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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2022 Annual Theme: Stakeholder Capitalism
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues



We examine the links between human capital and endowment investing. Harnessing detailed information on university endowments, we find that higher asset allocations to alternative assets accompany higher levels of human capital in the endowment’s investment process. Moreover, high levels of human capital are linked to larger returns, even on a risk-adjusted basis.

The Biden administration is proposing significant increases in corporate taxes to finance investments in infrastructure and other priorities. Proposed reforms include a global minimum tax on book income and other changes intended to limit the ability of US multinational companies to reduce US tax by shifting investments and reported profits to low-tax foreign countries. In order to promote a competitive global landscape, the administration is concurrently working with the OECD to recommend its members adopt similar changes.

We use detailed establishment-level data to understand whether and how the composition of the US stock market differs from the composition of US firms as a whole. Although the locational composition of employment in public firms is similar to that of all US firms, we find certain industries significantly overrepresented. Further, the gap between the industrial composition of publicly traded firms and all US firms has grown over the last thirty years.

We propose a method for decomposing private fund portfolio performance into effects from timing, strategy selection, geographic focus, sizing of fund allocation, and fund selection attributes.

We conduct an experiment designed to understand how social preferences affect investment decisions by observing subjects’ stock allocations and probability assessments. Key to the design is that subjects’ investment outcomes are treated by neutral, negative or positive payoff externalities on social causes. Our findings of asymmetric responses in probability perceptions and allocations suggest negative, but not positive, responsible investment (RI) externalities have significant effects.

Angel investor tax credits are commonly used around the world to spur entrepreneurship. Exploiting the staggered implementation of these tax credits in 31 U.S. states, we find that while they increase angel investment, marginal investments flow to relatively low-growth firms. 

The Small Business Investor Alliance surveyed the small business portfolios of Small Business Investment Companies to measure the impact the pandemic is having on their operations and employment. Small businesses are facing extreme cash flow concerns. Small businesses are already laying off a substantial number of employees and without a significant change in trajectory, layoffs are anticipated to increase tremendously. Data analysis provided by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.

We examine empirically and theoretically the relation between firms’ risk and distance to consumers in a production network. We document two novel facts: firms farther away from consumers have higher risk premiums and higher exposure to aggregate productivity. We quantitatively explain these findings using a general equilibrium model featuring a multilayer production process.

What is the impact of higher technological volatility on asset prices and macroeconomic aggregates? I find the answer hinges on its sectoral origin. Volatility that originates from the consumption (investment) sector drops (raises) macroeconomic growth rates and stock prices.

We examine realized spreads and price impact in clock and trade time following each trade in all common stocks from 2010 to 2017. The term structure of realized spreads (price impact) is sharply downward (upward) sloping, implying that (a) market maker profitability is sensitive to speed, and (b) the choice of the horizon of measurement is critical when drawing inferences from spread decompositions.

Governments often subsidize startups with the goal of spurring entrepreneurship using tax incentives. Exploiting the staggered implementation of angel investor tax credits in 31 U.S. states from 1988 to 2018, we find that these programs increase the number of angel investments and average investment size.

We directly test the reliability and relevance of investee fair values reported by listed private equity funds (LPEs). In our setting, disaggregated fair value measurements are observable for funds’ investees; and investee accounting fundamentals are also publicly disclosed. We find that LPE fair value measurements reflect equity book value and net income in a manner consistent with stock market pricing of listed companies.