Workshop in capital markets: Sanjai Bhagat (University of Colorado)

“Manager Characteristics and Capital Structure: Theory and Evidence”

Date: 05/06/2009, h 12:00

Event location: Collegio Carlo Alberto


We theoretically and empirically investigate the effects of manager-specific characteristics on capital structure. We develop a dynamic principal-agent model in which a manager affects a firm’s earnings through her ability and effort. The manager receives dynamic incentives through explicit contracts with shareholders. We derive the manager’s contracts and implement them through financial securities. The firm’s capital structure is dynamic, and consists of long-term debt, short-term debt, inside equity, and outside equity. The different components of the firm’s capital structure reflect the interactive effects of taxes, bankruptcy costs, as well as agency conflicts between the undiversified manager and well-diversified outside investors. The analysis of the model generates the following novel testable predictions:

– Long-term debt declines with the manager’s ability and with her inside equity ownership in the firm.

– Short-term debt declines with the manager’s ability and increases with her equity ownership.

– Long-term debt increases with earnings risk and decreases with project risk.

We show significant support for the above testable implications in our empirical analysis. Broadly, our study shows that managerial discretion and manager-specific characteristics are important determinants of firms’ financial policies.


Paper: “Manager Characteristics and Capital Structure: Theory and Evidence”

Paper: “Reforming Executive Compensation: Focusing and Committing to the Long-term”  


If you wish to attend the seminar, please register per e-mail ( To book an individual meeting with the speaker, please use the ‘sign up’ function on the Collegio’s website at: