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Keywords:

  • Corporate hedging;
  • Derivatives;
  • Financial distress;
  • Distance to default
  • F30;
  • G32;
  • G33

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of foreign currency hedging with derivatives on the probability of financial distress. I use Merton’s (1974) structural default model to compute firms’ distance to default as a proxy for their probability of financial distress. Using an instrumental variables approach to control for endogenous hedging and leverage, I find that the extent of foreign currency hedging is associated with a lower probability of financial distress. Whereas previous research finds that the probability of financial distress is a determinant of a firm’s hedging policy, this paper provides direct evidence supporting the hypothesis that the extent of hedging reduces a firm’s probability of financial distress.