Strategic Debt Service

  • Published: Apr 18, 2012
  • Pages: 531-556
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1997.tb04812.x


When firms experience financial distress, equity holders may act strategically, forcing concessions from debtholders and paying less than the originally‐contracted interest payments. This article incorporates strategic debt service in a standard, continuous time asset pricing model, developing simple closed‐form expressions for debt and equity values. We find that strategic debt service can account for a substantial proportion of the premium on risky corporate debt. We analyze the efficiency implications of strategic debt service, showing that it can eliminate both direct bankruptcy costs and agency costs of debt.

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