As firms have more assets in place, more of management?s limited attention is focused on managing assets in place rather than developing new growth options. Consequently, as firms grow older, they have fewer growth options and a lower ability to generate new growth options. This simple theory predicts that Tobin?s q falls with age.
Further, competition in the product market is expected to slow down the decrease in Tobin?s q because it forces firms to look for alternative sources of rents. Similarly, greater competition in the labor market reduces the decrease in Tobin?s q with age because old firms are in a better position to hire employees that can help with innovation. In contrast, competition in the market for corporate control should accelerate the decline because it forces management to focus more on managing assets in place whose performance is more directly observable than on developing growth options where results may not be observable for some time. We find strong support for these predictions in tests using exogenous variation in competition.
A 1970 New York Times essay on corporate social responsibility by Milton Friedman is often said to have launched a shareholder-focused reorientation of managerial priorities in America’s public companies. The essay correspondingly is a primary...Read more
This paper critiques an assessment by Bebchuk and Tallarita (BT) of the relative merits of shareholder and stakeholder governance. BT’s paper argues that stakeholder governance is either nothing more than enlightened shareholder value, or it...Read more
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During the revelation of the Weinstein scandal and the emergence of the #MeToo movement, firms with a culture of ethical behavior toward women, proxied by having women among their five highest paid executives, earned excess returns of close to 1....Read more