NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Risk Shifting versus Risk Management: Investment Policy in Corporate Pension Plans

Joshua Rauh

NBER Working Paper No. 13240
Issued in July 2007
NBER Program(s):   CF   PE

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 the cross-section 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 U.S. firms.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13240

Published: Joshua D. Rauh, 2009. "Risk Shifting versus Risk Management: Investment Policy in Corporate Pension Plans," Review of Financial Studies, Oxford University Press for Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(7), pages 2487-2533, July.

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