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Katia Vozian

21 December 2021
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2631
Details
Abstract
This paper explores how the need to transition to a low-carbon economy influences firm credit risk. It develops a novel dataset which augments data on firms’ green-house gas emissions over time with information on climate disclosure practices and forward-looking emission reduction targets, thereby providing a rich picture of firms’ climate-related transition risk alongside their strategies to manage such risks. It then assesses how such climate-related metrics influence two key measures of firms’ credit risk: credit ratings and the market-implied distance-to-default. High emissions tend to be associated with higher credit risk. But disclosing emissions and setting a forward-looking target to cut emissions are both associated with lower credit risk, with the effect of climate commitments tending to be stronger for more ambitious targets. After the Paris agreement, firms most exposed to climate transition risk also saw their ratings deteriorate whereas other comparable firms did not, with the effect larger for European than US firms, probably reflecting differential expectations around climate policy. These results have policy implications for corporate disclosures and strategies around climate change and the treatment of the climate-related transition risk faced by the financial sector.
JEL Code
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
G11 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Portfolio Choice, Investment Decisions
G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill
Q51 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Environmental Economics→Valuation of Environmental Effects
Q56 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Environmental Economics→Environment and Development, Environment and Trade, Sustainability, Environmental Accounts and Accounting, Environmental Equity, Population Growth
C58 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric Modeling→Financial Econometrics