IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/joares/v52y2014i1p193-243.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Political Connections and the Cost of Bank Loans

Author

Listed:
  • JOEL F. HOUSTON
  • LIANGLIANG JIANG
  • CHEN LIN
  • YUE MA

Abstract

This paper analyzes whether the political connections of listed firms in the United States affect the cost and terms of loan contracts. Using a hand‐collected data set of the political connections of S&P 500 companies over the 2003–2008 time period, we find that the cost of bank loans is significantly lower for companies that have board members with political ties. We consider two possible explanations for these findings: a Borrower Channel in which lenders charge lower rates because they recognize that connections enhance the borrower's credit worthiness and a Bank Channel in which banks assign greater value to connected loans to enhance their own relationships with key politicians. After employing a series of tests to distinguish between these two channels, we find strong support for the Borrower Channel but no direct evidence supporting the Bank Channel. Finally, we demonstrate that political connections reduce the likelihood of a capital expenditure restriction or liquidity requirement commanded by banks at the origination of the loan. Taken together, our results suggest that political connections increase the value of U.S. companies and reduce monitoring costs and credit risk faced by banks, which, in turn, reduces the borrower's cost of debt.

Suggested Citation

  • Joel F. Houston & Liangliang Jiang & Chen Lin & Yue Ma, 2014. "Political Connections and the Cost of Bank Loans," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 193-243, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:joares:v:52:y:2014:i:1:p:193-243
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-679X.12038
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ferguson, Thomas & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2005. "Betting on Hitler - The Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 5021, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Graham, John R. & Li, Si & Qiu, Jiaping, 2008. "Corporate misreporting and bank loan contracting," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 44-61, July.
    3. Chaney, Paul K. & Faccio, Mara & Parsley, David, 2011. "The quality of accounting information in politically connected firms," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 58-76, February.
    4. Claessens, Stijn & Feijen, Erik & Laeven, Luc, 2008. "Political connections and preferential access to finance: The role of campaign contributions," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 554-580, June.
    5. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
    6. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Government Ownership of Banks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 265-301, February.
    7. Steven Drucker & Manju Puri, 2005. "On the Benefits of Concurrent Lending and Underwriting," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2763-2799, December.
    8. Hutton, Amy P. & Marcus, Alan J. & Tehranian, Hassan, 2009. "Opaque financial reports, R2, and crash risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 67-86, October.
    9. Francis A. Longstaff & Sanjay Mithal & Eric Neis, 2005. "Corporate Yield Spreads: Default Risk or Liquidity? New Evidence from the Credit Default Swap Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2213-2253, October.
    10. Merton, Robert C, 1974. "On the Pricing of Corporate Debt: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 449-470, May.
    11. Denis Conniffe & Vanessa Gash & Philip J. O'Connell, 2000. "Evaluating State Programmes - “Natural Experiments” and Propensity Scores," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 31(4), pages 283-308.
    12. Murillo Campello & Chen Lin & Yue Ma & Hong Zou, 2011. "The Real and Financial Implications of Corporate Hedging," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(5), pages 1615-1647, October.
    13. Marianne Bertrand, 2004. "From the Invisible Handshake to the Invisible Hand? How Import Competition Changes the Employment Relationship," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 723-766, October.
    14. Houston, Joel F. & Lin, Chen & Ma, Yue, 2011. "Media ownership, concentration and corruption in bank lending," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 326-350, May.
    15. Ilia D. Dichev & Douglas J. Skinner, 2002. "Large–Sample Evidence on the Debt Covenant Hypothesis," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 1091-1123, September.
    16. Engelberg, Joseph & Gao, Pengjie & Parsons, Christopher A., 2012. "Friends with money," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 169-188.
    17. Hertzel, Michael G. & Officer, Micah S., 2012. "Industry contagion in loan spreads," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 493-506.
    18. Mitchell A. Petersen, 2009. "Estimating Standard Errors in Finance Panel Data Sets: Comparing Approaches," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 435-480, January.
    19. Leuz, Christian & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 2006. "Political relationships, global financing, and corporate transparency: Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 411-439, August.
    20. Elif Sisli-Ciamarra, 2012. "Monitoring by Affiliated Bankers on Board of Directors: Evidence from Corporate Financing Outcomes," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 41(3), pages 665-702, September.
    21. Lin, Chen & Ma, Yue & Malatesta, Paul & Xuan, Yuhai, 2011. "Ownership structure and the cost of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 1-23, April.
    22. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2006. "Bank supervision and corruption in lending," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 2131-2163, November.
    23. Liu, Yixin & Mauer, David C., 2011. "Corporate cash holdings and CEO compensation incentives," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 183-198, October.
    24. Duchin, Ran & Sosyura, Denis, 2012. "The politics of government investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 24-48.
    25. repec:hrv:faseco:30747188 is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Johnson, Simon & Mitton, Todd, 2003. "Cronyism and capital controls: evidence from Malaysia," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 351-382, February.
    27. Calomiris, Charles W. & Fisman, Raymond & Wang, Yongxiang, 2010. "Profiting from government stakes in a command economy: Evidence from Chinese asset sales," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 399-412, June.
    28. Dechow, Patricia & Ge, Weili & Schrand, Catherine, 2010. "Understanding earnings quality: A review of the proxies, their determinants and their consequences," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 344-401, December.
    29. Mara Faccio, 2006. "Politically Connected Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 369-386, March.
    30. Leuz, Christian & Nanda, Dhananjay & Wysocki, Peter D., 2003. "Earnings management and investor protection: an international comparison," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 505-527, September.
    31. Miguel A. Ferreira & Pedro Matos, 2012. "Universal Banks and Corporate Control: Evidence from the Global Syndicated Loan Market," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(9), pages 2703-2744.
    32. Eitan Goldman & Jörg Rocholl & Jongil So, 2009. "Do Politically Connected Boards Affect Firm Value?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(6), pages 2331-2360, June.
    33. Roberto Blanco & Simon Brennan & Ian W. Marsh, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of the Dynamic Relation between Investment-Grade Bonds and Credit Default Swaps," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2255-2281, October.
    34. Eitan Goldman & Jörg Rocholl & Jongil So, 2013. "Politically Connected Boards of Directors and The Allocation of Procurement Contracts," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(5), pages 1617-1648.
    35. Rajan, Raghuram & Winton, Andrew, 1995. " Covenants and Collateral as Incentives to Monitor," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1113-1146, September.
    36. Wei Jiang & Kai Li & Pei Shao, 2010. "When Shareholders Are Creditors: Effects of the Simultaneous Holding of Equity and Debt by Non-commercial Banking Institutions," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(10), pages 3595-3637, October.
    37. Gary Hoover & Paul Pecorino, 2005. "The Political Determinants of Federal Expenditure at the State Level," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 95-113, April.
    38. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra Todd, 1998. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 261-294.
    39. Thomas Ferguson & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2008. "Betting on Hitler—The Value of Political Connections in Nazi Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 101-137.
    40. Nini, Greg & Smith, David C. & Sufi, Amir, 2009. "Creditor control rights and firm investment policy," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 400-420, June.
    41. Atlas, Cary M, et al, 1995. "Slicing the Federal Government Net Spending Pie: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 624-629, June.
    42. MARA FACCIO & RONALD W. MASULIS & JOHN J. McCONNELL, 2006. "Political Connections and Corporate Bailouts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(6), pages 2597-2635, December.
    43. Steven Drucker & Manju Puri, 2009. "On Loan Sales, Loan Contracting, and Lending Relationships," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(7), pages 2635-2672, July.
    44. Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Atif Mian, 2005. "Do Lenders Favor Politically Connected Firms? Rent Provision in an Emerging Financial Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1371-1411.
    45. Barth, James R. & Lin, Chen & Lin, Ping & Song, Frank M., 2009. "Corruption in bank lending to firms: Cross-country micro evidence on the beneficial role of competition and information sharing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 361-388, March.
    46. Raymond Fisman, 2001. "Estimating the Value of Political Connections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1095-1102, September.
    47. Alexander W. Butler & Larry Fauver & Sandra Mortal, 2009. "Corruption, Political Connections, and Municipal Finance," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(7), pages 2673-2705, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:joares:v:52:y:2014:i:1:p:193-243. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley Content Delivery). General contact details of provider: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0021-8456 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.