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Do Cultural Differences Between Contracting Parties Matter? Evidence from Syndicated Bank Loans

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  • Mariassunta Giannetti

    () (Stockholm School of Economics, CEPR, and ECGI, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden)

  • Yishay Yafeh

    () (School of Business Administration, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, CEPR, and ECGI, Mount Scopus, 91905 Jerusalem, Israel)

Abstract

We investigate whether cultural differences between professional decision makers affect financial contracts in a large data set of international syndicated bank loans. We find that more culturally distant lead banks offer borrowers smaller loans at a higher interest rate and are more likely to require third-party guarantees. These effects do not disappear following repeated interaction between borrower and lender and are economically sizable: A one-standard-deviation increase in cultural distance, approximately the distance between Canada and the United States or between Japan and South Korea, is associated with a 6.5 basis point higher loan spread; the loan spread increases by about 23 basis points if the bank-firm match involves culturally more distant parties, for example, from Japan and the United States. We also find that cultural differences not only affect the relation between borrower and lender, but also hamper risk sharing between participant banks and culturally distant lead banks. This paper was accepted by Brad Barber, Teck Ho, and Terrance Odean, special issue editors.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariassunta Giannetti & Yishay Yafeh, 2012. "Do Cultural Differences Between Contracting Parties Matter? Evidence from Syndicated Bank Loans," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(2), pages 365-383, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:58:y:2012:i:2:p:365-383
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1110.1378
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    financial contracts; risk sharing; behavioral bias; culture;

    JEL classification:

    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance

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