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State Laws and Debt Covenants

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  • Yaxuan Qi
  • John Wald

Abstract

We examine whether state laws impact the use of debt covenants by using a sample of U.S. public bond issues from 1987 to 2004. We consider variation in state laws with respect to the minimum asset-to-debt ratio necessary for a payout and with respect to antitakeover statutes. We find that firms incorporated in states with stricter restrictions on distributions are less likely to include debt covenants that constrain payouts, limit additional debt, or restrict the sale of assets. Thus, state payout restrictions appear to be a substitute for the use of these debt covenants. On the other hand, firms incorporated in states with stronger antitakeover statutes are somewhat more likely to use debt covenants. This finding is consistent with the notion that firms with antitakeover protection are more likely to suffer from agency problems and, thus, are more likely to use debt covenants to minimize agency costs. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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  • Yaxuan Qi & John Wald, 2008. "State Laws and Debt Covenants," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 179-207, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:51:y:2008:i:1:p:179-207
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    Cited by:

    1. Bhanot, Karan & Mansi, Sattar A. & Wald, John K., 2010. "Takeover risk and the correlation between stocks and bonds," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 381-393, June.
    2. Reisel, Natalia, 2014. "On the value of restrictive covenants: Empirical investigation of public bond issues," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 251-268.
    3. Eidenm├╝ller, Horst & Engert, Andreas & Hornuf, Lars, 2015. "Where do firms issue debt? An empirical analysis of issuer location and regulatory competition in Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 103-115.
    4. Luc Renneboog & Peter G. Szilagyi & Cara Vansteenkiste, 2017. "Creditor rights, claims enforcement, and bond performance in mergers and acquisitions," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 48(2), pages 174-194, February.
    5. KOCHIYAMA, Takuma & NAKAMURA, Ryosuke, 2014. "Role, Structure, and Determinants of Debt Covenants: Evidence from Japan," Working Paper Series 187, Center for Japanese Business Studies (HJBS), Graduate School of Commerce and Management Hitotsubashi University.
    6. Sattar A. Mansi & William F. Maxwell & John K. Wald, 2009. "Creditor Protection Laws and the Cost of Debt," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 701-717, November.
    7. Prilmeier, Robert, 2017. "Why do loans contain covenants? Evidence from lending relationships," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(3), pages 558-579.
    8. Qiu, Jiaping & Yu, Fan, 2009. "The market for corporate control and the cost of debt," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 505-524, September.
    9. Thomas J. Chemmanur & Imants Paeglis & Karen Simonyan, 2011. "Management Quality and Antitakeover Provisions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 651-692.
    10. Flavio Bazzana & Marco Palmieri, 2012. "How to increase the efficiency of bond covenants: a proposal for the Italian corporate market," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 327-346, October.
    11. Cook, Douglas O. & Fu, Xudong & Tang, Tian, 2014. "The effect of liquidity and solvency risk on the inclusion of bond covenants," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 120-136.
    12. John Wald & Yaxuan Qi & Lukas Roth, 2009. "How Laws Affect Contracts: Evidence from Yankee Bond Covenants," Working Papers 0065, College of Business, University of Texas at San Antonio.
    13. Francis, Bill B. & Hasan, Iftekhar & John, Kose & Waisman, Maya, 2010. "The effect of state antitakeover laws on the firm's bondholders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 127-154, April.
    14. Hayat, Raphie & Kabir Hassan, M., 2017. "Does an Islamic label indicate good corporate governance?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 159-174.
    15. Colleen Honigsberg & Sharon Katz & Gil Sadka, 2014. "State Contract Law and Debt Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 1031-1061.

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