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Labour and the Market Value of the Firm

  • Merz, Monika
  • Yashiv, Eran

What role does labour play in firms’ market value? We explore this question using a production-based asset-pricing model with frictions in the adjustment of both capital and labor. We posit that hiring of labour is akin to investment in capital and that the two interact, with the interaction being a crucial determinant of market value behaviour. We use aggregate US corporate sector data to estimate firms’ optimal hiring and investment decisions and the consequences for firms’ value. We then decompose this value, thereby quantifying the link between firms’ market value and gross hiring flows, employment, gross investment and physical capital. We find that a conventional specification — quadratic adjustment costs for capital and no hiring costs — performs poorly. Rather hiring and investment flows, unlike employment and capital stocks, are volatile and both are essential to account for market volatility. A key result is that firms’ value embodies the value of hiring and investment over and above the capital stock.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4184.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4184
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  1. Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2000. "On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 7925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Robert E. Hall, 2002. "Industry Dynamics with Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 8849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gilchrist, S. & Himmelberg, C.P., 1995. "Evidence on the Role of Cash Flow for Investment," Papers 95-29, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  4. R. Glenn Hubbard & Anil K Kashyap & Toni M. Whited, 1993. "Internal Finance and Firm Investment," NBER Working Papers 4392, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Fumio Hayashi, 1981. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average a : A Neoclassical Interpretation," Discussion Papers 457, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Russell Cooper & Joao Ejarque, 2003. "Financial Frictions and Investment: Requiem in Q," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(4), pages 710-728, October.
  7. Simon Gilchrist & Charles Himmelberg, 1998. "Investment, Fundamentals and Finance," NBER Working Papers 6652, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Steven A. Barnett & Plutarchos Sakellaris, 1999. "A New Look At Firm Market Value, Investment, And Adjustment Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 250-260, May.
  9. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1984. "The Dynamic Demand for Capital and Labor," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 735, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
  11. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
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