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Labour and the Market Value of the Firm

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  • Merz, Monika
  • Yashiv, Eran

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Merz, Monika & Yashiv, Eran, 2004. "Labour and the Market Value of the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 4184, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4184
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Simon Gilchrist & Charles P. Himmelberg, 1995. "Evidence on the Role of Cash Flow for Investment," Working Papers 95-01, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
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    11. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gmm; gross flows; labour market frictions; production-based asset pricing; q-model;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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