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Creditor Protection Laws and the Cost of Debt

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  • Sattar A. Mansi
  • William F. Maxwell
  • John K. Wald

Abstract

We examine the impact of state payout restrictions on firms' credit ratings and bond yields. Using publicly traded bond data for a sample of large firms, we find that firms incorporated in states with more restrictive payout statutes (for example, New York and California) have better credit ratings and significantly lower yield spreads (about 8.7 percent) than do firms incorporated in less restrictive states (for example, Delaware). These results suggest that incorporation in a more restrictive state provides a credible commitment mechanism for avoiding some of the moral hazard problems associated with long-term debt. This commitment corresponds to an economically and statistically significant difference in market yields and firm-financing costs and is robust to controls for ownership, governance, debt type, Delaware or non-Delaware incorporation, and covenant usage. Overall, our results are consistent with the notion that Delaware incorporation has hidden costs for some firms. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:52:y:2009:i:4:p:701-717
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Eidenmüller, 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.
    3. Mansi, Sattar A. & Wald, John K. & Zhang, Andrew (Jianzhong), 2016. "Severance agreements and the cost of debt," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 426-444.
    4. Liu, Yixin & Jiraporn, Pornsit, 2010. "The effect of CEO power on bond ratings and yields," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 744-762, September.
    5. Jagannathan, Murali & Pritchard, A.C., 2017. "Do Delaware CEOs get fired?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 85-101.
    6. Bradley, Michael & Chen, Dong, 2011. "Corporate governance and the cost of debt: Evidence from director limited liability and indemnification provisions," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 83-107, February.
    7. Aguir, Iness & Burns, Natasha & Mansi, Sattar A. & Wald, John K., 2014. "Liability protection, director compensation, and incentives," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 570-589.
    8. Giofré, Maela, 2013. "Investor protection rights and foreign investment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 506-526.

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