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Liquidation Values and the Credibility of Financial Contract Renegotiation: Evidence from U.S. Airlines

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  • Efraim Benmelech

    (Harvard University and NBER)

  • Nittai K. Bergman

    (MIT Sloan School of Management)

Abstract

How do liquidation values affect financial contract renegotiation? While the "incomplete-contracting" theory of financial contracting predicts that liquidation values determine the allocation of bargaining power between creditors and debtors, there is little empirical evidence on financial contract renegotiations and the role asset values play in such bargaining. This paper attempts to fill this gap. We develop an incomplete-contracting model of financial contract renegotiation and estimate it using data on the airline industry in the United States. We find that airlines successfully renegotiate their lease obligations downward when their financial position is sufficiently poor and when the liquidation value of their fleet is low. Our results show that strategic renegotiation is common in the airline industry. Moreover, the results emphasize the importance of the incomplete contracting perspective to real-world financial contract renegotiation. (c) 2008 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 123 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1635-1677

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:4:p:1635-1677

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  1. Kaplan, Steven & Strömberg, Per Johan, 2000. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets The Real World: An Empirical Analysis Of Venture Capital Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 2421, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Andrea Eisfeldt & Adriano Rampini, 2006. "Leasing, Ability to Repossess, and Debt Capacity," 2006 Meeting Papers 461, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Hart, O. & Moore, J., 1991. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," Working papers 592, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Efraim Benmelech & Nittai K. Bergman, 2008. "Collateral Pricing," NBER Working Papers 13874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hart, O. & Moore, J., 1989. "Default And Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model Of Debt," Working papers 520, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Per Strömberg, 2000. "Conflicts of Interest and Market Illiquidity in Bankruptcy Auctions: Theory and Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(6), pages 2641-2692, December.
  7. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
  8. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 473-94, July.
  9. Baird, Douglas G & Picker, Randal C, 1991. "A Simple Noncooperative Bargaining Model of Corporate Reorganizations," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 311-49, June.
  10. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1995. "Debt and Seniority: An Analysis of the Role of Hard Claims in Constraining Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 567-85, June.
  11. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 252, David K. Levine.
  12. Asquith, Paul & Gertner, Robert & Scharfstein, David, 1994. "Anatomy of Financial Distress: An Examination of Junk-Bond Issuers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 625-58, August.
  13. Steven N. Kaplan & Per Str�mberg, 2003. "Financial Contracting Theory Meets the Real World: An Empirical Analysis of Venture Capital Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 281-315.
  14. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Howard F. Chang, 1991. "Bargaining and the Division of Value in Corporate Reorganization," NBER Technical Working Papers 0097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Efraim Benmelech & Mark J. Garmaise & Tobias Moskowitz, 2004. "Do Liquidation Values Affect Financial Contracts? Evidence from Commercial Loan Contracts and Zoning Regulation," NBER Working Papers 11004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Benmelech, Efraim & Bergman, Nittai K., 2009. "Collateral pricing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 339-360, March.
  2. Vikrant Vig & Amit Seru & Tomasz Piskorski, 2009. "Securitization and Distressed Loan Renegotiation: Evidence from the Subprime Mortgage Crisis," 2009 Meeting Papers 1169, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Roberts, Michael R. & Sufi, Amir, 2009. "Renegotiation of financial contracts: Evidence from private credit agreements," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 159-184, August.
  4. Massoud, Nadia & Nandy, Debarshi & Saunders, Anthony & Song, Keke, 2011. "Do hedge funds trade on private information? Evidence from syndicated lending and short-selling," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 477-499, March.
  5. Efraim Benmelech & Nittai K. Bergman, 2010. "Vintage Capital and Creditor Protection," NBER Working Papers 15735, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gavazza, Alessandro, 2010. "The role of trading frictions in real asset markets," MPRA Paper 25781, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Juliano J. Assunção & Efraim Benmelech & Fernando S. S. Silva, 2012. "Repossession and the Democratization of Credit," NBER Working Papers 17858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Efraim Benmelech & Nittai K. Bergman, 2010. "Bankruptcy and the Collateral Channel," NBER Working Papers 15708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Allen N. Berger & W. Scott Frame & Vasso Ioannidou, 2011. "Reexamining the empirical relation between loan risk and collateral: the roles of collateral characteristics and types," Working Paper 2011-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  10. Gavazza, Alessandro, 2010. "Asset liquidity and financial contracts: Evidence from aircraft leases," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 62-84, January.
  11. Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 2011. "Fire Sales in Finance and Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 29-48, Winter.
  12. Efraim Benmelech & Nittai K. Bergman & Ricardo Enriquez, 2011. "Negotiating with Labor Under Financial Distress," NBER Working Papers 17192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Rampini, Adriano A. & Sufi, Amir & Viswanathan, S., 2014. "Dynamic risk management," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 271-296.
  14. Toni Beutler & Mathieu Grobéty, 2011. "The Collateral Channel under Imperfect Debt Enforcement," Working Papers 11.11, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.

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