In the path of the storm: Does financial distress cause non-financial firms to risk-shift?
|Date||14 October 2015|
|Venue||ICMA Centre, Room G03/04|
We use a new proxy capturing manager-initiated changes to firm risk together with a unique identification strategy to study whether financial distress causes non-financial firms to risk-shift. We derive the proxy from an application of modern portfolio theory to operating-segment data and use hurricanes as distress risk instrument. Distress risk shocks lead moderately distressed firms to risk-shift. Risk-shifting is facilitated by closing low-risk segments and raises failure rates. Further evidence suggests that creditor control keeps highly distressed firms from risk-shifting. Despite its importance, we are first to empirically show that agency problems of debt cause non-financial firms to risk-shift.