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Disaster Resilience and Asset Prices

Author

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  • Marco Pagano
  • Christian Wagner
  • Josef Zechner

Abstract

This paper investigates whether security markets price the effect of social distancing on firms' operations. We document that firms that are more resilient to social distancing significantly outperformed those with lower resilience during the COVID-19 outbreak, even after controlling for the standard risk factors. Similar cross-sectional return differentials already emerged before the COVID-19 crisis: the 2014-19 cumulative return differential between more and less resilient firms is of similar size as during the outbreak, suggesting growing awareness of pandemic risk well in advance of its materialization. Finally, we use stock option prices to infer the market's return expectations after the onset of the pandemic: even at a two-year horizon, stocks of more pandemic-resilient firms are expected to yield significantly lower returns than less resilient ones, reflecting their lower exposure to disaster risk. Hence, going forward, markets appear to price exposure to a new risk factor, namely, pandemic risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Pagano & Christian Wagner & Josef Zechner, 2020. "Disaster Resilience and Asset Prices," Papers 2005.08929, arXiv.org, revised May 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2005.08929
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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