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Ferreting out Tunneling: An Application to Indian Business Groups

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Listed:
  • Marianne Bertrand
  • Paras Mehta
  • Sendhil Mullainathan

Abstract

Owners of business groups are often accused of expropriating minority shareholders by tunneling resources from firms where they have low cash flow rights to firms where they have high cash flow rights. In this paper we propose a general methodology to measure the extent of tunneling activities. The methodology rests on isolating and then testing the distinctive implications of the tunneling hypothesis for the propagation of earnings shocks across firms within a group. When we apply our methodology to data on Indian business groups, we find a significant amount of tunneling, much of it occurring via nonoperating components of profit.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianne Bertrand & Paras Mehta & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "Ferreting out Tunneling: An Application to Indian Business Groups," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 121-148.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:1:p:121-148.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/003355302753399463
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shleifer, Andrei & Wolfenzon, Daniel, 2002. "Investor protection and equity markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 3-27, October.
    2. Luigi Zingales, 1995. "What Determines the Value of Corporate Votes?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1047-1073.
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    5. Lucian Bebchuk & Reinier Kraakman & George Triantis, 1999. "Stock Pyramids, Cross-Ownership, and the Dual Class Equity: The Creation and Agency Costs of Seperating Control from Cash Flow Rights," NBER Working Papers 6951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 1994. "What do firms do with cash windfalls?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 337-360, December.
    7. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1999. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 471-517, April.
    8. Johnson, Simon & Boone, Peter & Breach, Alasdair & Friedman, Eric, 2000. "Corporate governance in the Asian financial crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 141-186.
    9. repec:hrv:faseco:30747162 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2001. "Are CEOs Rewarded for Luck? The Ones Without Principals Are," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 901-932.
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    JEL classification:

    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance

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