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Corporate Restructuring and Investment Horizons

  • Bronwyn H. Hall

The recent wave of corporate restructuring in the United States has been accused of shortening the investment horizons of U.S. managers. This paper surveys the empirical and case study evidence on restructuring and investment behavior and reaches the following conclusions 1) A large fraction of the restructurings were motivated by synergistic or other efficiency-enhancing reasons and have little to do with investment horizons. 2) However, massive shifts toward debt in the capital structure of manufacturing firms. often induced by hostile takeover threats, are accompanied by reduced investment of all kinds, particularly in a few industries which are characterized by "stable' technology and cost-based innovative strategies. 3) The evidence is consistent with optimizing behavior on the part of firms faced with a lower relative price of debt to equity and a higher overall cost of capital during the nineteen-eighties, but there all still doubts about whether the U.S. market for corporate control elicits the correct level of long run investment. Thus the paper concludes with a discussion of the evidence on cross-country differences in the financing of investment and the market for corporate control and suggestions for future research in this area.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3794.

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Date of creation: Jul 1991
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Business History Review, vol 68, Spring 1994, pp 110-143
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3794
Note: ME
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  1. Cockburn, Iain & Griliches, Zvi, 1988. "Industry Effects and Appropriability Measures in the Stock Market's Valuation of R&D and Patents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 419-23, May.
  2. Ando, Albert & Auerbach, Alan J., 1990. "The cost of capital in Japan: Recent evidence and further results," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 323-350, December.
  3. Albert Ando & Alan J. Auerbach, 1985. "The Corporate Cost of Capital in Japan and the U.S.: A Comparison," NBER Working Papers 1762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Stein, Jeremy C, 1989. "Efficient Capital Markets, Inefficient Firms: A Model of Myopic Corporate Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(4), pages 655-69, November.
  5. Scharfstein, David, 1988. "The Disciplinary Role of Takeovers," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 185-99, April.
  6. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1990. "Bank Monitoring and Investment: Evidence from the Changing Structure of Japanese Corporate Banking Relationships," NBER Chapters, in: Asymmetric Information, Corporate Finance, and Investment, pages 105-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Myron S. Scholes & Mark A. Wolfson, 1989. "The Effects of Changes in Tax Laws on Corporate Reorganization Activity," NBER Working Papers 3095, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Stein, Jeremy C., 1988. "Takeover Threats and Managerial Myopia," Scholarly Articles 3708937, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Vishny, Robert W. & Bhagat, Sanjai & Shleifer, Andrei, 1990. "Hostile Takeovers in the 1980s: The Return to Corporate Specialization," Scholarly Articles 8705861, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Steven Kaplan, 1989. "Management Buyouts: Evidence on Taxes as a Source of Value," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(3), pages 611-632, 07.
  11. Ben S. Bernanke & John Y. Campbell, 1988. "Is There a Corporate Debt Crisis?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 83-140.
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