A Theory of Capital Structure Relevance under Imperfect Information

  • Author(s): ROBERT HEINKEL
  • Published: Apr 30, 2012
  • Pages: 1141-1150
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1982.tb03608.x


Firms raise debt and equity capital to finance a positive net present value project in perfectly competitive capital markets; firm insiders know the function generating the random firm cash flow but potential capital suppliers do not. Taking into account the incentives of insiders to misrepresent their firm type, capital suppliers attempt to design financing mixes of debt and equity that eliminate the adverse incentives of insiders and correctly price securities. Necessary conditions for a costless separating equilibrium are developed to show that the amount of debt used by a firm is monotonically related to its unobservable true value.

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