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Influence and inefficiency in the internal capital market

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  • Wulf, Julie

Abstract

I model inefficient resource allocations in M-form organizations due to influence activities by division managers that skew capital budgets in their favor. Corporate headquarters receives two types of signals about investment opportunities: private signals that can be distorted by managers, and public signals that are undistorted but noisy. Headquarters faces a tradeoff between the cost of attaining an accurate private signal and the value of the information the signal provides. In contrast to existing models of "socialism" in internal capital markets, I show that investment sensitivity to Tobin's Q is higher than first-best in firms where division managers hold equity (a result consistent with evidence presented in Scharfstein, 1998). When managers face high private costs from distorting information (equity holdings), headquarters may commit to investment contracts that place "too little" weight on private signals and "too much" weight on public signals (i.e. Q). This result has implications for managers in the design of capital budgeting processes and incentive compensation systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Wulf, Julie, 2009. "Influence and inefficiency in the internal capital market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 305-321, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:305-321
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    Cited by:

    1. Kolasinski, Adam C., 2009. "Subsidiary debt, capital structure and internal capital markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 327-343, November.
    2. Elif AKBEN SELCUK, 2014. "Corporate Diversification, Group Affiliation and Firm Value: Evidence From Turkey," Journal of BRSA Banking and Financial Markets, Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, vol. 8(2), pages 151-174.
    3. Jeon, Bang Nam & Wu, Ji, 2014. "Global banks and internal capital markets: Evidence from bank-level panel data in emerging economies," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 79-94.
    4. Brüggen, Alexander & Luft, Joan, 2011. "Capital rationing, competition, and misrepresentation in budget forecasts," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 399-411.
    5. Bradford, William & Chen, Chao & Zhu, Song, 2013. "Cash dividend policy, corporate pyramids, and ownership structure: Evidence from China," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 445-464.
    6. Ang, James & de Jong, Abe & van der Poel, Marieke, 2014. "Does familiarity with business segments affect CEOs' divestment decisions?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 58-74.
    7. Markus Glaser & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Zacharias Sautner, 2013. "Opening the Black Box: Internal Capital Markets and Managerial Power," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(4), pages 1577-1631, August.
    8. Löffler, Clemens & Pfeiffer, Thomas, 2013. "Centralized versus Decentralized External Financing, Winner Picking and Corporate Socialism," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79902, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Seru, Amit, 2014. "Firm boundaries matter: Evidence from conglomerates and R&D activity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 381-405.
    10. Vinod Mishra & Rajabrata Banerjee & Tania Dey, 2011. "Influence Activity And Allocation Of Firms' Internal Capital: Evidence From Australia," Monash Economics Working Papers 38-11, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    11. Gao, Wenlian & Chou, Julia, 2015. "Innovation efficiency, global diversification, and firm value," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 278-298.
    12. Stefan Erdorf & Thomas Hartmann-Wendels & Nicolas Heinrichs & Michael Matz, 2013. "Corporate diversification and firm value: a survey of recent literature," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 27(2), pages 187-215, June.

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