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Leverage Choice and Credit Spreads when Managers Risk Shift




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.

Suggested Citation

  • Murray Carlson & Ali Lazrak, 2010. "Leverage Choice and Credit Spreads when Managers Risk Shift," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(6), pages 2323-2362, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:65:y:2010:i:6:p:2323-2362

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rafael Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2006. "What Works in Securities Laws?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(1), pages 1-32, February.
    2. Burns, Natasha & Kedia, Simi, 2006. "The impact of performance-based compensation on misreporting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 35-67, January.
    3. Alexander Dyck & Natalya Volchkova & Luigi Zingales, 2008. "The Corporate Governance Role of the Media: Evidence from Russia," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(3), pages 1093-1135, June.
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    5. Clifford Winston, 1998. "U.S. Industry Adjustment to Economic Deregulation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 89-110, Summer.
    6. Morck, Randall & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1988. "Management ownership and market valuation : An empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 293-315, January.
    7. Diamond, Douglas W. & Verrecchia, Robert E., 1987. "Constraints on short-selling and asset price adjustment to private information," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 277-311, June.
    8. Paul M. Healy & Krishna G. Palepu, 2003. "The Fall of Enron," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 3-26, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. repec:spr:busres:v:11:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s40685-017-0054-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:finsta:v:30:y:2017:i:c:p:53-66 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:corfin:v:45:y:2017:i:c:p:428-466 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Colonnello, Stefano & Curatola, Giuliano & Hoang, Ngoc Giang, 2017. "Direct and indirect risk-taking incentives of inside debt," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 428-466.
    6. Colonnello, Stefano, 2017. "Internal governance and creditor governance: Evidence from credit default swaps," IWH Discussion Papers 6/2017, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    7. Erwan Morellec & Boris Nikolov & Norman Schürhoff, 2015. "Agency Conflicts Around the World," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 15-21, Swiss Finance Institute, revised Apr 2016.
    8. repec:eee:intfin:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:196-210 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Jean Canil & Bruce Rosser, 2015. "Evidence on exercise pricing in CEO option grants in two countries," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 383-410, November.

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