57 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2011
Date Written: December 2, 2010
While firms commonly benchmark corporate financial policies against industry peers, empirically, some firms consistently deviate to pursue “rogue” policies with either a conservative or an aggressive bias. Using a panel of large U.S. firms between 1975 and 2008, we study the incidence, joint frequency distribution, and valuation effect of conservative and aggressive financial policies across four policy dimensions: leverage, payout, liquidity, and risk management. Consistent with a hedging effect, we find that conservative (aggressive) financial policies are generally associated with higher (lower) valuations. In addition, consistent with hedging theories, we find that firms with high growth opportunities which also face financial constraints benefit more from conservative financial policies. We also observe a time-variation in the valuation effects. For example, we find that conservative liquidity policies are associated with lower valuation benefits during periods of high economic growth while most aggressive policies are associated with even lower valuations as the average level of the policy increases. Finally, our tests of joint rogue policies provide evidence consistent with agency explanations. For example, firms which pursue both conservative leverage and conservative liquidity policies are valued at a discount, even though those that pursue a conservative leverage or a conservative liquidity policy on its own are valued at a premium.
Keywords: Risk Management, Financial Policies, Hedging
JEL Classification: G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation