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Reallocation of Corporate Resources and Managerial Incentives in Internal Capital Markets

  • Brusco, Sandro
  • Panunzi, Fausto

One distinguishing feature of internal capital markets is their ability to reallocate funds in favour of the most profitable divisions (winner-picking). Yet, diversified firms often trade at a discount with respect to their focused counterparts. The literature has tried to explain the apparent misallocation of resources with lobbying activities or power struggles. We show that the diversification discount can be explained even in a model where resources are efficiently allocated ex post. When managers obtain utility from the funds under their purview, moving funds across divisions may diminish their incentives. The ex ante reduction in managerial incentives can more than offset the increase in firm value due to the ex post efficient reallocation of funds. If headquarters have some commitment power, it is in general optimal to commit not to reallocate at least a fraction of funds. As a result, the investment in a given division is (optimally) more sensitive to the division's cash flow than to other divisions' cash flow, as confirmed by the empirical studies on internal capital markets. Our theory complements the view that links the diversification discount to the inefficient functioning of internal capital markets.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2532.

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Date of creation: Sep 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2532
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  1. Brusco, Sandro & Panunzi, Fausto, 2005. "Reallocation of corporate resources and managerial incentives in internal capital markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 659-681, April.
  2. Bengt Holmstrom & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Financial Intermediation, Loanable Funds and the Real Sector," Working papers 95-1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  4. Fluck, Zsuzsanna & Lynch, Anthony W, 1999. "Why Do Firms Merge and Then Divest? A Theory of Financial Synergy," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(3), pages 319-46, July.
  5. Robert H. Gertner & David S. Scharfstein & Jeremy C. Stein, 1994. "Internal versus External Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 4776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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  17. Jeremy C. Stein, 2001. "Agency, Information and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 8342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1994. "Benefits of Narrow Business Strategies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1330-49, December.
  19. Jeremy C. Stein, 2000. "Information Production and Capital Allocation: Decentralized vs. Hierarchical Firms," NBER Working Papers 7705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Karl Lins & Henri Servaes, 1999. "International Evidence on the Value of Corporate Diversification," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 2215-2239, December.
  21. Toni M. Whited, 2001. "Is It Inefficient Investment that Causes the Diversification Discount?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1667-1691, October.
  22. Servaes, Henri, 1996. " The Value of Diversification during the Conglomerate Merger Wave," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1201-25, September.
  23. Owen Lamont, 1996. "Cash Flow and Investment: Evidence from Internal Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 5499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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