UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Essays on corporate defined benefit pension plans and Chapter 11 bankruptcy Dimitrova, Milka


In this thesis, I present two essays on corporate defined benefit pension claimants and Chapter 11 bankruptcy. First, defined benefit claimants are related to a lower likelihood that the firm files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Second, defined benefit claimants influence the bankruptcy reorganization process beyond the role played by the firm's traditional creditors. In the first essay, I examine the role of defined benefit claimants in times leading up to bankruptcy. Defined benefit claimants are less diversified and face higher costs of Chapter 11 bankruptcy than traditional lenders. I show that these differences have implications for the likelihood that firms file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy: the higher the share of defined benefit liabilities relative to overall liabilities, the lower the likelihood of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. These results indicate that defined benefit claimants' incentives to keep the firm as a going concern matter for the firm's decision to file for Chapter 11 and should be considered in studies of debt renegotiation between the firm and its creditors. In the second essay, I focus on defined benefit claimants in bankruptcy and their impact on the reorganization process. I provide evidence that pension claimants influence the Chapter 11 restructuring beyond the impact of traditional lenders. In particular, defined benefit claimants play a role in the decision to terminate a pension plan in bankruptcy, in the likelihood that firms refile for bankruptcy, and in the amounts that unsecured creditors recover in bankruptcy. These results highlight a role for pension claimants in bankruptcy restructuring beyond that of traditional creditors. Additional tests indicate that one channel through which defined benefit claimants influence the Chapter 11 process and its outcomes is by accepting cuts in their pension liabilities which cannot be explained by the average reductions experienced by other creditors. These findings highlight the role of defined benefit claimants as an important player in bankruptcy restructuring.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada