Economic Sentiment: Disentangling Private Information from Public Knowledge
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper addresses a general problem with the use of surveys as source of information about the state of an economy: Answers to surveys are highly dependent on information that is publicly available, while only additional information that is not already publicly known has the potential to improve a professional forecast. We propose a simple procedure to disentangle the private information of agents from knowledge that is already publicly known for surveys that ask for general as well as for private prospects. Our results reveal the potential of our proposed technique for the usage of European Commissions‘ consumer surveys for economic forecasting for Germany.
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Consumer Defaults and Social Capital
Journal of Financial Stability,
Using account level data from a credit bureau, we study the role that social capital plays in consumer default decisions. We find that borrowers in communities with greater social capital are significantly less likely to default on loans, even after adjusting for different levels of income and other characteristics such as credit scores. The results are strongest for potentially strategic defaults on mortgages; a one standard deviation increase in social capital reduces such defaults by 12.4 %. These results can be generalized to any mortgage default. Our results also indicate that the effect of social capital is most prominent among more creditworthy borrowers, suggesting that when given a choice, the social cost of defaulting is an important factor affecting default decisions. We find a similar impact of social capital on consumer defaults in other datasets with more detailed information on borrowers as well. Our results are robust to modeling and methodology choices, as well as controlling for other drivers of default such as wealth, income and amenities from homeownership. Our results suggest that increasing social capital via measures to build community cohesion such as promotion of owner-occupied home ownership may be one avenue to deter consumer default.
The State Expropriation Risk and the Pricing of Foreign Earnings
Journal of International Accounting Research,
We examine the pricing of U.S. multinational firms' foreign earnings in regard to their risk of expropriation and unfair treatment by the governments of the countries in which their international subsidiaries are located. Using 8,891 firm-years observations during the 2001–2013 period, we find that the value relevance of foreign earnings increases with the improvement of the protection from state expropriation risk in the subsidiary host-countries. Our results are not driven by the earnings management practice, investor distraction, country informativeness, and political and trade relationship of a foreign country with the U.S. Furthermore, our results are robust to the confounding effects of country factors, measurement error in the variable of the risk of expropriation, the influence of private contracting institutions, and endogeneity in the decision of the location of subsidiaries.
Managerial Biases and Debt Contract Design: The Case of Syndicated Loans
We examine whether managerial overconfidence impacts the use of performance-pricing provisions in loan contracts (performance-sensitive debt [PSD]). Managers with biased views may issue PSD because they consider this form of debt to be mispriced. Our evidence shows that overconfident managers are more likely to issue rate-increasing PSD than regular debt. They choose PSD with steeper performance-pricing schedules than those chosen by rational managers. We reject the possibility that overconfident managers have (persistent) positive private information and use PSD for signaling. Finally, firms seem to benefit less from using PSD ex post if they are managed by overconfident rather than rational managers.
What Drives Discretion in Bank Lending? Some Evidence and a Link to Private Information
Journal of Banking & Finance,
We assess the extent to which discretion, unexplained variations in the terms of a loan contract, has varied across time and lending institutions and show that part of this discretion is due to private information that lenders have on their borrowers. We find that discretion is lower for secured loans and loans granted by a larger group of lenders, and is larger when the lenders are larger and more profitable. Over time, discretion is also lower around recessions although the private information content is higher. The results suggest that bank discretionary and private information acquisition behavior may be important features of the credit cycle.
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