IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Bond Prices, Yield Spreads, and Optimal Capital Structure with Default Risk

Listed author(s):
  • Hayne Leland.

This paper examines the value of debt subject to default risk in a continuous time framework. By considering debt with regular principal repayments (e.g. through a sinking fund), we are able to examine bonds with arbitrary maturity while retaining a time-homogeneous environment. This extends Leland's [1994] earlier closed-form results to a much richer class of possible debt structures. We examine the term structure of yield spreads and find that a rise in interest rates will reduce yield spreads of current debt issues. It may tilt the term structure as well. Duration is also affected by default risk. The traditional Macaulay duration measure overstates effective duration, which for junk bonds may even be negative. While short term debt does not exploit tax benefits as completely as does long term debt, it is more likely to provide incentive compatibility between debt holders and equity holders. The agency costs of asset substitution are minimized when firms use shorter term debt. Optimal capital structure depends upon debt maturity. Optimal leverage ratios are smaller, and maximal firm values are less, when short term debt is used. The yield spread at the optimal leverage ratio increases with debt maturity.

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Paper provided by University of California at Berkeley in its series Research Program in Finance Working Papers with number RPF-240.

in new window

Date of creation: 01 Nov 1994
Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbrf:rpf-240
Contact details of provider: Postal:
University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA USA

Phone: 510-642-0822
Fax: 510-642-6615
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: IBER, F502 Haas Building, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley CA 94720-1922

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucb:calbrf:rpf-240. 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: (Christopher F. Baum)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.