Equity: Diversity of Securities and Manager-Shareholder Congruence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1027-1054.
    11. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
    12. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 1-41.
    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 567-585, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mele, Antonio, 2014. "Repeated moral hazard and recursive Lagrangeans," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 69-85.
    2. Harold L. Cole, 2008. "Self-Enforcing Stochastic Monitoring and the Separation of Debt and Equity Claims," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-025, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    3. Lustig, Hanno & Syverson, Chad & Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn, 2011. "Technological change and the growing inequality in managerial compensation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 601-627, March.
    4. Karl Walentin & Guido Lorenzoni & Dan Cao, 2013. "Financial Frictions, Investment and Tobin’s q," 2013 Meeting Papers 634, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Popescu Luigi & Visinescu Sorin, 2009. "A Review Of The Capital Structure Theories," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 3(1), pages 315-320, May.
    6. Visinescu, Sorin & Micuda, Dan, 2009. "Some aspects regarding the financial structure theories," MPRA Paper 30412, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    outside debt and equity; base pay; performance bonus; golden parachutte;

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical

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