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A Dynamic Theory of Optimal Capital Structure and Executive Compensation

  • Harold Cole
  • Andrew Atkeson

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

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 267.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:267
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Timothy J. Kehoe & David K. Levine, 1993. "Debt-Constrained Asset Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(4), pages 865-888.
  2. Atkeson, Andrew, 1991. "International Lending with Moral Hazard and Risk of Repudiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 1069-89, July.
  3. Cooley, Thomas F & Marimon, Ramon & Quadrini, Vincenzo, 2004. "Aggregate Consequences of Limited Contract Enforceability," CEPR Discussion Papers 4173, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Timothy J. Kehoe & David K. Levine, 1992. "Debt constrained asset markets," Working Papers 445, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Gian Luca Clementi & Hugo Hopenhayn, 2002. "A Theory of Financing Constraints and Firm Dynamics," RCER Working Papers 492, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  9. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1994. "Debt and Seniority: An Analysis of the Role of Hard Claims in Constraining Management," NBER Working Papers 4886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Dynamic Capital Structure under Managerial Entrenchment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1197-1215, December.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo Hopenhayn, 2002. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," RCER Working Papers 493, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  15. 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.
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