Debt, Equity, and Information

31 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2010 Last revised: 12 Apr 2020

Date Written: September 28, 2013


Most firms issue financial assets such as debt or equity (e.g. bonds or stock) to outside investors. While these financial assets differ greatly in their characteristics, their diversity has received little attention in the literature. Filling this important gap in the literature, this paper views debt and equity as financial contracts and asks why they are optimal instead of other financial contracts. By endogenizing the bankruptcy process, this paper shows how debt and equity arise as a consequence of an optimal allocation of cash-flow rights and monitoring rights, and how equity leads to dividend signaling.

Keywords: financial contracting, security design, debt and equity, monitoring, information asymmetry, renegotiation and bargaining

JEL Classification: C78, D82, D86, G32, G33, G35

Suggested Citation

Buehlmaier, Matthias M. M., Debt, Equity, and Information (September 28, 2013). Journal of Mathematical Economics, 50 (2014): 54-62, Available at SSRN: or

Matthias M. M. Buehlmaier (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong
+852 2219 4177 (Phone)
+852 2548 1152 (Fax)


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