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Does Idiosyncratic Business Risk Matter?

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  • Michelacci, Claudio
  • Schivardi, Fabiano

Abstract

Financial market imperfections can prevent entrepreneurs from diversifying away the idiosyncratic risk of their business. As a result idiosyncratic risk discourages entrepreneurial activity and hinders growth, with the effects being stronger in economies with lower risk diversification opportunities. In accordance with this prediction we find that OECD countries with low levels of risk diversification opportunities (as measured by the relevance of family firms or of widely held companies) perform relatively worse (in terms of productivity, investment, and business creation) in sectors characterized by high idiosyncratic volatility. Given that volatility is endogenous with respect to risk diversification opportunities, we instrument its value at the country-sector level with the corresponding sectoral volatility in the US, a country where financial imperfections are less relevant than elsewhere. Diversification measures are instrumented using demographic changes induced by World War II. We also provide firm-level evidence suggesting that firms controlled by less diversified owners display lower mean and dispersion of productivity growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Michelacci, Claudio & Schivardi, Fabiano, 2008. "Does Idiosyncratic Business Risk Matter?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6910, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6910
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Lippi & Fabiano Schivardi, 2014. "Corporate control and executive selection," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5, pages 417-456, July.
    2. Söhnke M. Bartram & Gregory Brown & René M. Stulz, 2012. "Why Are U.S. Stocks More Volatile?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(4), pages 1329-1370, August.
    3. Marco Pagano & Giovanni Pica, 2012. "Finance and employment [Credit constraints as a barrier to the entry and post-entry growth of firms]," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 27(69), pages 5-55.
    4. Rui Castro & Gian Luca Clementi & Yoonsoo Lee, 2015. "Cross Sectoral Variation in the Volatility of Plant Level Idiosyncratic Shocks," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 1-29, March.
    5. Maican, Florin & Orth, Matilda, 2015. "A dynamic analysis of entry regulations and productivity in retail trade," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 67-80.
    6. Magda Bianco & Maria Bontempi & Roberto Golinelli & Giuseppe Parigi, 2013. "Family firms’ investments, uncertainty and opacity," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 1035-1058, May.
    7. David Thesmar & Mathias Thoenig, 2011. "Contrasting Trends in Firm Volatility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 143-180, October.
    8. Rui Castro & Gian Luca Clementi & Yoonsoo Lee, 2008. "Cross-sectoral variation in firm-level idiosyncratic risk," Working Papers (Old Series) 0812, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    9. Bonfiglioli, Alessandra, 2012. "Investor protection and income inequality: Risk sharing vs risk taking," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 92-104.
    10. De Santis R. & Jona Lasinio C., 2016. "Environmental Policies, Innovation and Productivity in the EU," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 615-635, December.
    11. Bianco, Madga & Golinelli, Roberto & Parigi, Giuseppe, 2009. "Family firms and investments," MPRA Paper 19247, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Cecilia Jona-Lasinio, 2015. "Service off-shoring and productivity growth in the European economies," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 6(2).
    13. Matteo Bugamelli & Luigi Cannari & Francesca Lotti & Silvia Magri, 2012. "The innovation gap of Italy�s production system: roots and possible solutions," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 121, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    14. Antonio Ciccone & Elias Papaioannou, 2010. "Estimating cross-industry cross-country models using benchmark industry characteristics," Economics Working Papers 1235, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2016.
    15. Bartram, Sohnke M. & Brown, Gregory & Stulz, Rene M., 2009. "Why Do Foreign Firms Have Less Idiosyncratic Risk Than U.S. Firms?," Working Paper Series 2009-5, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    16. Carlos Drago & Francesco Millo & Roberto Ricciuti & Paolo Santella, 2011. "Corporate Governance Reforms, Interlocking Directorship Networks and Company Value in Italy (1998-2007)," CESifo Working Paper Series 3322, CESifo.
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    Keywords

    Entrepreneurship; financial frictions; growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

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