Equity Valuation Effects of the Pension Protection Act of 2006
John L. Campbell
University of Georgia - J.M. Tull School of Accounting
Dan S. Dhaliwal
University of Arizona - Department of Accounting
William C. Schwartz Jr.
Oklahoma State University
July 3, 2009
Contemporary Accounting Research, Vol. 27, No. 2, Summer 2010
We investigate the equity valuation effects of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (hereafter PPA 2006). The PPA 2006 has two main provisions: (1) firms must fully fund their pension plans within seven years (previously allowed 30 years to fund 90 percent of the pension liability), and (2) firms receive a tax deduction for contributions up to 150 percent of the pension liability (previously 100 percent). After controlling for the effects of SFAS 158, growth opportunities, the cost of external funds and other information released during our sample period, we examine pension firms' abnormal returns surrounding key dates in the legislative process leading to the adoption of the PPA 2006. First, we find a mean negative abnormal return of -4.20 percent during the period in which the PPA 2006 was first voted on by Congress. The mean (median) firm in our sample experienced a $310 million ($60 million) decline in market capitalization. Second, we find that the valuation effect was more negative for firms with larger unfunded pension liabilities and larger capital expenditure requirements, while firms with higher marginal tax rates experienced a positive effect. Third, we find no evidence of differential valuation effects for firms in different "at risk" categories as defined by the PPA 2006. Finally, we find a significant number of pension freezes occurred during our sample period. Our results are stronger when excluding these firms from our sample.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 86
Keywords: Pension liabilities, defined benefit plans, pension accounting, Pension Protection Act of 2006
JEL Classification: G12, J33, M41, M49, H25Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 22, 2008 ; Last revised: July 12, 2010
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