Cornell University

S.C. Tsiang Macroeconomics Workshop: Joel David

Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 11:40am to 1:10pm

Uris Hall, 498
Central Campus

Joel David, University of Southern California

Risk-Adjusted Capital Allocation and Misallocation  (joint w/Lukas Schmid & David Zeke)

Abstract:  We develop a theory linking “misallocation,” i.e., dispersion in static marginal products of capital (MPK), to systematic investment risks. In our setup, firms differ in their exposure to these risks, which we show leads naturally to heterogeneity in firm-level risk premia and, more importantly, MPK. The theory predicts that cross-sectional dispersion in MPK (i) depends on cross-sectional dispersion in risk exposures and (ii) fluctuates with the price of risk, and thus is countercyclical. We document strong empirical support for these predictions. We devise a strategy to quantify variation in firm-level risk exposures using data on the dispersion of expected stock market returns. Our estimates imply that risk considerations explain almost 40% of observed MPK dispersion among US firms and in particular, can rationalize a large persistent component in firm-level MPK deviations.  Our framework provides a sharp link between aggregate volatility, cross-sectional asset pricing and long-run economic performance – MPK dispersion induced by risk premium effects, although not prima facie inefficient, lowers the average level of aggregate TFP by as much as 7%, suggesting large “productivity costs” of business cycles.

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Event Type

Seminar, Class/ Workshop




economics, EconSeminar, EconMacro

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Contact Name

Amy Moesch

Contact Phone



Joel David

Speaker Affiliation

University of Southern California

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Cornell Economics Community - List Serve Members