IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/red/sed019/157.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Conflicting Priorities: A Theory of Covenants and Collateral

Author

Listed:
  • Jason Donaldson

    (Washington University in St Louis)

  • Denis Gromb

    (HEC Paris)

  • Giorgia Piacentino

    (Columbia University)

Abstract

Debt secured by collateral has absolute priority in the event of default—it is paid ahead of unsecured debt, even if unsecured debt is protected by negative pledge covenants prohibiting new secured debt. We develop a model of how this priority rule leads to conflicts among creditors, but can be optimal nonetheless: borrowers’ option to use collateral in violation of covenants allows for the dilution of existing debt, and hence prevents under-investment, whereas creditors’ option to accelerate debt following a covenant violation deters dilution, and hence prevents over-investment. The optimal investment policy is implementable via a mix of different types of debt, including secured and unsecured debt with tight and loose covenants. The model is consistent with a number of stylized facts about debt structure, covenants, and their violations.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Donaldson & Denis Gromb & Giorgia Piacentino, 2019. "Conflicting Priorities: A Theory of Covenants and Collateral," 2019 Meeting Papers 157, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed019:157
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2019/paper_157.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1994. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 841-879.
    2. Isil Erel & Brandon Julio & Woojin Kim & Michael S. Weisbach, 2012. "Macroeconomic Conditions and Capital Raising," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(2), pages 341-376.
    3. Hansmann, Henry & Santilli, Marina, 1997. "Authors' and Artists' Moral Rights: A Comparative Legal and Economic Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 95-143, January.
    4. Patrick Bolton & Martin Oehmke, 2015. "Should Derivatives Be Privileged in Bankruptcy?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 70(6), pages 2353-2394, December.
    5. Philippe Aghion and Benjamin Hermalin., 1990. "Why Legal Restrictions on Private Contracts Can Enhance Efficiency," Economics Working Papers 90-140, University of California at Berkeley.
    6. Barclay, Michael J & Smith, Clifford W, Jr, 1995. "The Priority Structure of Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(3), pages 899-917, July.
    7. 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.
    8. Rampini, Adriano A. & Viswanathan, S., 2013. "Collateral and capital structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 466-492.
    9. Arturo Bris & Ivo Welch & Ning Zhu, 2006. "The Costs of Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 Liquidation versus Chapter 11 Reorganization," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(3), pages 1253-1303, June.
    10. Joshua D. Rauh & Amir Sufi, 2010. "Capital Structure and Debt Structure," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(12), pages 4242-4280, December.
    11. Acharya, Viral & Bisin, Alberto, 2014. "Counterparty risk externality: Centralized versus over-the-counter markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 153-182.
    12. Charles M. Kahn & Dilip Mookherjee, 1998. "Competition and Incentives with Nonexclusive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(3), pages 443-465, Autumn.
    13. Schwartz, Alan, 1989. "A Theory of Loan Priorities," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 209-261, June.
    14. Yaron Leitner, 2012. "Inducing Agents to Report Hidden Trades: A Theory of an Intermediary," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 16(4), pages 1013-1042.
    15. Alan Schwartz, 1997. "Priority Contracts and Priority in Bankruptcy," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm72, Yale School of Management.
    16. Ilia D. Dichev & Douglas J. Skinner, 2002. "Large–Sample Evidence on the Debt Covenant Hypothesis," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 1091-1123, September.
    17. Bolton, Patrick & Oehmke, Martin, 2015. "Should derivatives be privileged in bankruptcy?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84512, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    18. Gregor Matvos, 2013. "Estimating the Benefits of Contractual Completeness," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(11), pages 2798-2844.
    19. Flannery, Mark J, 1986. "Asymmetric Information and Risky Debt Maturity Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(1), pages 19-37, March.
    20. Sweeney, Amy Patricia, 1994. "Debt-covenant violations and managers' accounting responses," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 281-308, May.
    21. Bisin, Alberto & Gottardi, Piero, 1999. "Competitive Equilibria with Asymmetric Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 1-48, July.
    22. Michael Bradley & Michael R. Roberts, 2015. "The Structure and Pricing of Corporate Debt Covenants," Quarterly Journal of Finance (QJF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 5(02), pages 1-37.
    23. Michael R. Roberts & Amir Sufi, 2009. "Control Rights and Capital Structure: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1657-1695, August.
    24. Alberto Bisin & Piero Gottardi, 2003. "Competitive Markets for Non-Exclusive Contracts with Adverse Selection: the Role of Entry Fees," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(2), pages 313-338, April.
    25. Andrew Hertzberg & Andres Liberman & Daniel Paravisini, 2018. "Screening on Loan Terms: Evidence from Maturity Choice in Consumer Credit," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 31(9), pages 3532-3567.
    26. Burcu Eyigungor, 2013. "Debt dilution: when it is a major problem and how to deal with it," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q4, pages 1-8.
    27. Andrea L. Eisfeldt & Adriano A. Rampini, 2009. "Leasing, Ability to Repossess, and Debt Capacity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(4), pages 1621-1657, April.
    28. Greg Nini & David C. Smith & Amir Sufi, 2012. "Creditor Control Rights, Corporate Governance, and Firm Value," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(6), pages 1713-1761.
    29. Aghion, Philippe & Hermalin, Benjamin, 1990. "Legal Restrictions on Private Contracts Can Enhance Efficiency," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 381-409, Fall.
    30. Nicolae Garleanu & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 2009. "Design and Renegotiation of Debt Covenants," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(2), pages 749-781, February.
    31. Rajan, Raghuram & Winton, Andrew, 1995. "Covenants and Collateral as Incentives to Monitor," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1113-1146, September.
    32. Franks, Julian R & Torous, Walter N, 1989. " An Empirical Investigation of U.S. Firms in Reorganization," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(3), pages 747-769, July.
    33. Andrea Attar & Catherine Casamatta & Arnold Chassagnon & Jean Paul Décamps, 2017. "On the Role of Menus in Sequential Contracting: a Multiple Lending Example," CEIS Research Paper 409, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 13 Jul 2017.
    34. Levine, Carolyn B. & Hughes, John S., 2005. "Management compensation and earnings-based covenants as signaling devices in credit markets," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(5), pages 832-850, October.
    35. Weiss, Lawrence A., 1990. "Bankruptcy resolution: Direct costs and violation of priority of claims," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 285-314, October.
    36. Christine A. Parlour & Uday Rajan, 2001. "Competition in Loan Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1311-1328, December.
    37. Julian R. Franks & Walter N. Torous, 1989. "An Empirical Investigation of U.S. Firms in Reorganization," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(3), pages 747-769, July.
    38. Stulz, ReneM. & Johnson, Herb, 1985. "An analysis of secured debt," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 501-521, December.
    39. Jean Tirole, 2006. "The Theory of Corporate Finance," Post-Print hal-00173191, HAL.
    40. Adriano A. Rampini & S. Viswanathan, 2010. "Collateral, Risk Management, and the Distribution of Debt Capacity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(6), pages 2293-2322, December.
    41. Kenneth Ayotte & Patrick Bolton, 2011. "Optimal Property Rights in Financial Contracting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(10), pages 3401-3433.
    42. 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.
    43. Matthew T. Billett & Tao‐Hsien Dolly King & David C. Mauer, 2007. "Growth Opportunities and the Choice of Leverage, Debt Maturity, and Covenants," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(2), pages 697-730, April.
    44. Sudheer Chava & Michael R. Roberts, 2008. "How Does Financing Impact Investment? The Role of Debt Covenants," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(5), pages 2085-2121, October.
    45. Smith, Clifford Jr. & Warner, Jerold B., 1979. "On financial contracting : An analysis of bond covenants," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 117-161, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Olivier Darmouni & Stephan Luck & Matthew C. Plosser, 2020. "Bank Liquidity Provision Across the Firm Size Distribution," NBER Working Papers 27945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Efraim Benmelech & Nitish Kumar & Raghuram Rajan, 2020. "Secured Credit Spreads," Working Papers 2020-14, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    3. Efraim Benmelech & Nitish Kumar & Raghuram Rajan, 2020. "The Secured Credit Premium and the Issuance of Secured Debt," NBER Working Papers 26799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Donaldson, Jason Roderick & Gromb, Denis & Piacentino, Giorgia, 2020. "The paradox of pledgeability," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(3), pages 591-605.
    2. Efraim Benmelech & Nitish Kumar & Raghuram Rajan, 2020. "The Decline of Secured Debt," NBER Working Papers 26637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Amir Kermani & Yueran Ma, 2020. "Two Tales of Debt," NBER Working Papers 27641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Olivier M. Darmouni & Stephan Luck & Matthew Plosser, 2020. "Bank Liquidity Provision across the Firm Size Distribution," Staff Reports 942, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    5. Hines, James R. & Park, Jongsang, 2019. "Investment ramifications of distortionary tax subsidies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 36-51.
    6. Efraim Benmelech & Nitish Kumar & Raghuram Rajan, 2020. "Secured Credit Spreads," Working Papers 2020-14, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    7. Efraim Benmelech & Nitish Kumar & Raghuram Rajan, 2020. "The Secured Credit Premium and the Issuance of Secured Debt," NBER Working Papers 26799, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Reisel, Natalia, 2014. "On the value of restrictive covenants: Empirical investigation of public bond issues," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 251-268.
    9. Wang, Jing, 2017. "Debt covenant design and creditor control rights: Evidence from the tightest covenant," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 331-352.
    10. Billett, Matthew T. & Esmer, Burcu & Yu, Miaomiao, 2018. "Creditor control and product-market competition," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 87-100.
    11. Roberts, Michael R., 2015. "The role of dynamic renegotiation and asymmetric information in financial contracting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(1), pages 61-81.
    12. Douglas W. Diamond & Yunzhi Hu & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2021. "Liquidity, Pledgeability, and the Nature of Lending," Working Papers 2021-09, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    13. Freudenberg, Felix & Imbierowicz, Björn & Saunders, Anthony & Steffen, Sascha, 2017. "Covenant violations and dynamic loan contracting," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 540-565.
    14. Michael R. Roberts, 2014. "The Role of Dynamic Renegotiation and Asymmetric Information in Financial Contracting," NBER Working Papers 20484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Antonio Falato & Nellie Liang, 2016. "Do Creditor Rights Increase Employment Risk? Evidence from Loan Covenants," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 71(6), pages 2545-2590, December.
    16. Michael R. Roberts & Michael Schwert, 2020. "Interest Rates and the Design of Financial Contracts," NBER Working Papers 27195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Prilmeier, Robert, 2017. "Why do loans contain covenants? Evidence from lending relationships," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(3), pages 558-579.
    18. Kang, Di & Zhuang, Zhuang, 2019. "Should companies care who their lender is? Evidence from loan covenants," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 57(C).
    19. Erik P. Gilje & Elena Loutskina & Daniel Murphy, 2020. "Drilling and Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 75(3), pages 1287-1325, June.
    20. Armstrong, Christopher S. & Guay, Wayne R. & Weber, Joseph P., 2010. "The role of information and financial reporting in corporate governance and debt contracting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 179-234, December.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed019:157. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/sedddea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Christian Zimmermann (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/sedddea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.