Why Hedge? - A Critical Review of Theory and Empirical Evidence -
Finance theory does not provide a comprehensive framework for explaining risk management within the imperfect financial environment in which firms operate. Corporate managers, however, rank risk management as one of their most important objectives. Therefore, it is not surprising that papers on the question why firms hedge are mushrooming. This paper critically reviews this literature and analyses the implications for risk management practice. It is distinguished between two competing approaches to corporate hedging: equity value maximising strategies and strategies determined by managerial risk aversion. The first category suggests that managers act in the best interest of shareholders. They hedge to reduce real costs like taxes, costs of financial distress and costs of external finance or to replace home-made hedging by shareholders. The second category considers that managers maximise their personal utility rather than the market value of equity. Their hedging strategy, therefore, is determined by their compensation plan and reputational concerns. There is ambiguous empirical evidence on the dominant hedging motive. It depends on the environment in which firms operate (e.g. tax schedule) and on firm characteristics (e.g. capital intensity). In general, one can observe that (i) hedging taxable income is of minor importance, (ii) firms with a high probability of financial distress hedge more, (iii) companies with greater growth opportunities hedge more, (iv) managers with common stockholdings hedge more than managers with option holdings and (v) high ability managers hedge more than low ability managers. The total benefits of hedging are not the sum across the various motives. Therefore, a manager has to concentrate on a primary motive to implement an effective risk management programme: If his primary motive is to minimise corporate taxes, he will hedge taxable income. If his primary concern is to reduce the costs of financial distress and if he can faithfully communicate the firm?s true probability of default, his hedging strategy will focus on the market value of debt and equity. If hedging is prompted to reduce the demand for costly external finance, he will hedge cash flows. If the manager is concerned with his reputation, he will focus on accounting earnings. Once he has focused on a certain exposure, the manager has to decide whether he wants to minimise the volatility of this exposure or simply avoid large losses.
|Date of creation:||1998|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.zew.de/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Joseph, Nathan Lael & Hewins, Robin David, 1997. "The Motives for Corporate Hedging among UK Multinationals," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 2(2), pages 151-71, April.
- Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
- Erik Berglof, 1997. "Reforming corporate governance: redirecting the European agenda," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(24), pages 91-123, 04.
- Froot, Kenneth A & Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1993.
" Risk Management: Coordinating Corporate Investment and Financing Policies,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1629-58, December.
- Kenneth A. Froot & David S. Scharfstein & Jeremy C. Stein, 1992. "Risk Management: Coordinating Corporate Investment and Financing Policies," NBER Working Papers 4084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Galai, Dan & Masulis, Ronald W., 1976. "The option pricing model and the risk factor of stock," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1-2), pages 53-81.
- Stulz, ReneM., 1990. "Managerial discretion and optimal financing policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 3-27, July.
- Smith, Clifford Jr. & Warner, Jerold B., 1979. "On financial contracting : An analysis of bond covenants," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 117-161, June.
- Steven Shavell, 1979. "Risk Sharing and Incentives in the Principal and Agent Relationship," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 55-73, Spring.
- Nance, Deana R & Smith, Clifford W, Jr & Smithson, Charles W, 1993. " On the Determinants of Corporate Hedging," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 267-84, March.
- Robert Townsend, 1979.
"Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification,"
45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
- Ross, Stephen A, 1973. "The Economic Theory of Agency: The Principal's Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 134-39, May.
- Degeorge, François & Moselle, Boaz & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1996. "Hedging and Gambling: Corporate Risk Choice when Informing the Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 1520, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Judy C. Lewent & A. John Kearney, 1990. "Identifying, Measuring, And Hedging Currency Risk At Merck," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 2(4), pages 19-28.
- DeMarzo, Peter M & Duffie, Darrell, 1995. "Corporate Incentives for Hedging and Hedge Accounting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 8(3), pages 743-71.
- Douglas L. Kruse, 1991. "Profit-sharing and employment variability: Microeconomic evidence on the Weitzman theory," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(3), pages 437-453, April.
- Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
- Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
- Jarrad Harford, 1999. "Corporate Cash Reserves and Acquisitions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 1969-1997, December.
- Gaver, Jennifer J. & Gaver, Kenneth M., 1993. "Additional evidence on the association between the investment opportunity set and corporate financing, dividend, and compensation policies," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1-3), pages 125-160, April.
- Bessembinder, Hendrik, 1991.
"Forward Contracts and Firm Value: Investment Incentive and Contracting Effects,"
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(04), pages 519-532, December.
- Bessembinder, H., 1989. "Forward Contracts And Firm Value: Investment Incentive And Contracting Effects," Papers 89-06, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
- S. Waite Rawls & Charles W. Smithson, 1990. "Strategic Risk Management," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 2(4), pages 6-18.
- Graham, J.R. & Smith, Jr.C.W., 1996. "The Incentives to Hedge," Papers 96-03, Rochester, Business - Financial Research and Policy Studies.
- Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
- Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
- David Hirshleifer, 1993. "Managerial Reputation and Corporate Investment Decisions," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 22(2), Summer.
- Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Agency Problems and Residual Claims," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 327-49, June.
- Jensen, Michael C & Meckling, William H, 1979. "Rights and Production Functions: An Application to Labor-managed Firms and Codetermination," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 469-506, October.
- Diamond, Douglas W, 1989.
"Reputation Acquisition in Debt Markets,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 828-62, August.
- Agrawal, Anup & Mandelker, Gershon N, 1987. " Managerial Incentives and Corporate Investment and Financing Decision s," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(4), pages 823-37, September.
- Tufano, Peter, 1996. " Who Manages Risk? An Empirical Examination of Risk Management Practices in the Gold Mining Industry," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1097-1137, September.
- Gale, Douglas & Hellwig, Martin, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 647-63, October.
- Jensen, Michael C. & Ruback, Richard S., 1983. "The market for corporate control : The scientific evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-4), pages 5-50, April.
- Mian, Shehzad L., 1996. "Evidence on Corporate Hedging Policy," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(03), pages 419-439, September.
- Altman, Edward I, 1984. " A Further Empirical Investigation of the Bankruptcy Cost Question," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1067-89, September.
- Mayers, David & Smith, Clifford W, Jr, 1990. "On the Corporate Demand for Insurance: Evidence from the Reinsurance Market," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(1), pages 19-40, January.
- Yakov Amihud & Baruch Lev, 1981. "Risk Reduction as a Managerial Motive for Conglomerate Mergers," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 605-617, Autumn.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5191. 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: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.