Law and Finance
This research group belongs to the IWH Research Cluster Institutions and Social Norms. The group studies the role of corporate governance for firm value and policies, with a focus on firm-creditor relationships and legal institutions. We plan to investigate these issues along three lines of research. First, we look at how financial and legal innovations impact firm-creditor relationships. In a project, we examine how the possibility to hedge against credit risk on a firm’s debt through credit default swaps (CDS) may alter such relationships by reducing creditors’ incentives to monitor the firm. The second line of research explores theoretically and empirically how the dynamics of debtor-creditor conflicts shape managerial incentives, and how these in turn influence the firm's cost of debt. The third line of research relates to the role of the court system for firms. The outcome of a legal dispute has two main sources: The applicable laws and the courts that enforce them. We shed light on the role of courts in determining the impact of legal conflicts on firm value.
Research ClusterInstitutions and Social Norms
The Impacts of Intellectual Property Rights Protection on Cross-Border M&As
in: Quarterly Journal of Finance , No. 3, 2017
We investigate the impacts of improved intellectual property rights (IPR) protection on cross-border Mergers and Acquisitions performance. Using multiple measures of IPR protection and based on generalized difference-in-differences estimates, we find that countries with better IPR protection attract significantly more hi-tech cross-border Mergers and Acquisitions activity, particularly in developing economies. Moreover, acquirers pay higher premiums for companies in countries with better IPR protection, and there is a significantly higher acquirer announcement effect associated with these hi-tech transactions.
The risk-taking channel of monetary policy in the USA: Evidence from micro-level data
in: Journal of Money Credit and Banking , No. 1, 2017
To study the presence of a risk-taking channel in the U.S., we build a comprehensive data set from the syndicated corporate loan market and measure monetary policy using different measures, most notably Taylor (1993) and Romer and Romer (2004) residuals. We identify a negative relation between monetary policy rates and bank risk-taking, especially in the run up to the 2007 financial crisis. However, this effect is purely supply-side driven only when using Taylor residuals and an ex ante measure of bank risk-taking. Our results highlight the sensitivity of the potency of the risk-taking channel to the measures of monetary policy innovations.
The Effect of Board Directors from Countries with Different Genetic Diversity Levels on Corporate Performance
in: Management Science , No. 1, 2017
We link genetic diversity in the country of origin of the firms’ board members with corporate performance via board members’ nationality. We hypothesize that our approach captures deep-rooted differences in cultural, institutional, social, psychological, physiological, and other traits that cannot be captured by other recently measured indices of diversity. Using a panel of firms listed in the North American and UK stock markets, we find that adding board directors from countries with different levels of genetic diversity (either higher or lower) increases firm performance. This effect prevails when we control for a number of cultural, institutional, firm-level, and board member characteristics, as well as for the nationality of the board of directors. To identify the relationship, we use—as instrumental variables for our diversity indices—the migratory distance from East Africa and the level of ultraviolet exposure in the directors’ country of nationality.
Urban Agglomeration and CEO Compensation
in: Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis , No. 6, 2016
We examine the relation between the agglomeration of firms around big cities and chief executive officer (CEO) compensation. We find a positive relation among the metropolitan size of a firm’s headquarters, the total and equity portion of its CEO’s pay, and the quality of CEO educational attainment. We also find that CEOs gradually increase their human capital in major metropolitan areas and are rewarded for this upon relocation to smaller cities. Taken together, the results suggest that urban agglomeration reflects local network spillovers and faster learning of skilled individuals, for which firms are willing to pay a premium and which are therefore important factors in CEO compensation.
In Search of Concepts: The Effects of Speculative Demand on Stock Returns
in: European Financial Management , No. 3, 2016
Using a novel proxy of investors' speculative demand constructed from online search interest in investment concepts, we examine how speculative demand affects the returns of Chinese stocks. We find that speculative demand increases following high market returns and predicts subsequent return reversals. Moreover, the speculative demand explains more variation in subsequent returns of A shares (more populated by retail investors) than B shares (less populated by retail investors). Our findings support the recently developed attention theory.
Pricing Sin Stocks: Ethical Preference vs. Risk Aversion
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 20, 2017
We develop a model that reproduces the return and volatility spread between sin and non-sin stocks, where investors trade off dividends with the ethical assessment of companies. We relax the assumption of boycott behaviour and investigate the role played by the dividend share of sin stocks on their return and volatility spread relative to non-sin stocks. We empirically show that the dividend share predicts a positive return and volatility spread. This pattern is reproduced by our model when dividends and ethicalness are complementary goods and investors are sufficiently risk averse.
Internal Governance and Creditor Governance: Evidence from Credit Default Swaps
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 6, 2017
I study the relation between internal governance and creditor governance. A deterioration in creditor governance may increase the agency costs of debt and managerial opportunism at the expense of shareholders. I exploit the introduction of credit default swaps (CDS) as a negative shock to creditor governance. I provide evidence consistent with shareholders pushing for a substitution effect between internal governance and creditor governance. Following CDS introduction, CDS firms reduce managerial risk-taking incentives relative to other firms. At the same time, after the start of CDS trading, CDS firms increase managerial wealth-performance sensitivity, board independence, and CEO turnover performance-sensitivity relative to other firms.
Direct and Indirect Risk-taking Incentives of Inside Debt
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 20, 2016
We develop a model of managerial compensation structure and asset risk choice. The model provides predictions about the relation between credit spreads and different compensation components. First, we show that credit spreads are decreasing in inside debt only if it is unsecured. Second, the relation between credit spreads and equity incentives varies depending on the features of inside debt.
Empty Creditors and Strong Shareholders: The Real Effects of Credit Risk Trading
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 10, 2016
Credit derivatives give creditors the possibility to transfer debt cash flow rights to other market participants while retaining control rights. We use the market for credit default swaps (CDSs) as a laboratory to show that the real effects of such debt unbundling crucially hinge on shareholder bargaining power. We find that creditors buy more CDS protection when facing strong shareholders to secure themselves a valuable outside option in distressed renegotiations. After the start of CDS trading, the distance-to-default, investment, and market value of firms with powerful shareholders drop by 7.9%, 7%, and 8.8% compared to other firms.
Executive Compensation, Macroeconomic Conditions, and Cash Flow Cyclicality
in: IWH Discussion Papers , No. 6, 2016
I model the joint effects of debt, macroeconomic conditions, and cash flow cyclicality on risk-shifting behavior and managerial pay-for-performance sensitivity. I show that risk-shifting incentives rise during recessions and that the shareholders can eliminate such adverse incentives by reducing the equity-based compensation in managerial contracts. I also show that this reduction should be larger in highly procyclical firms. Using a sample of U.S. public firms, I provide evidence supportive of the model’s predictions. First, I find that equity-based incentives are reduced during recessions. Second, I show that the magnitude of this effect is increasing in a firm’s cash flow cyclicality.