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Contrasting Trends in Firm Volatility: Theory and Evidence

  • Thesmar, David
  • Thoenig, Mathias

Over the past decades, the real and financial volatility of listed firms has increased, while the volatility of private firms has decreased. We first provide panel data evidence that, at the firm level, sales and employment volatility are impacted by changes in the degree of ownership concentration. We then construct a model with private and listed firms where risk taking is a choice variable at the firm-level. Due to general equilibrium feedback, we find that an increase in stock market participation or integration in international capital markets generate opposite trends in volatility for private and listed firms. This pattern cannot be replicated by alternative comparative statics exercises, such as an increase in product market competition, an increase in product market size, an increase in the fraction of listed firms, or a decrease in aggregate volatility.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7135.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7135
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1994. "Was Prometheus unbound by chance? Risk, diversification and growth," Economics Working Papers 98, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Diego Comin & Sunil Mulani, 2004. "Diverging Trends in Macro and Micro Volatility: Facts," NBER Working Papers 10922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," NBER Working Papers 10314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Anusha Chari & Peter Blair Henry, 2002. "Risk Sharing and Asset Prices: Evidence From a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Andrew Atkeson & Ariel Burstein, 2008. "Pricing-to-Market, Trade Costs, and International Relative Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1998-2031, December.
  6. Rui Castro & Gian Luca Clementi & Glenn McDonald, 2007. "Legal Institutions, Sectoral Heterogeneity, and Economic Development," Working Paper Series 05-07, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, revised Jul 2007.
  7. John Y. Campbell, 2001. "Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? An Empirical Exploration of Idiosyncratic Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 1-43, 02.
  8. George-Marios Angeletos & Laurent E. Calvet, 2002. "Idiosyncratic Production Risk, Growth and the Business Cycle," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1952, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Diego Comin & Sunil Mulani, 2005. "A Theory of Growth and Volatility at the Aggregate and Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 11503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Diego Comin & Thomas Philippon, 2005. "The Rise in Firm-Level Volatility: Causes and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 11388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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