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The Performance of Optimally Diversified Firms: Reconciling Theory and Evidence

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  • Gomes, Joao F
  • Livdan, Dmitry

Abstract

We construct an equilibrium model of firm diversification to show that the main empirical findings about firm diversification and performance are consistent with the maximization of shareholder value. In our model, diversification allows a firm to explore better productive opportunities while taking advantage of synergies. By explicitly linking the diversification strategies of the firm to differences in size and productivity, our model provides a natural laboratory to quantitatively investigate several aspects of the relationship between diversification and performance. Specifically, we show that our model is able to rationalize both the evidence on the diversification discount (Lang and Stulz (1994)) and the observed relation between diversification and firm productivity (Schoar (2002)).

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3546.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3546

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Keywords: Diversification Discount; firm diversification; Tobin's Q; Total Factor Productivity;

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  1. Matsusaka, John G, 2001. "Corporate Diversification, Value Maximization, and Organizational Capabilities," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(3), pages 409-31, July.
  2. Denis, David J & Denis, Diane K & Sarin, Atulya, 1997. " Agency Problems, Equity Ownership, and Corporate Diversification," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 135-60, March.
  3. Stulz, ReneM., 1990. "Managerial discretion and optimal financing policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 3-27, July.
  4. Raghuram Rajan & Henry Servaes & Luigi Zingales, . "The Cost of Diversity: The Diversification Discount and Inefficient Investment," CRSP working papers 463, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  5. José Manuel Campa & Simi Kedia, 1999. "Explaining the Diversification Discount," Working Papers 99-06, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  6. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-64, April.
  7. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
  8. Gomes, Joao F & Livdan, Dmitry, 2002. "Optimal Diversification," CEPR Discussion Papers 3461, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Lichtenberg, Frank R., 1992. "Industrial de-diversification and its consequences for productivity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 427-438, August.
  10. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  11. Owen A. Lamont, 2001. "The Diversification Discount: Cash Flows Versus Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1693-1721, October.
  12. Thomas F. Cooley & Vincenzo Quadrini, 1999. "Financial Markets and Firm Dynamics," Working Papers 99-14, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  13. Berger, Philip G. & Ofek, Eli, 1995. "Diversification's effect on firm value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 39-65, January.
  14. John R. Graham & Michael L. Lemmon & Jack G. Wolf, 2002. "Does Corporate Diversification Destroy Value?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(2), pages 695-720, 04.
  15. Joao F. Gomes, 2001. "Financing Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1263-1285, December.
  16. Gordon M Phillips & Vojislav Maksimovic, 1999. "Do Conglomerate Firms Allocate Resources Inefficiently?," Working Papers 99-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  17. Burnside, Craig, 1996. "Production function regressions, returns to scale, and externalities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 177-201, April.
  18. Toni M. Whited, 2001. "Is It Inefficient Investment that Causes the Diversification Discount?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1667-1691, October.
  19. Antoinette Schoar, 2002. "Effects of Corporate Diversification on Productivity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2379-2403, December.
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