Optimal Capital Structure: Reflections on Economic and Other Values
24 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2007
Date Written: December 12, 2006
Despite a vast literature on the capital structure of the firm there still is a big gap between theory and practice. Starting with the seminal work by Modigliani & Miller, much attention has been paid to the optimality of capital structure from the shareholders’ point of view. Over the last few decades studies have been produced on the effect of other stakeholders’ interests on capital structure. Well-known examples are the interests of customers who receive product or service guarantees from the company. Another area that has received considerable attention is the relation between managerial incentives and capital structure. Furthermore, the issue of corporate control and, related, the issue of corporate governance, receive a lion’s part of the more recent academic attention for capital structure decisions. From all these studies, one thing is clear: The capital structure decision (or rather, the management of the capital structure over time) has to deal with more issues than the maximization of the firm’s market value alone. In this paper, we give an overview of the different objectives and considerations that have been proposed in the literature. We show that capital structure decisions can be framed as multiple criteria decision problems which can then benefit from multiple criteria decision support tools that are widely available.
Keywords: Capital structure, MCDA, Multi criteria decision analysis
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