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The Impact of Industry Classification Schemes on Financial Research

Author

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  • Christian Weiner

Abstract

This paper investigates industry classification systems. During the last 50 years there has been a considerable discussion of problems regarding the classification of economic data by industries. From my perspective, the central point of each classification is to determine a balance between aggregation of similar firms and differentiation between industries. This paper examines the structure and content of industrial classification schemes and how they affect financial research. I use classification systems provided by the Worldscope and the Compustat database. First, this study gives a detailed description of the structure and methodology of industrial classification systems and the relevance in leading finance and accounting journals. Second, I construct a benchmark classification system to measure the performance of different systems and provide evidence that some systems a more homogeneous in terms of value drivers than others. Third, I examine how multiple valuation is influenced by industry classification and show that the results vary significantly for different systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Weiner, 2005. "The Impact of Industry Classification Schemes on Financial Research," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-062, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2005-062
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    File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2005-062.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kahle, Kathleen M. & Walkling, Ralph A., 1996. "The Impact of Industry Classifications on Financial Research," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(03), pages 309-335, September.
    2. Kathleen M. Kahle & Ralph A. Walkling, "undated". "The Impact of Industry Classifications on Financial Research," Research in Financial Economics 9607, Ohio State University.
    3. Cheng, C S Agnes & McNamara, Ray, 2000. "The Valuation Accuracy of the Price-Earnings and Price-Book Benchmark Valuation Methods," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 349-370, December.
    4. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
    5. Clarke, Richard N, 1989. "SICs as Delineators of Economic Markets," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(1), pages 17-31, January.
    6. Belén Villalonga, 2004. "Does Diversification Cause the "Diversification Discount"?," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 33(2), Summer.
    7. Sanjeev Bhojraj, 2002. "Who Is My Peer? A Valuation-Based Approach to the Selection of Comparable Firms," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(2), pages 407-439, May.
    8. Fan, Joseph P H & Lang, Larry H P, 2000. "The Measurement of Relatedness: An Application to Corporate Diversification," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(4), pages 629-660, October.
    9. Tim Loughran & Jennifer Marietta-Westberg, 2005. "Divergence of Opinion Surrounding Extreme Events," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 11(5), pages 579-601.
    10. Volker Herrmann & Frank Richter, 2003. "Pricing With Performance-Controlled Multiples," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 55(3), pages 194-219, July.
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    13. Sanjeev Bhojraj & Charles M. C. Lee & Derek K. Oler, 2003. "What's My Line? A Comparison of Industry Classification Schemes for Capital Market Research," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(5), pages 745-774, December.
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    17. Fertuck, Leonard, 1975. "A Test of Industry Indices Based on SIC Codes," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(05), pages 837-848, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rudolph, Christin & Schwetzler, Bernhard, 2014. "Mountain or molehill? Downward biases in the conglomerate discount measure," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 420-431.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    industry classification;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • M40 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - General

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