Theses Doctoral

Essays in Empirical Corporate Finance and Banking

Papoutsi, Zoi Melina

This dissertation studies topics in the areas of empirical corporate finance, banking, and financial intermediation. In the first chapter, entitled Personal Relationships in Loan Renegotiation: Evidence from Corporate Loans, I estimate the effect of personal relationships between a loan officer and a firm on the probability to renegotiate a loan and the outcomes of the renegotiation. To identify this effect, I exploit a bank reorganization in Greece in the mid-2010s, which allows me to identify two types of firms: one, those whose personal relationships with loan officers were discontinued and those whose relationships were not. This paper’s main conclusion is that personal relationships mitigate the cost of distress for the firm in a loan renegotiation. The firm is worse off following the interruption of its loan officer relationship, as it is less able to renegotiate, and the firm also receives tougher loan terms on renegotiated loans. The insights from the second chapter, entitled Lending Relationships and Moral Hazard in Loan Renegotiation, can have important policy implications related to the rise of nonperforming loans (NPLs). Many banks operating in countries that were hit by the 2010 European debt crisis, faced a significant rise in NPLs. This rise became one of the main challenges that banks face, as high levels of NPLs tie up bank capital and thus reduce profitability and increase funding costs. In the second chapter, I provide empirical evidence that banks, through efficient renegotiation and strong relationships with firms, can prevent loan defaults. This analysis suggests that firms with more distant lending relatioships are more likely to strategically delay a loan payment in order to efficiently trigger a loan renegotiation. This strategic behavior gives rise to the moral hazard phenomenon. In the third chapter, entitled Securing the Unsecured: Do stronger creditor rights affect firms’ access to credit?, I seek to understand whether stronger creditor rights influence firms’ capital structure and access to finance. To answer this question, I use the passage of an enforcement on cash assets reform in Croatia that aimed to increase the collection of the unsecured debt. To identify exogenous variation across firms affected more by the reform versus those that were not, I use a novel dataset on courts’ efficiency in dealing with the specific type of cases affected by the reform. The conclusion of the paper is that firms maintain higher leverage and have easier access to credit when creditor rights are stronger. The firms that benefit the most are medium size and have limited access to tangible assets. When firms are able to borrow more, they invest more in fixed assets.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Wolfenzon, Daniel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 14, 2018