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The Influence of Bondholder Concentration and Temporal Orientation on Investments in R&D

Although innovation can be a critical source of competitive advantage, research has found that debt can erode management’s willingness to invest in R&D. In this article, we employ a stakeholder bargaining power perspective to argue that this effect is most pronounced when the firm’s bonds are concentrated in the hands of bond blockholders. Furthermore, we contend that the temporal orientation of bondholders influences this relationship. Specifically, while it is commonly assumed that bondholders have a limited temporal orientation that induces them to focus on short-term value appropriation, we argue that some bond blockholders adopt a long-term temporal orientation. This orientation, in turn, makes them more inclined to support long-term value creation for the firm in the form of enhanced investments in R&D. Moreover, while agency theory suggests that there is an inherent conflict of interest between shareholders and bondholders, our results suggest that the temporal orientation of investors (i.e., both shareholders and bondholders) matters much more than whether they invested in the firm’s equity or its debt.

Authors Pengfei Ye Jonathan O’Brien Christina Matz Carnes Iftekhar Hasan

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Professor Iftekhar Hasan, PhD
Professor Iftekhar Hasan, PhD
Economist

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