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The Review of Financial Studies's Blog

The Real Effects of Hedge Fund Activism: Productivity, Asset Allocation, and Labor Outcomes

September 8, 2015 Comments (0)

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...

Board Structure and Monitoring: New Evidence from CEO Turnovers

September 8, 2015 Comments (0)

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...

Restraining Overconfident CEOs through Improved Governance: Evidence from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act

September 8, 2015 Comments (0)

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...

Expected Returns in Treasury Bonds

September 8, 2015 Comments (0)

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...

Exploring Return Dynamics via Corridor Implied Volatility

September 8, 2015 Comments (0)

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...

Dynamic Thin Markets

September 8, 2015 Comments (0)

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...

Financing Constraints and the Amplification of Aggregate Downturns

August 6, 2015 Comments (0)

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...

Capital Structure, Investment, and Fire Sales

August 6, 2015 Comments (0)

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...

A Theory of Income Smoothing When Insiders Know More Than Outsiders

August 6, 2015 Comments (0)

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...

Valuation, Adverse Selection, and Market Collapses

August 6, 2015 Comments (0)

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...