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Leverage Choice and Credit Spreads when Managers Risk Shift

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  • MURRAY CARLSON
  • ALI LAZRAK
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    Abstract

    We model the debt and asset risk choice of a manager with performance-insensitive pay (cash) and performance-sensitive pay (stock) to theoretically link compensation structure, leverage, and credit spreads. The model predicts that optimal leverage trades off the tax benefit of debt against the utility cost of ex-post asset substitution and that credit spreads are increasing in the ratio of cash-to-stock. Using a large cross-section of U.S.-based corporate credit default swaps (CDS) covering 2001 to 2006, we find a positive association between cash-to-stock and CDS rates, and between cash-to-stock and leverage ratios. Copyright (c) 2010 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): 65 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 6 (December)
    Pages: 2323-2362

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:65:y:2010:i:6:p:2323-2362

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    Cited by:
    1. Colonnello, Stefano & Curatola, Giuliano & Ngoc Giang Hoang, 2014. "Executive compensation structure and credit spreads," SAFE Working Paper Series 60, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    2. Strebulaev, Ilya A. & Whited, Toni M., 2012. "Dynamic Models and Structural Estimation in Corporate Finance," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 6(1–2), pages 1-163, November.
    3. Bhamra, Harjoat S. & Fisher, Adlai J. & Kuehn, Lars-Alexander, 2011. "Monetary policy and corporate default," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(5), pages 480-494.
    4. Dezső, Cristian L. & Ross, David Gaddis, 2012. "Are banks happy when managers go long? The information content of managers’ vested option holdings for loan pricing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 395-410.

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