Research seminars

Marrying for Money: Evidence from Changes in Marital Property Laws in the U.S. South, 1840-1850.

Finance

Speaker: Peter Koudijs
Stanford University

15 October 2015


One way in which marriage generates value is by allowing couples to pool property for the purposes of risk sharing and investment. This dimension of marriage has received little attention in the literature, in part because it is difficult to separate this effect from the gains from division of labor within the household. We measure the impact of a class of married women’s property laws introduced in the American South during the 1840s on family investment and assortative matching in the marriage market. These laws did not grant married women autonomy over their separate property; they merely shielded this property from seizure by their husbands’ creditors. This had the dual effect of mitigating downside risk while restricting a husband’s ability to borrow against his wife’s property; it also preserved the bulk of the wife’s property as an inheritance for the couple’s children. As such, these laws affected a couple’s ability to pool property and access credit without affecting the relative bargaining position of husbands and wives; this allows us to shed light on the importance of property in the marriage market. Using a newly compiled database of linked marriage and census records, we show that these property laws increased investment when the bulk of a couple’s property was owned by the husband; however, they had the inverse effect when most of a couple’s property was owned by the wife. In addition, we show that assortative matching on wealth declined after the passage of these laws, while assortative matching on age increased.

Operating Leverage, Risk Taking and Coordination Failures

Finance

Speaker: Matthieu Bouvard
Desautels Faculty of Management

14 June 2018 - S125 - From 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm

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We study an economy with demand spillovers where firms' decisions to produce are strategic complements. Firms have access to an increasing returns to scale technology and choose their operating leverage trading off higher fixed costs for lower variable costs. Operating leverage raises the sensitivity of firms' profits to an aggregate labor productivity shock, thereby magnifying systematic risk. We show that firms take excessive risk as they do not internalize that higher operating leverage increases the likelihood of a coordination failure where output is infficiently depressed across the economy. More generally, our analysis suggests that individual risk-taking decisions aggregate into excessive output volatility in the presence of strategic complementarities among agents.

The Origins and Real Effects of the Gender Gap: Evidence from CEOs’ Formative Years∗

Finance

Speaker: Mikhail Simutin
Rotman School of Management

7 June 2018 - T004 - From 10:00 am to 12:30 pm

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CEOs allocate more investment capital to male than female division managers. Using data from individual Census records, we find that this gender gap is driven by CEOs who grew up in male-dominated families—those where the father was the only income earner and had more education than the mother. The gender gap also increases for CEOs who attended all-male high schools and grew up in neighborhoods with greater gender inequality. The effect of gender on capital budgeting introduces frictions and erodes investment efficiency. Overall, the gender gap originates in CEO preferences developed during formative years and produces significant real effects.

Disclosure, Competition, and Learning from Asset Prices

Finance

Speaker: Liyan Yang
Rotman School of Management

31 May 2018 - T027 - From 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm

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This paper studies the classic information-sharing problem in a duopoly setting in which firms learn information from a financial market. By disclosing information, a firm incurs a proprietary cost of losing competitive advantage to its rival firm but benefits from learning from a more informative asset market. Firms' disclosure decisions can exhibit strategic complementarity, which is strong enough to support both a disclosure equilibrium and a nondisclosure equilibrium. Allowing minimal learning from asset prices dramatically changes firms' disclosure behaviors: without learning from prices, firms do not disclose at all; but with minimal learning from prices, firms can almost fully disclose their information. Learning from asset prices benefits firms, consumers, and liquidity traders, but harms financial speculators.

Alpha Decay*

Finance

Speaker: Anton Lines
Columbia Business School

24 May 2018 - T020 - From 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm

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Using a novel sample of professional asset managers, we document positive incremental alpha on newly purchased stocks that decays over twelve months. While managers are successful forecasters at these short-to-medium horizons, their average holding period is substantially longer (2.2 years). Both slow alpha decay and the horizon mismatch can be explained by strategic trading behavior. Managers accumulate positions gradually and unwind gradually once the alpha has run out; they trade more aggressively when the number of competitors and/or correlation among information signals is high, and do not increase trade size after unexpected capital flows. Alphas are lower when competition/correlation increases.

What is the Expected Return on a Stock?

Finance

Speaker: Ian Martin
LSE

17 May 2018 - From 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm


We derive a formula that expresses the expected return on a stock in terms of the risk-neutral variance of the market and the stock’s excess risk-neutral variance relative to the average stock. These quantities can be computed fromindex and stock option prices; the formula has no free parameters. We run panel regressions of realized stock returns onto risk-neutral variances, and find that the theory performs well at 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year forecasting horizons. The formula drives out beta, size, book-to-market and momentum, and outperforms a range of competitors in forecasting stock returns out of sample. Our results suggest that there is considerably more variation in expected returns, both over time and across stocks, than has previously been acknowledged.


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