Institutional Differences and International Private Debt Markets: A Test Using Mandatory IFRS Adoption

54 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2016 Last revised: 2 Feb 2016

See all articles by Anna Bergman Brown

Anna Bergman Brown

University of Connecticut - Department of Accounting

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 25, 2016


Institutional differences between countries result in additional information risks between borrowers and lenders in cross-border private loans. This study examines the effect of these information risks on the structure of optimal debt contracts in international (cross-border) vs. domestic private debt markets. Using mandatory IFRS adoption as an indicator for institutional changes that reduced differences between countries, I compare attributes of international vs. domestic loans before and after IFRS adoption. I find that in the pre-IFRS period, international loans are associated with a higher credit spread, a weaker relationship between the bank and the borrower, a more diffuse loan syndicate, and less reliance on accounting-based covenants than domestic loans. These results are consistent with incremental information risks in international debt markets that make it more costly for lenders to screen and monitor borrower credit quality, resulting in a more arm’s-length relationship between borrowers and lenders. Many of these associations attenuate after IFRS adoption, suggesting that the pre-IFRS differences in contract terms are driven by incremental information risks related to institutional differences between countries. My findings imply that incremental information risks result in a different optimal contract in international debt contracts compared to domestic debt contracts.

Keywords: Information Risks, International Accounting Standards, International Debt Markets, Relationship Lending

JEL Classification: D86, F34, G15, M41

Suggested Citation

Brown, Anna Bergman, Institutional Differences and International Private Debt Markets: A Test Using Mandatory IFRS Adoption (January 25, 2016). Journal of Accounting Research, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Anna Bergman Brown (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - Department of Accounting ( email )

School of Business
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States

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