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Resource Allocation within Firms and Financial Market Dislocation: Evidence from Diversified Conglomerates

  • Gregor Matvos
  • Amit Seru

When external capital markets are stressed they may not reallocate resources between firms. We show that resource allocation within firms' internal capital markets provides an important force countervailing financial market dislocation. Using data on US conglomerates we empirically verify that firms shift resources between industries in response to shocks to the financial sector. We estimate a structural model of internal capital market to separately identify and quantify the forces driving the reallocation decision and how these forces interact with external capital market stress. The frictions in internal capital markets drive a large wedge between productivity and investment: the weaker (stronger) division obtains too much (little) capital, as though it is 12 (9) percent more (less) productive than it really is. The cost of accessing external capital funds quadruple during extreme financial market dislocations, making resource allocation within firms significantly cheaper. The estimated model allows us to simulate the propagation of the 2007/2008 financial market dislocation. The counterfactual out of sample simulated data is remarkably consistent with the actual data and shows that improved resource allocation in internal capital markets offset financial market stress during the recent financial crisis by 16% to 30% relative to firms with no internal capital markets.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17717.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17717.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Publication status: published as "Resource Allocation within Firms and Financial Market Dislocation: Evidence from Diversified Conglomerates," (with Amit Seru), Review of Financial Studies, Accepted.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17717
Note: CF EFG IO ME PR
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  1. Almeida, Heitor & Campello, Murillo & Hackbarth, Dirk, 2011. "Liquidity mergers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(3), pages 526-558.
  2. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Working Papers 95-15, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. William Adams & Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2009. "Liquidity Constraints and Imperfect Information in Subprime Lending," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 49-84, March.
  4. Kahle, Kathleen M. & Stulz, Rene M., 2010. "Financial Policies and the Financial Crisis: How Important Was the Systemic Credit Contraction for Industrial Corporations?," Working Paper Series 2010-13, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
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  8. Stephen Ryan, 2005. "The Costs of Environmental Regulation in a Concentrated Industry," Working Papers 0510, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  9. Hovakimian, Gayané, 2011. "Financial constraints and investment efficiency: Internal capital allocation across the business cycle," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 264-283, April.
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