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The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled The Real Effects of Hedge Fund Activism: Productivity, Asset Allocation, and Labor Outcomes
This paper studies the long-term effect of hedge fund activism on firm productivity using plant-level information from the U.S. Census Bureau. A typical target firm improves production efficiency in the 3 years after intervention, with stronger improvements in business strategy-oriented interventions. Plants sold after intervention improve productivity significantly under new ownership, suggesting that capital redeployment is an important channel for value creation. Employees of target firms experience stagnation in work hours and wages despite an increase in labor productivity. Additional...
1324 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Board Structure and Monitoring: New Evidence from CEO Turnovers
We use the 2003 NYSE and NASDAQ listing rules for board and committee independence as a quasinatural experiment to examine the causal relations between board structure and CEO monitoring. Noncompliant firms forced to raise board independence or adopt a fully independent nominating committee significantly increased their forced CEO turnover sensitivity to performance relative to compliant firms. Nominating committee independence is important even when firms had an independent board, and the effect is stronger when the CEO is on the committee. We conclude that greater board independence and...
1324 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Restraining Overconfident CEOs through Improved Governance: Evidence from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
The literature posits that some CEO overconfidence benefits shareholders, though high levels may not. We argue that adequate controls and independent viewpoints provided by an independent board mitigates the costs of CEO overconfidence. We use the concurrent passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and changes to the NYSE/NASDAQ listing rules (collectively, SOX) as natural experiments, to examine whether board independence improves decision making by overconfident CEOs. The results are strongly supportive: after SOX, overconfident CEOs reduce investment and risk exposure, increase dividends, improve...
1324 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Expected Returns in Treasury Bonds
We study risk premium in U.S. Treasury bonds. We decompose Treasury yields into inflation expectations and maturity-specific interest-rate cycles, which we define as variation in yields orthogonal to expected inflation. The short-maturity cycle captures the real short-rate dynamics. Jointly with expected inflation, it comprises the expectations hypothesis (EH) term in the yield curve. Controlling for the EH term, we extract a measure of risk-premium variation from yields. The risk-premium factor forecasts excess bond returns in and out of sample and subsumes the common bond return predictor...
1324 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Dynamic Thin Markets
Large institutional investors dominate many financial markets. This paper develops a consumption-based model of markets in which all institutional traders recognize their impact on prices. Bilateral (buyer and seller) market power changes efficiency and arbitrage properties of equilibrium. Predictions match temporary and permanent price effects of supply shocks, order breakup, limits to arbitrage, nonneutrality of trading frequency, and real effects of shocks and announcements in periods other than event dates. Maximizing welfare and stabilizing liquidity through disclosure of information...
1324 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Exploring Return Dynamics via Corridor Implied Volatility
Some fundamental questions regarding equity-index return dynamics are difficult to address due to the latent character of spot volatility. We exploit tick-by-tick option quotes to compute a novel "Corridor Volatility" index which may serve as an observable proxy for short-term volatility. Exploiting this index, we find that equity-index volatility jumps are common, symmetrically distributed, and cojump with the underlying returns. Moreover, the return-volatility asymmetry is more pronounced than is generally recognized and is in force for both diffusive and jump innovations in volatility....
1324 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Financing Constraints and the Amplification of Aggregate Downturns
This paper shows that during industry downturns, firms experience significantly greater valuation losses when their industry peers' long-term debt is maturing at the time of the shocks. Across a range of tests, the analysis addresses the endogenous determination of peer debt-maturity structure. Overall, the evidence suggests that the negative externalities financially constrained firms impose on their industry peers can significantly amplify the effects of industry downturns. The evidence also provides support for the view that these amplification effects are driven by the adverse effect that...
1356 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Capital Structure, Investment, and Fire Sales
We study a dynamic general equilibrium model in which firms choose their investment level and capital structure, trading off the tax advantages of debt against the risk of costly default. Bankruptcy costs are endogenous, as bankrupt firms are forced to liquidate their assets, resulting in a fire sale if the market is illiquid. When the corporate income tax rate is positive, firms have a unique optimal capital structure. In equilibrium, firms default with positive probability and their assets are liquidated at fire-sale prices. The equilibrium features underinvestment and is constrained...
1356 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Valuation, Adverse Selection, and Market Collapses
We study a market for funding real investment where valuation—meaning investors devoting resources to acquiring information about future payoffs—creates an adverse selection problem. Unlike previous models, more valuation is associated with lower market prices and so greater returns to valuation. This strategic complementarity in the capacity to do valuation generates multiple equilibria. With multiple equilibria, the equilibrium without valuation is most efficient despite funding some unprofitable investments. Switches to valuation equilibria, valuation runs, look like credit...
1356 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled A Theory of Income Smoothing When Insiders Know More Than Outsiders
We develop a theory of income and payout smoothing by firms when insiders know more about income than outside shareholders, but property rights ensure that outsiders can enforce a fair payout. Insiders set payout to meet outsiders' expectations and underproduce to manage future expectations downward. The observed income and payout process are smooth and adjust partially and over time in response to economic shocks. The smaller the inside ownership, the more severe underproduction is, resulting in an "outside equity Laffer curve."
1356 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled On Bounding Credit-Event Risk Premia
Reduced-form models of default that attribute a large fraction of credit spreads to compensation for credit-event risk typically preclude the most plausible economic justification for such risk to be priced, namely, a contemporaneous drop in the market portfolio. When this "contagion" channel is introduced within a general equilibrium framework for an economy comprising a large number of firms, credit-event risk premia have an upper bound of a few basis points, and are dwarfed by the contagion premium. We provide empirical evidence that indicates credit-event risk premia are less than 1 bp,...
1356 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Why Are University Endowments Large and Risky?
We build a model of universities combining their real production decisions with their choice of endowment size and asset allocation. Variation in opportunity cost, that is, the productivity of internal projects, has a first-order effect on these choices. Adding the UPMIFA-mandated 7% payout constraint, the endowment size and asset allocations match those empirically observed. This constraint has little effect on universities that do not value the output of their internal projects but harms those that do: it prevents the endowment's use as an effective buffer stock, thereby increasing the...
1356 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Optimal Tax Timing with Asymmetric Long-Term/Short-Term Capital Gains Tax
We develop an optimal tax-timing model that takes into account asymmetric long-term and short-term tax rates for positive capital gains and limited tax deductibility of capital losses. In contrast to the existing literature, this model can help explain why many investors not only defer short-term capital losses to long term but also defer large long-term capital gains and losses. Because the benefit of tax deductibility of capital losses increases with the short-term tax rates, effective tax rates can decrease as short-term capital gains tax rates increase.
1356 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled The Bright Side of Corporate Diversification: Evidence from Internal Labor Markets
We document differences in human-capital deployment between diversified and focused firms. We find that diversified firms have higher labor productivity and that they redeploy labor to industries with better prospects in response to changing opportunities. The opportunities and incentives provided in internal labor markets in turn affect the development of workers' human capital. We find that workers more frequently transition to other industries in which their diversified firms operate and with smaller wage losses compared with workers in the open market, even when they leave their original...
1381 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Shareholder Voting and Corporate Governance Around the World
Using a sample of non-U.S. firms from 43 countries, we investigate whether laws and regulations as well as votes cast by U.S. institutional investors are consistent with an effective shareholder voting process. We find that laws and regulations allow for meaningful votes to be cast, as shareholder voting is both mandatory and binding for important elections. For votes cast, we find there is greater dissent voting when investors fear expropriation. Further, greater dissent voting is associated with higher director turnover and more M&A withdrawals. Our results suggest that shareholder...
1381 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled What's in a Name? Mutual Fund Flows When Managers Have Foreign-Sounding Names
We show that name-induced stereotypes affect the investment choices of U.S. mutual fund investors. Managers with foreign-sounding names have about 10% lower annual fund flows, and this effect is stronger among funds with investor clienteles more likely to be suspicious of foreigners. Foreign-named managers experience lower appreciation (greater decline) in flows following good (bad) performance. Following 9/11, flows to funds with managers with Middle-Eastern-sounding names declined abnormally. In an experimental setting in which skill differences are absent, individuals allocate 11% less...
1381 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Territorial Tax System Reform and Corporate Financial Policies
We examine the effect of a permanent change to a country corporate income repatriation tax system on corporate financial policies. In 2009, Japan and the United Kingdom switched from a worldwide system to a territorial system for the taxation of repatriated foreign earnings, effectively reducing the tax liabilities of most multinational firms when repatriating earnings. We find that after the change firms accumulate less cash, pay out larger amounts through dividends and share repurchases, and invest less abroad. We do not find that the tax system change has significantly affected domestic...
1381 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Can "High Costs" Justify Weak Demand for the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage?
Home Equity Conversion Mortgages ("HECMs") implicitly bundle nondefaultable credit lines with put options that let borrowers, or their heirs, sell mortgaged homes for the credit line limit when borrowers move or die. The put option's value, net of closing costs, bounds HECM's value to borrowers below. Older homeowners' weak demand is commonly attributed to HECM's "high costs," and the government prices insurance intending to avoid subsidy. However, simulations indicate put value has often exceeded closing costs, even ignoring other embedded options and using backward-looking expectations near...
1381 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Information Management in Banking Crises
A regulator resolving a bank faces two audiences: depositors, who may run if they believe the regulator will not provide capital, and banks, which may take excess risk if they believe the regulator will provide capital. When the regulator's cost of injecting capital is private information, it manages expectations by using costly signals: (1) a regulator with a low cost of injecting capital may forbear on bad banks to signal toughness and reduce risk taking, and (2) a regulator with a high cost of injecting capital may bail out bad banks to increase confidence and prevent runs.
1381 days ago
The Review of Financial Studies wrote a new blog post titled Testing for Information Asymmetries in Real Estate Markets
In housing markets, neighborhood characteristics are a key source of information heterogeneity: sellers are usually better informed about neighborhood values than buyers are, but some sellers and buyers are better informed than their peers are. Consistent with predictions from a new framework for analyzing such markets with heterogeneous assets and differentially informed agents, we find that changes in the composition of sellers toward more informed sellers and sellers with a larger supply elasticity predict subsequent house price declines. This effect is larger for houses with more price...
1381 days ago