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Do Firms Mitigate or Magnify Capital Misallocation? Evidence from Planet-Level Data

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  • Matthias Kehrig
  • Nicolas Vincent

Abstract

Almost two thirds of the cross-plant dispersion in marginal revenue products of capital occurs across plants within the same firm rather than between firms. Even though firms allocate invest- ment very differently across their plants, they do not equalize marginal revenue products across their plants. We reconcile these findings in a model of multi-plant firms, physical adjustment costs and credit constraints. Credit constrained multi-plant firms can utilize internal capital markets by concentrating internal funds on investment projects in only a few of their plants in a given period and rotating funds to another set of plants in the future. The resulting increase in within-firm dispersion of marginal revenue products of capital is hence not a symptom of misallocation within the firm, but rather actions taken by the firm to mitigate external credit constraints and adjustment costs of capital. Economies with multi-plant firms produce more aggregate output despite higher dispersion in marginal revenue products of capital compared to economies with single-plant firms. Because emerging economies are predominantly populated by single-plant firms, the gains from reducing their distortions to the level of developed are larger than previously thought.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Kehrig & Nicolas Vincent, 2017. "Do Firms Mitigate or Magnify Capital Misallocation? Evidence from Planet-Level Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 6401, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6401
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    Cited by:

    1. Meier, Matthias, 2017. "Time to Build and the Business Cycle," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168059, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    misallocation; productivity dispersion; multi-plants firms; internal capital markets;

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General

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