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Labor and the market value of the firm

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  • Merz, Monika
  • Yashiv, Eran

Abstract

What role does labor play in a firm’s 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 labor is akin to investment in capital and that the two interact, with the interaction being a crucial determinant of the time series behavior of market value. We use aggregate U.S. corporate sector data to estimate firms' optimal hiring and investment decisions and the consequences for firms' value. The model generates a good fit of the data. We decompose the estimated market value, thereby quantifying the link between firms' value and gross hiring flows, employment, gross investment flows, and physical capital. We find that a conventional specification -- quadratic adjustment costs for capital and no hiring costs -- performs poorly. Hiring and investment flows, unlike employment and capital stocks, are volatile and both are essential to account for market value 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, 2005. "Labor and the market value of the firm," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19891, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19891
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19891/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gilchrist, Simon & Himmelberg, Charles P., 1995. "Evidence on the role of cash flow for investment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 541-572, December.
    2. Matthew D. Shapiro, 1986. "The Dynamic Demand for Capital and Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(3), pages 513-542.
    3. 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.
    4. Simon Gilchrist & Charles Himmelberg, 1999. "Investment: Fundamentals and Finance," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 223-274 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
    8. Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2006. "On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 611-633.
    9. Robert E. Hall, 2002. "Industry Dynamics with Adjustment Costs," NBER Working Papers 8849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    production-based asset pricing; labor market frictions; gross flows; Q-model; GMM;

    JEL classification:

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

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