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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
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Fax: 1-314-444-8731
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 473-94, July.
  2. Hart, O. & Moore, J., 1989. "Default And Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model Of Debt," Working papers 520, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo A. Hopenhayn, 2004. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 285-315, 04.
  4. Timothy J Kehoe & David K Levine, 1993. "Debt Constrained Asset Markets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1276, David K. Levine.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Dynamic Capital Structure under Managerial Entrenchment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1197-1215, December.
  8. 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.
  9. Thomas Cooley & Ramon Marimon & Vicenzo Quadrini, 1999. "Aggregate consequences of limited contract enforceability," Economics Working Papers 843, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2003.
  10. 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.
  11. Robert Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. Andrew Atkeson, 2010. "International lending with moral hazard and risk of repudiation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 200, David K. Levine.
  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.
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