Financial Distress, Stock Returns, and the 1978 Bankruptcy Reform Act
Boston University Questrom School of Business
Rainer F. H. Haselmann
Goethe University Frankfurt - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration
London Business School - Department of Finance
September 26, 2014
We study the effect of weakening creditor rights on distress risk premia via a bankruptcy reform that shifts bargaining power in financial distress toward shareholders. We find that the reform reduces risk factor loadings and returns of distressed stocks. The effect is stronger for firms with lower firm-level shareholder bargaining power. An increase in credit spreads of riskier relative to safer firms, in particular for firms with lower firm-level shareholder bargaining power, confirms a shift in bargaining power from bondholders to shareholders. Out-of-sample tests reveal that a reversal of the reform's effects leads to a reversal of factor loadings and returns.
The appendices for this paper are available at the following URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2517596
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: financial distress, law and finance, shareholder recovery, stock returns
JEL Classification: G12, G14, G33
Date posted: March 21, 2011 ; Last revised: November 3, 2014
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