46 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 2018
This paper studies incentives in a dynamic contracting framework of a levered firm. In particular, the manager selects long-term and short-term efforts, while shareholders choose initially optimal leverage and ex-post optimal default policies. There are three results. First, shareholders trade off the benefits of short-termism (current cash flows) against the benefits of higher growth from long-term effort (future cash flows), but because shareholders only split the latter with bondholders, they find short-termism ex-post optimal. Second, bright (grim) growth prospects imply lower (higher) optimal levels of short-termism. Third, the endogenous default threshold rises with the substitutability of tasks and, for a positive correlation of shocks, the endogenous default threshold is hump-shaped in the volatility of permanent shocks, but increases monotonically with the volatility of transitory shocks. Finally, we quantify agency costs of short-term and long-term effort, cost of short-termism, effects of investor time horizons, credit spreads, and risk-shifting.
Keywords: Capital Structure, Contracting, Multi-tasking
JEL Classification: D86, G13, G32, G33, J33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?
This is a CEPR Discussion Paper. CEPR charges a fee of $8.00 for this paper.
If you wish to purchase the right to make copies of this paper for distribution to others, please select the quantity.