Welcome to my website! I am an Assistant Professor of Finance in the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. I conduct primarily empirical research in banking and corporate finance.
Accepted, Management Science
We build a risk management model that incorporates variable capital utilization and time-varying collateral capacity. The former lets firms optimally choose capital utilization, and hence production, which affects capital depreciation and risk exposure. The latter means firms' ability to borrow and hedge increases with expected earnings and thus utilization. Calibrated solutions show both ingredients matter for firm value. We test the novel model predictions using a new dataset of oil and gas producers. Consistent with model predictions, we find utilization is negatively correlated with firm liquidity, while hedging is positively correlated with liquidity and expected profitability.
Revise and Resubmit (2nd round), Management Science
Since ineffective debt resolution perpetuates zombie lending, bankruptcy reform has emerged as a solution. We show, however, that lender-based frictions can limit reform impact. Exploiting a unique empirical setting and novel supervisory data from India, we document that a new bankruptcy law had muted effects on lenders recognizing zombie borrowers as non-performing. A subsequent unexpected regulation, targeting perverse lender incentives to continue concealing zombies, increased zombie recognition particularly for undercapitalized and government-owned banks, highlighting the role of bank capital and political frictions in sustaining zombie lending. Resolving zombie loans allowed lenders to reallocate credit to healthier borrowers who increased investment.
Revise and Resubmit, Management Science
We uncover a significant friction in small business lending: perception of risk by Small Business Administration employees. Using novel data on SBA employees transferring across offices, we find that defaults on SBA loans in their previous location reduce SBA loans and job creation in their current location. The effect is independent of local economic conditions and the informational content of the non-local defaults, suggesting that SBA employees update their risk assessment irrationally. Our results are the first to document that regulators' potential misperception of economic conditions affects the ability of small businesses to obtain access to finance.
(previously titled "Foreign Currency Borrowing of Corporations as Carry Trades: Evidence from India")
We establish that macroprudential controls limiting capital flows can curb risks arising from foreign currency borrowing by corporates in emerging markets. Firm-level data show that Indian firms tend to issue more foreign currency debt when the interest rate differential between India and the United States is higher. This “carry trade” relationship, however, breaks down once regulators institute more stringent interest rate caps on borrowing; in response, riskier borrowers cut issuance most. Prior to adoption of this macroprudential measure, stock price exposure of issuers to currency risk rises after issuance, as witnessed during the “taper tantrum” episode of 2013; this source of vulnerability is nullified by the measure, as confirmed during the October 2018 oil price shock and the COVID-19 outbreak. We find no evidence of the policy’s efficacy being undermined by leakage or regulatory arbitrage.
Revise and Resubmit, Journal of Finance
Regulators can leave their government position for a job in a regulated firm. Using granular payroll data on 22 million federal employees, we uncover the first systematic evidence of revolving door incentives. We exploit the fact that post-employment restrictions on federal employees, which reduce the value of their outside option, trigger when the employee's base salary exceeds a threshold. We document significant bunching of salaries just below the threshold, consistent with a deliberate effort to preserve private sector job opportunities. The effect is concentrated among agencies with broad regulatory powers, minimal supervision by elected officials, and frequent interactions with high-paying industries. In those agencies, 49% of the regulators respond to revolving door incentives and sacrifice 7.4% of their wage potential to stay below the threshold. Consistent with theories of regulatory capture, we find that revolving regulators initiate fewer enforcement actions and issue rules with lower costs of compliance. Using our findings to calibrate a structural model, we show that eliminating the restriction will increase the incentive distortion in the federal government by 1.7%. Combined, our results shed new light on the economic implications of the revolving door in the government.
Revise and Resubmit, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
I study the relative importance of lending and deposit-taking for bank value. Comparing outcomes for winning banks to runner-up bidders in failed bank auctions, I find winners experience a 1.5% abnormal return and this increase is mainly due to deposits, not loans. After acquisition, the winning bank cuts lending to the failed bank’s borrowers and closes branches but it retains almost all acquired deposits. These deposits are not channeled into lending elsewhere. Rather, the acquirer is able to lower deposit rates, reflecting increased market power. Multiple results are independent of the failed bank, suggesting the findings have broader relevance.
We show that heightened regulation on large banks contributed to the rise in banking fragility leading up to the regional bank crisis of 2023. Starting in 2018, U.S. regulators have restricted Wells Fargo from growing beyond \$1.95 trillion in assets. Constrained by this asset cap, Wells Fargo contracted geographically, and its deposit growth stalled. Wells Fargo gave up large uninsured deposits to stay under the asset cap. We show that smaller, less regulated banks stepped in to fill the gap. Banks more geographically proximate to Wells Fargo experienced an influx of flighty uninsured deposits, particularly during the COVID-19 period. In turn, these banks experienced higher deposit outflows once monetary tightening commenced, and had lower equity returns following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. We rule out alternate explanations by showing that deposit growth is higher at branches directly competing with Wells Fargo compared to other branches of the same bank in the same county.