A business study of corporate bailouts has found that debt relief is more successful than cash injections. It revealed that, in the year after a cash bailout, executives paid themselves and some employees higher compensation!
Executives of firms that receive cash almost immediately give their employees and themselves raises.Professor Kenneth Kim
The study of the performance of 104 corporate bailouts in 21 countries between 1987 and 2005, was carried out by Kenneth Kim, associate professor, and Zhan Jiang, assistant professor, at the University at Buffalo School of Management, and Hao Zhang, assistant professor, at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
They found also that bailed out firms could recover to a point where their performance was as good as before, depending upon several factors. Recovery was best for firms that had had a sudden decline for reasons outside management control, or because they had problems servicing their debt. Firms that had declined more gradually with no significant external factors, or were unprofitable, were genuinely sick, and could not recover as well despite the bailout, though many did survive. Kim noted:
The former were profitable, they just needed a hand. So, it makes more sense to rescue firms that have been otherwise strong than to keep afloat “prolonged decliner” firms that have been weak or inefficient for some time.
Firms recovered least from governmental bailouts, because governments:
- don't monitor firms after the bailout as closely as large shareholders and banks
- may bail out a firm to keep people employed or to keep the economy going, regardless of the firm's performance
- are more inclined to bail out firms with government connections.