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A Soft Budget Constraint Explanation for the Venture Capital Cycle

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  • Gebhardt, Georg

Abstract

We explore why venture capital funds limit the amount of capital they raise and do not reinvest the proceeds. This structure is puzzling because it leads to a succession of several funds financing each new venture which multiplies the well known agency problems. We argue that an inside investor cannot provide a hard budget constraint while a less well informed outsider can. Therefore, the venture capitalist delegates the continuation decision to the outsider by ex ante restricting the amount of capital he has under management. The soft budget constraint problem becomes the more important the higher the entrepreneur’s private benefits are and the higher the probability of failure of a project is.

Suggested Citation

  • Gebhardt, Georg, 2006. "A Soft Budget Constraint Explanation for the Venture Capital Cycle," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 173, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:173
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Dirk Bergemann & Ulrigh Hege, 2005. "The Financing of Innovation: Learning and Stopping," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 719-752, Winter.
    4. Gompers, Paul & Lerner, Josh, 1996. "The Use of Covenants: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Partnership Agreements," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 463-498, October.
    5. Kornai, J, 1979. "Resource-Constrained versus Demand-Constrained Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 801-819, July.
    6. Darwin V. Neher, 1999. "Staged Financing: An Agency Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 255-274.
    7. Gompers, Paul & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "An analysis of compensation in the U.S. venture capital partnership," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 3-44, January.
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    14. Joshua Lerner, 1994. "The Syndication of Venture Capital Investments," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 23(3), Fall.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Contract Theory; Corporate Finance; Venture Capital;

    JEL classification:

    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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