The Effect of Foreign Institutional Ownership on Corporate Tax Avoidance: International Evidence
Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation,
We find that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) reduce their investee firms’ tax avoidance. We provide evidence that the effect is driven by the institutional distance between FIIs’ home countries/regions and host countries/regions. Specifically, we find that the effect is driven by the influence of FIIs from countries/regions with high-quality institutions (i.e., common law, high government effectiveness, and high regulatory quality) on investee firms located in countries/regions with low-quality institutions. Furthermore, we show that the effect is concentrated on FIIs with little experience in the investee countries/regions or FIIs with stronger monitoring incentives. Finally, we find that FIIs are more likely to vote against management if the firm has a higher level of tax avoidance.
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 Case for a European Rating Agency: Evidence from the Eurozone Sovereign Debt Crisis
Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money,
Politicians frequently voice that European bond issuers would benefit from the presence of a Europe-based rating agency. We take Fitch as a prototype for such an agency. With its ownership structure and a headquarter in London, Fitch is more European than Moody’s and S&P; during the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, it also issued more favorable ratings. Fitch’s rating actions, however, were largely ignored by the bond market. Our results thus cast doubt on the benefits of a European credit rating agency.
The Effect of Personal Bankruptcy Exemptions on Investment in Home Equity
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
Homestead exemptions to personal bankruptcy allow households to retain their home equity up to a limit determined at the state level. Households that may experience bankruptcy thus have an incentive to bias their portfolios towards home equity. Using US household data for the period 1996 to 2006, we find that household demand for real estate is relatively high if the marginal investment in home equity is covered by the exemption. The home equity bias is more pronounced for younger and less healthy households that face more financial uncertainty and therefore have a higher ex ante probability of bankruptcy. These results suggest that homestead exemptions have an important bearing on the portfolio allocation of US households and the extent to which they insure against bad shocks.