Debt, Agency Costs, and Industry Equilibrium

  • Author(s): VOJISLAV MAKSIMOVIC, JOSEF ZECHNER
  • Published: Apr 30, 2012
  • Pages: 1619-1643
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1991.tb04637.x

ABSTRACT

We show that risk characteristics of projects' cash flows are endogenously determined by the investment decisions of all firms in an industry. As a result, in reasonable settings, financial structures which create incentives to expropriate debtholders by increasing risk are shown not to reduce value in an industry equilibrium. Without taxes, capital structure is irrelevant for individual firms despite its effect on the equityholders' incentives, but the maximum total amount of debt in the industry is determinate. Allowing for a corporate tax advantage of debt, capital structure becomes relevant but firms are indifferent between distinct alternative debt levels.

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