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Snow and Leverage

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  • Xavier Giroud
  • Holger M. Mueller
  • Alex Stomper
  • Arne Westerkamp

Abstract

Using a sample of highly (over-)leveraged Austrian ski hotels undergoing debt restructurings, we show that reducing a debt overhang leads to a significant improvement in operating performance (return on assets, net profit margin). In particular, a reduction in leverage leads to a decrease in overhead costs, wages, and input costs, and to an increase in sales. Changes in leverage in the debt restructurings are instrumented with Unexpected Snow , which captures the extent to which a ski hotel experienced unusually good or bad snow conditions prior to the debt restructuring. Effectively, Unexpected Snow provides lending banks with the counterfactual of what would have been the ski hotel’s operating performance in the absence of strategic default, thus allowing to distinguish between ski hotels that are in distress due to negative demand shocks (“liquidity defaulters”) and ski hotels that are in distress due to debt overhang (“strategic defaulters”).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16497.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16497

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  1. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Paul R. Krugman, 1989. "Financing vs. Forgiving a Debt Overhang," NBER Working Papers 2486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Tito Cordella & Luca Antonio Ricci & Marta Ruiz-Arranz, 2005. "Debt Overhang or Debt Irrelevance? Revisiting the Debt Growth Link," IMF Working Papers 05/223, International Monetary Fund.
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  15. Cohen, Daniel, 1993. "Low Investment and Large LDC Debt in the 1980's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 437-49, June.
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