The Geography of Information: Evidence from the Public Debt Market
Bill Francis, Iftekhar Hasan, Maya Waisman
Journal of Economic Geography,
nWe investigate the link between the spatial concentration of firms in large, central metropolitans (i.e. urban agglomeration) and the cost of public corporate debt. Looking at bond issues over the period 1985–2014, we find that bonds issued by companies headquartered in urban agglomerates have lower at-issue yield spreads than bonds issued by firms based in remote, sparsely populated areas. Measures of the count of institutional bondholders in a firm’s vicinity confirm that the spatial cross-sectional variation in bond spreads is driven by the proximity of metropolitan firms to large concentrations of institutional investors. Our results are robust to controls for firm productivity and governance, analyst following, and exogenous shocks to institutional investor attention. The effect of headquarters location on bond spreads is especially pronounced for more difficult to value, speculative-grade bonds, bonds issued by smaller, less visible firms and bonds issued without protective covenants. Overall, we provide evidence that the geographical distribution of firms and investors generates a corresponding distribution of value-relevant, firm-level information that affects its cost of capital.
Environmental Reputational Risk, Negative Media Attention and Financial Performance
Leonardo Becchetti, Rocco Ciciretti, Iftekhar Hasan, Gabriele La Licata
Financial Markets, Institutions and Instruments,
Tracing negative media attention, this paper investigates the effect of reputational risk on firm value. Decomposing reputational damage into environmental, social and corporate-governance dimensions, it reports that environmental reputational risk has the most significant negative effect on price earnings, i.e., firms exposed to environmental risk are likely to be priced at a discount or charged a higher risk premium when discounting future earnings.
Corporate Governance Benefits of Mutual Fund Cooperation
Rex Wang Renji, Patrick Verwijmeren, Shuo Xia
IWH Discussion Papers,
Mutual fund families increasingly hold bonds and stocks from the same firm. We study the implications of such dual holdings for corporate governance and firm decision-making. We present evidence that dual ownership allows financially distressed firms to increase investments and to refinance by issuing bonds with lower yields and fewer restrictive covenants. As such, dual ownership reduces shareholder-creditor conflicts, especially when families encourage cooperation among their managers. Overall, our results suggest that mutual fund families internalize the shareholder-creditor agency conflicts of their portfolio companies, highlighting the positive governance externalities of intra-family cooperation.
What Does Codetermination Do?
Simon Jäger, Shakked Noy, Benjamin Schoefer
The authors provide a comprehensive overview of codetermination, that is, worker representation in firms’ governance and management. The available micro evidence points to zero or small positive effects of codetermination on worker and firm outcomes and leaves room for moderate positive effects on productivity, wages, and job stability. The authors also present new country-level, general-equilibrium event studies of codetermination reforms between the 1960s and 2010s, finding no effects on aggregate economic outcomes or the quality of industrial relations. They offer three explanations for the institution’s limited impact. First, existing codetermination laws convey little authority to workers. Second, countries with codetermination laws have high baseline levels of informal worker voice. Third, codetermination laws may interact with other labor market institutions, such as union representation and collective bargaining. The article closes with a discussion of the implications for recent codetermination proposals in the United States.
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