Working Papers

Who Finances Durable Goods and Why it Matters: Captive Finance and the Coase Conjecture  (Revise and Resubmit, Journal of Finance)
    We propose that, by financing their own product sales through captive finance subsidiaries, durable goods manufacturers commit to higher resale values for their products in future periods. Using data on captive financing by the manufacturers of heavy equipment, we find that captive backed models have lower price depreciation. The evidence is consistent with captive finance helping manufacturers commit to ex-post actions that support used machine prices. This, in turn, conveys higher pledgeability for captive backed products, even for individual machines financed by banks. Although motivated as a rent seeking device, captive financing generates positive spillovers by relaxing credit constraints.
Comparables Pricing  (Revise and Resubmit, Review of Financial Studies)
    We explore the role of comparables in price formation. Using data on corporate loans, we exploit the lag between loans' closing dates and their inclusion in a widely-used comparables database to identify the causal effect of past transactions on new transaction pricing. We find that comparables pricing is an important determinant of individual loan spreads, but a failure to account for the overlap in information across loans leads to pricing mistakes. A comparable's influence grows with repeated use through its impact on intervening transactions. Moreover, market conditions prevailing at the time a comparable was priced also unduly influence subsequent loans.
A Structural Model of Human Capital and Leverage
    I study the effect of human capital on firms' leverage decisions in a structural dynamic model. Firms produce using physical capital and labor. They pay a cost per employee they hire, thus investing in human capital. In default a portion of this human capital investment is lost. The loss of human capital constitutes a significant cost of financial distress. Labor intensive firms are more heavily exposed to this cost and respond by using less leverage. Thus the model predicts a decreasing relationship between leverage and labor intensity. Consistent with this prediction, I show in the data that high labor intensity leads to significantly less use of debt. In the model a move from the lowest to the highest decile of labor intensity is accompanied by a drop in leverage of 21 percentage points, very close to the 27 percentage point drop in the data. Overall, I argue that human capital has an important effect on firm leverage and should receive more attention from capital structure researchers.