Risk Shifting Versus Risk Management: Investment Policy in Corporate Pension Plans
Posted: 22 Jun 2009
Date Written: July 2009
The asset allocation of defined benefit pension plans is a setting where both risk-shifting and risk-management incentives are likely be present. Empirically, firms with poorly funded pension plans and weak credit ratings allocate a greater share of pension fund assets to safer securities such as government debt and cash, whereas firms with well-funded pension plans and strong credit ratings invest more heavily in equity. These relations hold both in pooled regressions and within firms and plans over time. The incentive to limit costly financial distress plays a considerably larger role than risk shifting in explaining variation in pension fund investment policy among firms in the United States.
Keywords: G11, G23, G32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation