Resolving the Agency Problems of External Capital through Options

  • Author(s): ROBERT A. HAUGEN, LEMMA W. SENBET
  • Published: Apr 30, 2012
  • Pages: 629-647
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1981.tb00649.x

ABSTRACT

This paper investigates the role of stock options in resolving the agency problems of external capital as originally identified by Jensen and Meckling (1976). These problems are precipitated by managerial incentives a) to consume excessive non‐pecuniary benefits or perquisites beyond the optimal level for sole ownership and b) to engage in risk shifting in productive decisions so as to transfer wealth from external capital contributors. These incentive problems can be resolved through a strategy that judiciously combines call and put options retained by the owner‐manager and external financiers, respectively. The resolution of the agency problems through this mechanism provides an economic rationale for the existence of managerial stock options and convertible debt.

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