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Optimal Diversification


  • Gomes, Joao F
  • Livdan, Dmitry


In this Paper we show that the main empirical findings about firm diversification and performance are actually consistent with the optimal behavior of a firm that maximizes shareholder value. In our model, diversification allows a firm to explore better productive opportunities while taking advantage of economies of scale. The dynamic structure of our model allows us to examine several aspects of the relationship between firm diversification and performance in a very general setting.

Suggested Citation

  • Gomes, Joao F & Livdan, Dmitry, 2002. "Optimal Diversification," CEPR Discussion Papers 3461, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3461

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Gordon M Phillips & Vojislav Maksimovic, 1999. "Do Conglomerate Firms Allocate Resources Inefficiently?," Working Papers 99-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-264, April.
    7. Raghuram Rajan & Henri Servaes & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Cost of Diversity: The Diversification Discount and Inefficient Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 35-80, February.
    8. Yakov Amihud & Baruch Lev, 1981. "Risk Reduction as a Managerial Motive for Conglomerate Mergers," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 605-617, Autumn.
    9. Denis, David J & Denis, Diane K & Sarin, Atulya, 1997. " Agency Problems, Equity Ownership, and Corporate Diversification," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 135-160, March.
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    11. David S. Scharfstein, 1998. "The Dark Side of Internal Capital Markets II: Evidence from Diversified Conglomerates," NBER Working Papers 6352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    13. Matsusaka, John G, 2001. "Corporate Diversification, Value Maximization, and Organizational Capabilities," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74(3), pages 409-431, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Larry D. Wall & Alan K. Reichert & Hsin-Yu Liang, 2008. "The final frontier : the integration of banking and commerce. Part 1, the likely outcome of eliminating the barrier," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    2. Hans K. Hvide & Eirik Gaard Kristiansen, 2012. "Management of Knowledge Workers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 815-838.
    3. Missaka Warusawitharana, 2007. "Corporate asset purchases and sales: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Gomes, Joao F & Livdan, Dmitry, 2002. "The Performance of Optimally Diversified Firms: Reconciling Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 3546, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    corporate strategy; diversification; diversification discount; size; total factor productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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