DEFINITION of 'Residual Equity Theory '
An accounting concept that says that common stockholders take the greatest risk when they buy into a company; therefore, they should have sufficient information about the company's financial standing and performance to make sound investment decisions. Residual equity is calculated by subtracting the claims of bondholders and preferred shareholders from the company's total assets.
BREAKING DOWN 'Residual Equity Theory '
Residual equity theory was developed by George Staubus, Professor Emeritus of Accounting at Berkeley's Haas School of Business. A company's residual equity holders take the greatest risk of all the company's stakeholders because they are the last in line to be repaid if the company goes under. Residual equity theory is one of several equity theories; the others are proprietary theory and entity theory.