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Family firms and the agency cost of debt: The role of soft information during a crisis

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  • Leandro D’Aurizio
  • Tommaso Oliviero
  • Livio Romano

Abstract

In this paper we study how access to bank lending during the recent financial crisis differed between family and non-family firms. Our theoretical prediction is that the presence of a family block-holder in the company attenuated the agency conflict in the borrower-lender relation, because of the higher non-monetary cost of default entailed in this type of corporate ownership structure. Because this information is to a large extent soft, we further investigate the interaction between the family firm status and the screening technology adopted by banks. Using highly detailed data referred to Italy, we exploit the change in the credit allocation following Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy. We find that family firms experienced a contraction in granted credit lower than non-family firms. Results are robust to ex-ante differences between the two types of firms and to bank-specific shocks. In line with our prior, banks that increased the role of soft information in their lending practices reallocated credit towards family firms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2012/22.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2012/22

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Related research

Keywords: Family Firms; Financial crisis; Relationship lending; Soft information; Credit supply;

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References

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  1. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1996. "Financial Dependence and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Abhijit Banerjee & Thomas Piketty, 1999. "Dualism And Macroeconomic Volatility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1359-1397, November.
  3. Allen N. Berger & Nathan H. Miller & Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan & Jeremy C. Stein, 2002. "Does Function Follow Organzizational Form? Evidence From the Lending Practices of Large and Small Banks," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1976, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Andrei Shleifer & Fausto Panunzi & Mike Burkart, 2002. "Family firms," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24926, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    • Mike Burkart & Fausto Panunzi & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "Family Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(5), pages 2167-2202, October.
  5. repec:fip:fedreq:y:2011:i:3q:p:209-254:n:vol.97no.3 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Luigi Guiso & Raoul Minetti, 2010. "The Structure of Multiple Credit Relationships: Evidence from U.S. Firms," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(6), pages 1037-1071, 09.
  7. Albareto, Giorgio & Benvenuti, Michele & Mocetti, Sauro & Pagnini, Marcello & Rossi, Paola, 2011. "The Organization of Lending and the Use of Credit Scoring Techniques in Italian Banks," Journal of Financial Transformation, Capco Institute, vol. 32, pages 143-168.
  8. Giorgio Albareto & Michele Benvenuti & Sauro Mocetti & Marcello Pagnini & Paola Rossi, 2008. "Lending organizational structure and the use of credit scoring: evidence from a survey on Italian banks," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 12, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  9. Andrew Ellul & Marco Pagano & Fausto PAnunzi, 2008. "Inheritance Law and Investment in Family Firms," CSEF Working Papers 204, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 30 Nov 2009.
  10. Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1994. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles, and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 309-40, May.
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  12. Ongena, Steven & Smith, David C., 2000. "What Determines the Number of Bank Relationships? Cross-Country Evidence," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 26-56, January.
  13. Hadiye Aslan & Praveen Kumar, 2012. "Strategic Ownership Structure and the Cost of Debt," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(7), pages 2257-2299.
  14. Joe Peek & Eric S. Rosengren, 2005. "Unnatural Selection: Perverse Incentives and the Misallocation of Credit in Japan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1144-1166, September.
  15. Karl V. Lins & Paolo Volpin & Hannes F. Wagner, 2013. "Does Family Control Matter? International Evidence from the 2008--2009 Financial Crisis," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(10), pages 2583-2619.
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