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Tournament incentives and firm credit risk: Evidence from credit default swap referenced firms

Lijing Du, Jian Huang and Bharat A. Jain

Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 2019, vol. 46, issue 7-8, 913-943

Abstract: In this paper, we evaluate the impact of managerial tournament incentives on firm credit risk in credit default swap (CDS) referenced firms. We find that intra‐firm tournament incentives are negatively related to credit risk. Our results suggest that tournament incentives reduce credit risk by alleviating the potential for underinvestment when managers are concerned about exacting empty creditors. Further, we find that tournament incentives decrease credit risk when internal governance is strong or product market competition is intense. Taken together, our results suggest that creditors perceive senior manager tournament incentives (SMTI) as a critical determinant of a firm's credit risk, particularly in settings where managerial risk aversion is high.

Date: 2019
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