Employee Costs of Corporate Bankruptcy

67 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2013 Last revised: 30 May 2019

See all articles by John R. Graham

John R. Graham

Duke University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Hyunseob Kim

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Si Li

Wilfrid Laurier University - School of Business & Economics

Jiaping Qiu

McMaster University - Michael G. DeGroote School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 28, 2019

Abstract

An employee’s annual earnings fall by 10% the year her firm files for bankruptcy and fall by a present value of 67% over seven years. This effect is more pronounced in thin labor markets and among small firms that are ultimately liquidated. Compensating wage differentials for this “bankruptcy risk” are approximately 2.3% of firm value for a firm whose credit rating falls from AA to BBB, about the same magnitude as debt tax benefits. Thus, wage premia for expected costs of bankruptcy are of sufficient magnitude to be an important consideration in corporate capital structure decisions.

Keywords: Bankruptcy, labor mobillity, risk sharing, costs of financial distress, capital structure, worker-firm matched data

JEL Classification: G32, G33, J21, J31, J61

Suggested Citation

Graham, John Robert and Kim, Hyunseob and Li, Si and Qiu, Jiaping, Employee Costs of Corporate Bankruptcy (May 28, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2276753 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2276753

John Robert Graham

Duke University ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7857 (Phone)
919-660-8030 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Hyunseob Kim (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Si Li

Wilfrid Laurier University - School of Business & Economics ( email )

Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5
Canada

Jiaping Qiu

McMaster University - Michael G. DeGroote School of Business ( email )

1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M4
Canada

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