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Risk, returns, and multinational production

  • José L. Fillat
  • Stefania Garetto

This paper starts by unveiling a new empirical regularity: multinational corporations systematically tend to exhibit higher stock market returns and earnings yields than non-multinational firms. Within non-multinationals, exporters tend to exhibit higher earnings yields and returns than firms selling only in their domestic market. To explain this pattern, we develop a real option value model where firms are heterogeneous in productivity, and have to decide whether and how to sell in a foreign market where demand is risky. Firms can serve the foreign market through trade or foreign direct investment, thus becoming multinationals. Multinational firms are more exposed to risk: following a negative shock, they are reluctant to exit the foreign market because they would forgo the sunk cost that they paid to start investing abroad. We calibrate the model to match U.S. export and FDI dynamics, and use it to explain cross-sectional differences in earnings yields and returns.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper with number QAU10-5.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbqu:qau10-5
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  1. Alfonso A. Irarrazabal & Luca David Opromolla, 2008. "A Theory of Entry and Exit into Exports Markets," Working Papers w200820, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
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  3. Fillat, José L. & Garetto, Stefania & Oldenski, Lindsay, 2015. "Diversification, cost structure, and the risk premium of multinational corporations," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 37-54.
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  18. Ai, Hengjie & Kiku, Dana, 2013. "Growth to value: Option exercise and the cross section of equity returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 325-349.
  19. Timothy Dunne & J. Bradford Jensen & Mark J. Roberts, 2009. "Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number dunn05-1, September.
  20. Russ, Katheryn Niles, 2007. "The endogeneity of the exchange rate as a determinant of FDI: A model of entry and multinational firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 344-372, April.
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