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Measuring the Agency Cost of Debt

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ABSTRACT

We adapt a contingent claims model of the firm to reflect the incentive effects of the capital structure and thereby to measure the agency costs of debt. An underlying model of the firm and the stochastic features of its product market are analyzed and an optimal operating policy is chosen. We identify the change in operating policy created by leverage and value this change. The model determines the value of the firm and its associated liabilities incorporating the agency consequences of debt.

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