Essays in Corporate Finance and Innovation
My dissertation is comprised of three chapters. The first chapter studies the impact of government spending on corporate innovation output. By exploiting the changes in Senate committee chairmanships as a source of exogenous variation in state-level federal government expenditures, I find that firms headquartered in states with increases in government spending significantly reduce their innovation output, as measured both by patent count and patent citations. These reductions are mostly concentrated in industries that need more labor input for innovative activities and firms headquartered in states with lower unemployment rates. I also analyze three possible channels through which an increase in government spending may affect innovation output: resource reallocation by corporations and individuals from innovative to non-innovative activities; partial movement of innovative activities from the corporate to the government sector; and a reduction in inventor productivity due to a labor-leisure trade-off. My evidence provides the strongest support for the resource reallocation channel. In the second chapter, co-authored with Thomas Chemmanur and Karthik Krishnan, we analyze the relationship between the human capital or “management quality” of firms and their long-run performance, using panel data from the BoardEx database on firms' top management characteristics and a management quality index constructed using common factor analysis on individual proxies for various aspects of management quality. We control for the potential endogenous matching between firm and management quality using a plausibly exogenous shock to the supply of new managers as an instrument. Using this instrument, we find a causal relationship between firms' management quality and future operating performance, market valuations, and stock returns. In the third chapter, co-authored with Thomas Chemmanur, Karthik Krishnan, and Qianqian Yu, using panel data on top management characteristics and a management quality factor constructed using common factor analysis on individual management quality proxies, we analyze the relation between the human capital or “quality” of firm management and its innovation inputs and outputs. We control for the endogenous matching between firm and management quality using a plausibly exogenous shock to the supply of new managers as an instrument, thereby finding a causal relationship between management quality and innovation activities. We show that higher management quality firms achieve greater innovation output by hiring more and higher quality inventors.