In this paper we examine a new effect of risky debt on a firm's investment strategy. We call this effect " accelerated investment" It stems from a potential loss of investment option in the event of default. The possibility of default reduces the value of the option to wait and provides equity holders with an incentive to speed up investment. As a result, in the absence of wealth expropriation by a levered firm's debt holders, its shareholders exercise their investment option earlier than the shareholders of an otherwise identical all-equity firm. This result is at odds with the generally accepted intuition that in the absence of potential wealth transfers and taxes the shareholders of a levered firm would follow the same investment policy as that of an unlevered firm. In addition to providing various illustrations of the accelerated investment effect, we relate its magnitude to the presence of competition for investment opportunities.
- Accelerated investment
- Real options