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Pension Plan Funding and Stock Market Efficiency

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  • FRANCESCO FRANZONI
  • JOSÉ M. MARÍN

Abstract

The paper argues that the market significantly overvalues firms with severely underfunded pension plans. These companies earn lower stock returns than firms with healthier pension plans for at least 5 years after the first emergence of the underfunding. The low returns are not explained by risk, price momentum, earnings momentum, or accruals. Further, the evidence suggests that investors do not anticipate the impact of the pension liability on future earnings, and they are surprised when the negative implications of underfunding ultimately materialize. Finally, underfunded firms have poor operating performance, and they earn low returns, although they are value companies. Copyright 2006 by The American Finance Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Finance Association in its journal The Journal of Finance.

Volume (Year): 61 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 921-956

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:61:y:2006:i:2:p:921-956

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References

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  1. Martin Feldstein & Randall Morck, 1985. "Pension Funding Decisions, Interest Rate Assumptions and Share Prices," NBER Working Papers 0938, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Luboš Pástor & Robert F. Stambaugh, . "Liquidity Risk and Expected Stock Returns," CRSP working papers 531, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
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  7. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
  8. Feldstein, Martin & Seligman, Stephanie, 1981. "Pension Funding, Share Prices, and National Savings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(4), pages 801-24, September.
  9. Chan, Louis K C & Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Lakonishok, Josef, 1996. " Momentum Strategies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(5), pages 1681-1713, December.
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  11. Daniel Bergstresser & Mihir A. Desai & Joshua Rauh, 2004. "Earnings Manipulation and Managerial Investment Decisions: Evidence from Sponsored Pension Plans," NBER Working Papers 10543, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Jeremy I. Bulow & Randall Morck & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "How Does the Market Value Unfunded Pension Liabilities?," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 81-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-65, June.
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  16. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Edward M. Werner, 2011. "The value relevance of pension accounting information: evidence from Fortune 200 firms," Review of Accounting and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 10(4), pages 427-458, November.
  2. David A. Love & Paul A. Smith & David Wilcox, 2009. "Should risky firms offer risk-free DB pensions?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Sevinc Cukurova & Jose M. Marin, 2011. "On the economics of hedge fund drawdown status: Performance, insurance selling and darwinian selection," Working Papers 2011-04, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  4. Francesco Franzoni & José M. Marin, 2005. "Portable Alphas from Pension Mispricing," Working Papers 227, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Love, David A. & Smith, Paul A. & Wilcox, David W., 2011. "The effect of regulation on optimal corporate pension risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 18-35, July.
  6. Alderson, Michael J. & Betker, Brian L., 2009. "Were internal capital markets affected by the 'perfect' pension storm?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 257-271, April.
  7. Aggarwal, Raj & Goodell, John W., 2013. "Political-economy of pension plans: Impact of institutions, gender, and culture," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1860-1879.
  8. Daniel Bergstresser & Mihir A. Desai & Joshua Rauh, 2004. "Earnings Manipulation and Managerial Investment Decisions: Evidence from Sponsored Pension Plans," NBER Working Papers 10543, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kazuo Yoshida & Yutaka Horiba, 2012. "Determinants of Defined-Contribution Japanese Corporate Pension Coverage," The Japanese Accounting Review, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University, vol. 2, pages 33-47, December.
  10. Atanasova, Christina & Hrazdil, Karel, 2010. "Why do healthy firms freeze their defined-benefit pension plans?," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 293-303.
  11. John Y. Campbell & Jens Hilscher & Jan Szilagyi, 2005. "In Searach of Distress Risk," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2081, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Cathy Beaudoin & Nandini Chandar & Edward M. Werner, 2010. "Are potential effects of SFAS 158 associated with firms' decisions to freeze their defined benefit pension plans?," Review of Accounting and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 9(4), pages 424 - 451, November.
  13. An, Heng & Huang, Zhaodan & Zhang, Ting, 2013. "What determines corporate pension fund risk-taking strategy?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 597-613.
  14. Nakajima, Kan & Sasaki, Takafumi, 2010. "Unfunded pension liabilities and stock returns," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-63, January.
  15. Franzoni, Francesco, 2009. "Underinvestment vs. overinvestment: Evidence from price reactions to pension contributions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 491-518, June.

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