Law and Finance

This research 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 Cluster
Institutions and Social Norms

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Professor Stefano Colonnello, PhD
Professor Stefano Colonnello, PhD
Mitglied - Department Financial Markets
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Refereed Publications

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The Economic Impact of Changes in Local Bank Presence

Iftekhar Hasan Krzysztof Jackowicz Oskar Kowalewski Łukasz Kozłowski

in: Regional Studies, No. 5, 2019

Abstract

This study analyzes the economic consequences of changes in the local bank presence. Using a unique data set of banks, firms and counties in Poland over the period 2009–14, it is shown that changes strengthening the relationship banking model are associated with local labour market improvements and easier small and medium-sized enterprise access to bank debt. However, only the appearance of new, more aggressive owners of large commercial banks stimulates new firm creation.

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Lock‐in Effects in Relationship Lending: Evidence from DIP Loans

Iftekhar Hasan Gabriel G. Ramírez Gaiyan Zhang

in: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, No. 4, 2019

Abstract

Do prior lending relationships result in pass‐through savings (lower interest rates) for borrowers, or do they lock in higher costs for borrowers? Theoretical models suggest that when borrowers experience greater information asymmetry, higher switching costs, and limited access to capital markets, they become locked into higher costs from their existing lenders. Firms in Chapter 11 seeking debtor‐in‐possession (DIP) financing often fit this profile. We investigate the presence of lock‐in effects using a sample of 348 DIP loans. We account for endogeneity using the instrument variable (IV) approach and the Heckman selection model and find consistent evidence that prior lending relationship is associated with higher interest costs and the effect is more severe for stronger existing relationships. Our study provides direct evidence that prior lending relationships do create a lock‐in effect under certain circumstances, such as DIP financing.

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On the Effect of Business and Economic University Education on Political Ideology: An Empirical Note

Manthos D. Delis Iftekhar Hasan Maria Iosifidi

in: Journal of Business Ethics, 2019

Abstract

We empirically test the hypothesis that a major in economics, management, business administration or accounting (for simplicity referred to as Business/Economics) leads to more-conservative (right-wing) political views. We use a panel dataset of individuals (repeated observations for the same individuals over time) living in the Netherlands, drawing data from the Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences from 2008 through 2013. Our results show that when using a simple fixed effects model, which fully controls for individuals’ time-invariant traits, any statistically and quantitatively significant effect of a major in Business/Economics on the Political Ideology of these individuals disappears. We posit that, at least in our sample, there is no evidence for a causal effect of a major in Business/Economics on individuals’ Political Ideology.

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Trust in Banks

Zuzana Fungáčová Iftekhar Hasan Laurent Weill

in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2019

Abstract

Trust in banks is considered essential for an effective financial system, yet little is known about what determines trust in banks. Only a handful of single-country studies discuss the topic, so this paper aims to fill the gap by providing a cross-country analysis on the level and determinants of trust in banks. Using World Values Survey data covering 52 countries during the period 2010–2014, we observe large cross-country differences in trust in banks and confirm the influence of several sociodemographic indicators. Our main findings include: women tend to trust banks more than men; trust in banks tends to increase with income, but decrease with age and education; and access to television enhances trust, while internet access erodes trust. Additionally, religious, political, and economic values affect trust in banks. Notably, religious individuals tend to put greater trust in banks, but differences are observed across denominations. The holding of pro-market economic views is also associated with greater trust in banks.

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The Role of Auditors in Merger and Acquisition Completion Time

Salim Chahine Iftekhar Hasan Mohamad Mazboudi

in: International Journal of Auditing, No. 3, 2018

Abstract

Using a sample of 664 merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions and office‐level audit data, this study investigates the role of auditors in M&A completion time. We find that having a common auditor for both acquirer and target firms in M&A transactions increases the completion time of such transactions because the exposure to higher litigation and reputational costs outweighs the information‐access advantage of common auditors. However, auditors' past experience in M&A transactions helps reduce completion time and costs. These results are robust to having Big N auditors at both ends as well as to various acquirer, target, and deal characteristics.

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Working Papers

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Competition, Cost Structure, and Labour Leverage: Evidence from the U.S. Airline Industry

Konstantin Wagner

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 21, 2020

Abstract

I study the effect of increasing competition on financial performance through labour leverage. To capture competition, I exploit variation in product market contestability in the U.S. airline industry. First, I find that increasing competitive pressure leads to increasing labour leverage, proxied by labour share. This explains the decrease in operating profitability through labour rigidities. Second, by exploiting variation in human capital specificity, I show that contestability of product markets induces labour market contestability. Whereas affected firms might experience more stress through higher wages or loss of skilled human capital, more mobile employee groups benefit from competitions through higher labour shares.

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Marginal Returns to Talent for Material Risk Takers in Banking

Moritz Stieglitz Konstantin Wagner

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 20, 2020

Abstract

Economies of scale can explain compensation differentials over time, across firms of different size, different hierarchy-levels, and different industries. Consequently, the most talented individuals tend to match with the largest firms in industries where marginal returns to their talent are greatest. We explore a new dimension of this size-pay nexus by showing that marginal returns also differ across activities within firms and industries. Using hand-collected data on managers in European banks well below the level of executive directors, we find that the size-pay nexus is strongest for investment banking business units and for banks with a market-based business model. Thus, managerial compensation is most sensitive to size increases for activities that can easily be scaled up.

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Benign Neglect of Covenant Violations: Blissful Banking or Ignorant Monitoring?

Stefano Colonnello Michael Koetter Moritz Stieglitz

in: IWH Discussion Papers, forthcoming

Abstract

Theoretically, bank‘s loan monitoring activity hinges critically on its capitalisation. To proxy for monitoring intensity, we use changes in borrowers‘ investment following loan covenant violations, when creditors can intervene in the governance of the firm. Exploiting granular bank-firm relationships observed in the syndicated loan market, we document substantial heterogeneity in monitoring across banks and through time. Better capitalised banks are more lenient monitors that intervene less with covenant violators. Importantly, this hands-off approach is associated with improved borrowers‘ performance. Beyond enhancing financial resilience, regulation that requires banks to hold more capital may thus also mitigate the tightening of credit terms when firms experience shocks.

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Firm-level Employment, Labour Market Reforms, and Bank Distress

Moritz Stieglitz Ralph Setzer

in: ECB Working Paper Series, No. 2334, 2019

Abstract

We explore the interaction between labour market reforms and financial frictions. Our study combines a new cross-country reform database on labour market reforms with matched firm-bank data for nine euro area countries over the period 1999 to 2013. While we find that labour market reforms are overall effective in increasing employment, restricted access to bank credit can undo up to half of long-term employment gains at the firm-level. Entrepreneurs without sufficient access to credit cannot reap the full benefits of more flexible employment regulation.

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Firm-level Employment, Labour Market Reforms, and Bank Distress

Ralph Setzer Moritz Stieglitz

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 15, 2019

Abstract

We explore the interaction between labour market reforms and financial frictions. Our study combines a new cross-country reform database on labour market reforms with matched firm-bank data for nine euro area countries over the period 1999 to 2013. While we find that labour market reforms are overall effective in increasing employment, restricted access to bank credit can undo up to half of long-term employment gains at the firm-level. Entrepreneurs without sufficient access to credit cannot reap the full benefits of more flexible employment regulation.

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