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Comparing the Investment Behavior of Public and Private Firms

Author

Listed:
  • John Asker
  • Joan Farre-Mensa
  • Alexander Ljungqvist

Abstract

We evaluate differences in investment behavior between stock market listed and privately held firms in the U.S. using a rich new data source on private firms. Listed firms invest less and are less responsive to changes in investment opportunities compared to observably similar, matched private firms, especially in industries in which stock prices are particularly sensitive to current earnings. These differences do not appear to be due to unobserved differences between public and private firms, how we measure investment opportunities, lifecycle differences, or our matching criteria. We suggest that the patterns we document are most consistent with theoretical models emphasizing the role of managerial myopia.

Suggested Citation

  • John Asker & Joan Farre-Mensa & Alexander Ljungqvist, 2011. "Comparing the Investment Behavior of Public and Private Firms," NBER Working Papers 17394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17394
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Acharya, Viral V. & Almeida, Heitor & Campello, Murillo, 2007. "Is cash negative debt? A hedging perspective on corporate financial policies," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 515-554, October.
    2. James S. Ang & Rebel A. Cole & James Wuh Lin, 2000. "Agency Costs and Ownership Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 81-106, February.
    3. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2008. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1537-1557, November.
    4. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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