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Why do healthy firms freeze their defined-benefit pension plans?

  • Atanasova, Christina
  • Hrazdil, Karel
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    We examine the firms' decisions in freezing their defined-benefit pension plans and the effect it has on shareholders' wealth. Plan freezes help relieve sponsors of the implicit promises made to employees regarding future compensation. We find evidence that a pension plan freeze has a positive impact on sponsors' equity returns and credit ratings. Firms that choose to freeze their pension plans experience an increase in equity return and a decrease in the probability of a credit downgrade.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Global Finance Journal.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 293-303

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:glofin:v:21:y:2010:i:3:p:293-303
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    1. Francesco Franzoni & José M. Marin, 2005. "Portable Alphas from Pension Mispricing," Working Papers 227, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    2. Thomas, Jacob K., 1989. "Why do firms terminate their overfunded pension plans?," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 361-398, November.
    3. Daniel, Kent, et al, 1997. " Measuring Mutual Fund Performance with Characteristic-Based Benchmarks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1035-58, July.
    4. Francesco Franzoni & J. M. Marin, 2006. "Pension Plan Funding and Stock Market Efficiency," Post-Print halshs-00009850, HAL.
    5. Martin Feldstein & Stephanie Seligman, 1980. "Pension Funding, Share Prices, and National Saving," NBER Working Papers 0509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jin, Li & Merton, Robert C. & Bodie, Zvi, 2006. "Do a firm's equity returns reflect the risk of its pension plan?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 1-26, July.
    7. Joshua D. Rauh, 2009. "Risk Shifting versus Risk Management: Investment Policy in Corporate Pension Plans," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(7), pages 2487-2533, July.
    8. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2003. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure," NBER Working Papers 9999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Jeremy I. Bulow & Randall Morck & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "How Does the Market Value Unfunded Pension Liabilities?," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 81-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Joshua D. Rauh, 2006. "Investment and Financing Constraints: Evidence from the Funding of Corporate Pension Plans," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(1), pages 33-71, 02.
    11. Martin, Linda J. & Henderson, Glenn V., 1983. "On Bond Ratings and Pension Obligations: A Note," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 463-470, December.
    12. Mitchell A. Petersen, 1992. "Pension Reversions and Worker-Stockholder Wealth Transfers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 1033-1056.
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