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Agency Costs, Risk Management, and Capital Structure

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  • Hayne E. Leland.

Abstract

The joint determination of capital structure and investment risk is examined. Optimal capital structure reflects both the tax advantages of debt less default costs (Modigliani-Miller), and the agency costs resulting from asset substitution (Jensen-Meckling). Agency costs restrict leverage and debt maturity and increase yield spreads, but their importance is relatively small for the range of environments considered. Risk management is also examined. Hedging permits greater leverage. Even when a firm cannot precommit to hedging, it will still do so. Surprisingly, hedging benefits often are greater when agency costs are low.

Suggested Citation

  • Hayne E. Leland., 1998. "Agency Costs, Risk Management, and Capital Structure," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-278, University of California at Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbrf:rpf-278
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