Law and Project Finance
Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad
Boston University School of Law
May 22, 2012
We investigate Project Finance as a private response to inefficiencies created by weak legal protection of outside investors. In the context of large investment projects, we offer a new illustration that law matters by demonstrating that Project Finance offers a contractual and organizational substitute for investor protection laws. Project Finance accomplishes this by making cash flows verifiable, thereby enhancing debt capacity. Project Finance makes cash flows verifiable through: (i) contractual arrangements made possible by structuring the Project Company as a single, discrete project legally separate from the sponsor; and (ii) private enforcement of these contracts through a network of project accounts that ensures lender control of project cash flows.
Comparing the incidence of bank loans for Project Finance with regular corporate loans for large investments ("Corporate Debt Finance"), we show that Project Finance is more likely in countries with weaker laws against insider stealing and weaker creditor rights in bankruptcy. Our identification relies on difference-in-difference tests that exploit exogenous country-level changes in legal rules, as well as triple-difference tests that exploit differences across industries in the agency costs of free cash flow.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: Agency Cost, Bankruptcy Cost, Corporate Finance, Free Cashflow, Investor Protection, Leverage, Limited Recourse, Project Finance, Self-Dealing
JEL Classification: G32, G33, G34, K22working papers series
Date posted: August 27, 2007 ; Last revised: May 23, 2012
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