Sebastien Plante

Sebastien Plante

Contact Information

Research Interests: Microstructure, Credit Markets, Liquidity, Corporate Finance

Links: CV

Overview

I’m a job market candidate from Finance department at the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania.

I will be available for interviews at the AFA in January 2018.

Matriculation Year: 2012

Prior Degrees:

M.A. Financial Engineering, Laval University, 2011
B.A. Mathematical Economics, Laval University, 2009

Work Experience:

Lecturer, Laval University, 2010-2012
Research Assistant, Laval University, 2008-2012

 

 

 

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Research

Should Corporate Bond Trading Be Centralized? (Job Market Paper)

– BlackRock Applied Research Award Finalist

This paper shows that centralizing the US corporate bond market would yield large gains in efficiency. By studying two markets where corporate bonds are successfully traded on central limit order books, I estimate that the transaction costs of US corporate bonds would decrease by 70% on average if trading migrated from over-the-counter markets to limit order markets. To study the social value of reforming the corporate bond market, I build a parsimonious model of centralized and decentralized trading. The model implies that the optimal market structure can be determined by appropriately scaling the transaction costs associated with each market structure. Estimating the scaling factors reveals that a centralized market structure would be optimal for 91% of the bonds studied. For the average bond, moving to limit order markets would generate a social surplus equal to 1.28% of total par value. Large bond issues with low credit ratings and long time to maturity would benefit the most.

Financial Development, Growth, and the Political Economy of Shareholder Protection

Given the apparent benefits of protecting outside investors, why are poor countries lagging behind in terms of their governance standards? Focusing on shareholder protection, I build a model proposing two complementary explanations. First, I show that the welfare maximizing level of shareholder protection is lower in poor countries. Improving shareholder protection not only expands public firms’ risk sharing possibilities but also imposes an additional compliance burden, leading smaller firms to go private. The later effect hinders financial  development the most in poor countries. Second, I show that improving shareholder protection induces a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, creating political opposition to investor protection reforms. These reforms become politically viable only above some threshold of economic development.

Debt Overhang in Distress Times: Evidence from the 1935 Abrogation of Gold Clauses (with Joao Gomes and Mete Kilic)

Financial theory has long established that debt overhang can distort corporate decisions in many ways, such as the foregoing of profitable investment opportunities or the diversion of firm cash-flows. Despite clear theoretical predictions, quantifying the empirical relevance of debt overhang has proven more difficult, for at least two reasons. Many empirical studies either rely on variations in leverage that are unlikely to be exogenous, or use empirical settings that identify very local effects. In this paper, we overcome these two limitations by studying the 1935 supreme court decision to uphold the abrogation of gold indexation clauses in private contracts. Had the divided court (5-4) instead ruled against the abrogation, the debt burden of a large fraction of corporate borrowers would have increased by 69%. We use this setting to investigate how changes in expected future leverage affect firm decisions.

 

Teaching

 

Lecturer, Introduction to Finance, Laval University, 2010

Lecturer, International Finance, Laval University, 2011

TA, Accelerated Corporate Finance, University of Pennsylvania, 2014-2015

TA, Global Monetary and Financial Institution, University of Pennsylvania, 2015

TA, Behavioral Finance, University of Pennsylvania, 2015

 

Awards and Honors

  • BlackRock Applied Research Award Finalist, 2017
  • John Hodges PhD Prize in Finance for the best second-year paper, 2017
  • Univ. of Penn Dean’s Fellowship for Distinguished Merit, 2012-2016

Activity

Awards and Honors

BlackRock Applied Research Award Finalist 2017
All Awards