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Corporate capital structure and pension-funding strategy

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Abstract

This article provides an integrated analysis of pension funding and corporate financing strategies in the presence of default risk. The article shows that when the marginal personal income tax rate is constant, the financing decision with respect to pension funding is influenced entirely by tax considerations. When the marginal personal income tax is progressive, the optimal financing of pension funding depends on the cyclical nature of the firm (as characterized by the sign of beta), the riskiness of pension assets, and ERISA regulations concerning the pension-benefit guaranty rate, the marginal pension insurance premium and the firm's legal responsibility for its unfunded pension obligations. It is shown that a necessary condition for partial pension funding is that the marginal insurance premium imposed by PBGC must be less than actuarially fair, and a necessary condition for pension funding to be financed by both debt and equity is that beta must be positive.

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Hu, S.C. Corporate capital structure and pension-funding strategy. Rev Quant Finan Acc 2, 145–168 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00243799

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Key words

  • corporate finance
  • pensions
  • ERISA
  • PBGC