What is a Company Really Worth? Intangible Capital and the "Market to Book Value" Puzzle
"What is a company really worth?" is a question asked repeatedly during the recent financial crisis. Attention has been focused on short-term valuation issues, like the "mark-to-market" controversy. Sorting out these issues is complicated by the fact that the market puts a value on shareholder equity that is consistently more than twice the reported book value of a company. Numerous observers have pointed to the absence of most intangible assets from financial statements as an important source of this puzzle. We use Compustat financial data for 617 R&D intensive firms to test this possibility. We find that conventional book value alone explains only 31 percent of the market capitalization of these firms in 2006, and that this increases to 75 percent when our estimates of intangible capital are included. The debt-equity ratio also falls from 1.46 to 0.61. These findings suggest that financial reports tend to substantially understate the long-run intrinsic value of corporate America.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2008|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007.
"Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408.
- Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0716, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Bloom, Nicholas & Van Reenen, John, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 5581, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," NBER Working Papers 12216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and explaining management practices across firms and countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 733, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Carol Corrado & John Haltiwanger & Dan Sichel, 2005. "Measuring Capital in the New Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number corr05-1, Enero.
- Gadi Barlevy, 2007. "On the Cyclicality of Research and Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1131-1164, September.
- Bernstein, Jeffrey I. & Mamuneas, Theofanis P., 2006. "R&D depreciation, stocks, user costs and productivity growth for US R&D intensive industries," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 70-98, January.
- DiMasi, Joseph A. & Hansen, Ronald W. & Grabowski, Henry G., 2003. "The price of innovation: new estimates of drug development costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 151-185, March.
- Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2005.
"Measuring Organizational Capital in the New Economy,"
in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 205-236
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Black, Sandra E. & Lynch, Lisa M., 2005. "Measuring Organizational Capital in the New Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 1524, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Robert E. Hall, 2000. "E-Capital: The Link between the Stock Market and the Labor Market in the 1990s," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(2), pages 73-118.
- Carol A. Corrado & Charles R. Hulten & Daniel E. Sichel, 2006.
"Intangible Capital and Economic Growth,"
NBER Working Papers
11948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ayanian, Robert, 1983. "The Advertising Capital Controversy," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(3), pages 349-64, July.
- Black, Sandra E & Lynch, Lisa M, 1996. "Human-Capital Investments and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 263-67, May.
- Baruch Lev, 2003. "Remarks on the measurement, valuation, and reporting of intangible assets," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 17-22.
- Henry G. Grabowksi & Dennis C. Mueller, 1978. "Industrial Research and Development, Intangible Capital Stocks, and Firm Profit Rates," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 328-343, Autumn.
- Bronwyn H. Hall & Robert E. Hall, 1993. "The Value and Performance of U.S. Corporations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(1), pages 1-50.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14548. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.