Irrelevance Proposition Theorem

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Irrelevance Proposition Theorem'

A theory of corporate capital structure that posits financial leverage has no effect on the value of a company if income tax and distress costs are not present in the business environment. The irrelevance proposition theorem was developed by Merton Miller and Franco Modigliani, and was a premise to their Nobel Prize winning work, “The Cost of Capital, Corporation Finance, and Theory of Investment.”

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Irrelevance Proposition Theorem'

In developing their theory, Miller and Modigliani first assumed that firms have two primary ways of obtaining funding: equity and debt. While each type of funding has its own benefits and drawbacks, the ultimate outcome is a firm dividing up its cash flows to investors, regardless of the funding source chosen. If all investors have access to the same financial markets, then investors can buy into or sell out of a firm’s cash flows at any point.

Criticisms of the irrelevance proposition theorem focus on the lack of realism in removing the effects of income tax and distress costs from a firm’s capital structure. Because many factors influence a firm’s value, including profits, assets and market opportunities, testing the theorem becomes difficult. For economists, the theory instead outlines the importance of financing decisions more than providing a description of how financing operations work.

Miller and Modigliani used the irrelevance proposition theorem as a starting point in their trade-off theory.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Search Theory

    A study of buyers and sellers who cannot instantly find a commerce ...
  2. Optimal Capital Structure

    The best debt-to-equity ratio for a firm that maximizes its value. ...
  3. Optimum Currency Area Theory

    A currency thoery based on geographical area that adopts a fixed ...
  4. Freudian Motivation Theory

    A sales theory which surposes that consumers choose whether or ...
  5. Rational Choice Theory

    An economic principle that assumes that individuals always make ...
  6. Labor Theory Of Value

    An economic theory that stipulates that the value of a good or ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the chaos theory?

    The chaos theory is a complicated and disputed mathematical theory that seeks to explain the effect of seemingly insignificant ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How does the market share of a few companies affect the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index ...

    In economics and commercial law, the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) is a widely used measure that indicates the amount ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What debt to equity ratio is common for a bank?

    The average debt-to-equity ratio for retail and commercial U.S. banks, as of January 2015, is approximately 2.2. For investment ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How can an investor evaluate the leverage of an insurance company?

    For investors conducting fundamental analyses of insurance companies, leverage can have multiple definitions. Insurance leverage ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What does the rule of 70 indicate about a country's future economic growth?

    The rule of 70 could be used to indicate the approximate number of years that it would take a company's economic growth to ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How is the rule of 70 related to the growth rate of a variable?

    The rule of 70 is related to the growth rate of a variable because it uses the growth rate in its approximation of the number ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Evaluating A Company's Capital Structure

    Learn to use the composition of debt and equity to evaluate balance sheet strength.
  2. Investing Basics

    Modern Portfolio Theory vs. Behavioral Finance

    Modern portfolio theory and behavioral finance represent differing schools of thought that attempt to explain investor behavior. Perhaps the easiest way to think about their arguments and positions ...
  3. Investing Basics

    The Optimal Use Of Financial Leverage In A Corporate Capital Structure

    The amount of debt and equity that makes up a company's capital structure has many risk and return implications.
  4. Fundamental Analysis

    Calculating Future Value

    Future value is the value of an asset or cash at a specified date in the future that is equivalent in value to a specified sum today.
  5. Economics

    What is Deadweight Loss?

    Mainly used in economics, deadweight loss can be applied to any deficiency caused by an inefficient allocation of resources.
  6. Economics

    How to Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis

    The benefits of a given situation or business-related action are summed and then the costs associated with taking that action are subtracted.
  7. Fundamental Analysis

    Calculating the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI)

    The Herfindhal-Hirschman Index, (HHI) is a measure of market concentration and competition among market participants.
  8. Investing

    How To Implement A Smart Beta Investing Strategy

    Smart beta investing is the notion of re-writing investment rules to improve investment outcomes by targeting exposures to intuitive ideas or factors.
  9. Economics

    Explaining Debt

    Debt is any amount a borrower owes a lender.
  10. Personal Finance

    7 Bankrupt Companies That Came Back

    Bankruptcy is often the end of a company – until it isn't.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Stop-Loss Order

    An order placed with a broker to sell a security when it reaches a certain price. A stop-loss order is designed to limit ...
  2. Covered Call

    An options strategy whereby an investor holds a long position in an asset and writes (sells) call options on that same asset ...
  3. Butterfly Spread

    A neutral option strategy combining bull and bear spreads. Butterfly spreads use four option contracts with the same expiration ...
  4. Unlevered Beta

    A type of metric that compares the risk of an unlevered company to the risk of the market. The unlevered beta is the beta ...
  5. Moving Average - MA

    A widely used indicator in technical analysis that helps smooth out price action by filtering out the “noise” from random ...
  6. Yield Curve

    A line that plots the interest rates, at a set point in time, of bonds having equal credit quality, but differing maturity ...
Trading Center