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Soft Information and Investment: Evidence from Plant-Level Data


  • Xavier Giroud


A reduction in travel time between headquarters and plants makes it easier for headquarters to monitor plants and gather “soft” information--i.e., information that cannot be transmitted through non-personal means. Using a difference-in-differences methodology, I find that the introduction of new airline routes that reduce the travel time between headquarters and plants leads to an increase in plant-level investment of 8% to 9% and an increase in plants’ total factor productivity of 1.3% to 1.4%. Consistent with the notion that a reduction in travel time makes it easier for headquarters to monitor plants and gather soft information, I find that my results are stronger: i) for plants whose headquarters are more time constrained; ii) for plants operating in soft-information industries; iii) during the earlier years of my sample period, when alternative, non-personal, means of monitoring and transmitting information were less developed; iv) for plants where information uncertainty is likely to be greater and soft information is likely to be more valuable, such as smaller plants and peripheral plants operating in industries that are not the firm’s main industry.

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  • Xavier Giroud, 2010. "Soft Information and Investment: Evidence from Plant-Level Data," Working Papers 10-38r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Nov 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:10-38r

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    11. Ackerberg, Daniel & Caves, Kevin & Frazer, Garth, 2006. "Structural identification of production functions," MPRA Paper 38349, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Geoffrey Tate & Liu Yang, 2013. "The Bright Side Of Corporate Diversification: Evidence From Internal Labor Markets," Working Papers 13-40, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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