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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Real Effects of Bank Capital Regulations: Global Evidence

Yota D. Deli Iftekhar Hasan

in: Journal of Banking & Finance, 2017

Abstract

We examine the effect of the full set of bank capital regulations (capital stringency) on loan growth, using bank-level data for a maximum of 125 countries over the period 1998–2011. Contrary to standard theoretical considerations, we find that overall capital stringency only has a weak negative effect on loan growth. In fact, this effect is completely offset if banks hold moderately high levels of capital. Interestingly, the components of capital stringency that have the strongest negative effect on loan growth are those related to the prevention of banks to use as capital borrowed funds and assets other than cash or government securities. In contrast, compliance with Basel guidelines in using Basel- and credit-risk weights has a much less potent effect on loan growth.

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Direct and Indirect Risk-taking Incentives of Inside Debt

Stefano Colonnello Giuliano Curatola Ngoc Giang Hoang

in: Journal of Corporate Finance, August 2017

Abstract

We develop a model of compensation structure and asset risk choice, where a risk-averse manager is compensated with salary, equity and inside debt. We seek to understand the joint implications of this compensation package for managerial risk-taking incentives and credit spreads. We show that the size and seniority of inside debt not only are crucial for the relation between inside debt and credit spreads but also play an important role in shaping the relation between equity compensation and credit spreads. Using a sample of U.S. public firms with traded credit default swap contracts, we provide evidence supportive of the model's predictions.

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Do Local Banking Market Structures Matter for SME Financing and Performance? New Evidence from an Emerging Economy

Iftekhar Hasan Krzysztof Jackowicz Oskar Kowalewski Łukasz Kozłowski

in: Journal of Banking & Finance, 2017

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between local banking structures and SMEs’ access to debt and performance. Using a unique dataset on bank branch locations in Poland and firm-, county-, and bank-level data, we conclude that a strong position for local cooperative banks facilitates access to bank financing, lowers financial costs, boosts investments, and favours growth for SMEs. Moreover, counties in which cooperative banks hold a strong position are characterized by a more rapid pace of new firm creation. The opposite effects appear in the majority of cases for local banking markets dominated by foreign-owned banks. Consequently, our findings are important from a policy perspective because they show that foreign bank entry and industry consolidation may raise valid concerns for SME prospects in emerging economies.

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The Risk‐Taking Channel of Monetary Policy in the U.S.: Evidence from Corporate Loan Data

Manthos D. Delis Iftekhar Hasan Nikolaos Mylonidis

in: Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, No. 1, 2017

Abstract

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.

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The Effect of Board Directors from Countries with Different Genetic Diversity Levels on Corporate Performance

Manthos D. Delis Chrysovalantis Gaganis Iftekhar Hasan Fotios Pasiouras

in: Management Science, No. 1, 2017

Abstract

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.

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Working Papers

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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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Effectiveness and (In)Efficiencies of Compensation Regulation: Evidence from the EU Banker Bonus Cap

Stefano Colonnello Michael Koetter Konstantin Wagner

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 7, 2018

Abstract

We study if the regulation of bank executive compensation has unintended consequences. Based on novel data on CEO and non-CEO executives in EU banking, we show that capping the variable-to-fixed compensation ratio did not induce executives to abandon the industry. Banks indemnified executives sufficiently for the shock to retain them by raising fixed and lowering variable compensation while complying with the cap. At the same time, banks‘ risk-adjusted performance deteriorated due to increased idiosyncratic risk. Collateral damage for the financial system as a whole appears modest though, as average co-movement of banks with the market declined under the cap.

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Internal Governance and Creditor Governance: Evidence from Credit Default Swaps

Stefano Colonnello

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 6, 2017

Abstract

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.

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