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Catering Through Nominal Share Prices

  • Malcolm Baker
  • Robin Greenwood
  • Jeffrey Wurgler

We propose and test a catering theory of nominal stock prices. The theory predicts that when investors place higher valuations on low-price firms, managers will maintain share prices at lower levels, and vice-versa. Using measures of time-varying catering incentives based on valuation ratios, split announcement effects, and future returns, we find empirical support for the predictions in both time-series and firm-level data. Given the strong cross-sectional relationship between capitalization and nominal share price, an interpretation of the results is that managers may be trying to categorize their firms as small firms when investors favor small firms.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13762.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13762.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Publication status: published as Malcolm Baker & Robin Greenwood & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2009. "Catering through Nominal Share Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2559-2590, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13762
Note: AP CF
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  1. Michael J. Cooper, 2001. "A Rose.com by Any Other Name," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2371-2388, December.
  2. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, . "Disappearing Dividends: Changing Firm Characteristics or Lower Propensity to Pay?."," CRSP working papers 509, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  3. Malcolm Baker & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2003. "A Catering Theory of Dividends," NBER Working Papers 9542, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Amihud, Yakov & Hurvich, Clifford M., 2004. "Predictive Regressions: A Reduced-Bias Estimation Method," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(04), pages 813-841, December.
  5. Paul A. Gompers & Andrew Metrick, . "Institutional Investors and Equity Prices," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 20-99, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  6. Malcolm Baker & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2003. "Appearing and Disappearing Dividends: The Link to Catering Incentives," NBER Working Papers 9995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Li, Wei & Lie, Erik, 2006. "Dividend changes and catering incentives," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 293-308, May.
  8. Cooper, Michael J. & Khorana, Ajay & Osobov, Igor & Patel, Ajay & Rau, P. Raghavendra, 2005. "Managerial actions in response to a market downturn: valuation effects of name changes in the dot.com decline," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-2), pages 319-335, March.
  9. Merton, Robert C., 1987. "A simple model of capital market equilibrium with incomplete information," Working papers 1869-87., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  10. Malcolm Baker & Richard S. Ruback & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2004. "Behavioral Corporate Finance: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2003. "Limited attention, information disclosure, and financial reporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 337-386, December.
  12. 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.
  13. Tim Loughran & Jay R. Ritter, 2002. "Why Don't Issuers Get Upset About Leaving Money on the Table in IPOs?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(2), pages 413-444, March.
  14. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  15. Lakonishok, Josef & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1992. "The impact of institutional trading on stock prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 23-43, August.
  16. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
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