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The Impact of Industry Classification Schemes on Financial Research

  • Christian Weiner
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    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.

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    File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2005-062.pdf
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    Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2005-062.

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    Length: 52 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2005-062
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    1. 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 629-60, October.
    2. Berger, Philip G. & Ofek, Eli, 1995. "Diversification's effect on firm value," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 39-65, January.
    3. Kathleen M. Kahle & Ralph A. Walkling, . "The Impact of Industry Classifications on Financial Research," Research in Financial Economics 9607, Ohio State University.
    4. Kim, Moonchul & Ritter, Jay R., 1999. "Valuing IPOs," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 409-437, September.
    5. 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.
    6. Charles M. C. Lee & James Myers & Bhaskaran Swaminathan, 1999. "What is the Intrinsic Value of the Dow?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(5), pages 1693-1741, October.
    7. 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 349-70, December.
    8. 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.
    9. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
    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.
    11. Belén Villalonga, 2004. "Does Diversification Cause the "Diversification Discount"?," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 33(2), Summer.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Karl Lins & Henri Servaes, 1999. "International Evidence on the Value of Corporate Diversification," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 2215-2239, December.
    16. 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, 05.
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