Essays in Financial Economics

This thesis contains four chapters, each of which utilizes new or unusual data sources to analyze a different area of financial economics. In the first chapter, I construct a novel dataset linking individual bankers to large borrowers in the U.S. syndicated loan market to analyze the impact of bankers on bank lending. I find that time invariant banker fixed effects have at least as much explanatory power as bank fixed effects across key loan outcome variables. One channel through which bankers impact lending is through personal relationships with borrowers. I address the endogenous nature of relationship formation by exploiting shocks to relationships from the departure of bankers and find that stronger personal relationships are associated with significantly lower interest rates charged to clients. Reduced interest rates of relationship loans reflect superior information of bankers, rather than nepotism. Loans issued by bankers that have stronger personal relationships with borrowers are associated with fewer bankruptcies and no more beneficial terms upon renegotiation. The second chapter, which is joint work with Stefano Colonnello, exploits a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on diversity of citizenship in legal disputes to estimate the contribution of the court system to firm value. In an event study, we find that an increase in state court quality from bottom to top tercile is associated with an average increase in equity value of 0.45%, or about $8.7 million on the event day. This effect appears to be driven by courts¿ attitude towards businesses more than by their competency and is more pronounced for firms in industries with high litigation risk. We also test whether firms benefit from the ability to steer lawsuits into friendly courts, so called forum shopping. We provide evidence that a reduction in firms¿ ability to forum shop decreases firm value, whereas a reduction in plaintiffs¿ ability to forum shop increases firm value. We further document that the ruling had significant real effects. Firms which previously stayed out of regions with potentially problematic courts subsequently increased their operations in those regions. The third chapter is coauthored with Matthias Effing, Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, and Philipp Krüger and examines the impact of a sudden home currency appreciation on the valuation and behavior of corporations in a developed economy. The Swiss National Bank surprisingly repealed the minimum exchange rate of 1.2 Swiss francs per Euro on January 15, 2015. On that day the franc appreciated by 15% and the main stock market index dropped by 8.7%. The impact was largest for export oriented firms with high domestic costs. These firms experienced 5% lower announcement returns, subsequently faced economically sizeable reductions in sales and profitability, and responded by reducing investment by 8.1% while only slightly reducing employment. In the fourth chapter, which is joint work with Cornelius Schmidt and Aksel Mjøs, we exploit exogenous shocks to the distance between corporate borrowers and banks to analyze the role of distance in commercial bank lending. We find that a reduction in travel time due to improved infrastructure increases the likelihood of initiating a new borrowing relationship, evidence that closer distance creates a surplus from lower transaction costs. In existing lending relationships, however, banks capture a fraction of this surplus by increasing interest rates.


Advisor(s):
Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger
Year:
2017
Publisher:
Lausanne, EPFL
Keywords:
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis7783-2
Laboratories:


Note: The status of this file is: EPFL only


 Record created 2017-06-08, last modified 2019-06-19

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