This dissertation consists of two essays. The essay “Is Capital Reallocation Really Procyclical?” studies the cyclicality of corporate asset reallocation and its implication for aggregate productivity efficiency. Empirically, aggregate reallocation is procyclical. This is puzzling given the documented evidence that the benefits of reallocation are countercyclical. I show that this procyclicality is driven entirely by the reallocation of bundled capital (e.g., business divisions), which is highly correlated with market valuations and is unrelated to measures of productivity dispersion. In contrast, reallocation of unbundled capital (e.g., specific machinery or equipment) is countercyclical and highly correlated with dispersion in productivity growth. To gauge the aggregate productivity impact of bundled transactions, I propose a heterogeneous agentmodel of investment featuring two distinct used-capital markets as well as a sentiment component. In equilibrium, unbundled capital is reallocated for productivity gains, whereas bundled capital is also reallocated for real, or perceived, synergies in the equity market. While equity overvaluation negatively affects aggregate productivity by encouraging excessive trading of capital, its adverse impact is largely offset by its positive externality on asset liquidity in the unbundled capital market. The second essay “The Profitability of Liquidity Provision” studies the profitability of liquidity provision in the US equity market. By tracking the cumulative inventory position of all passive liquidity providers and matching each aggregate position with its offsetting trade, I construct a measure of profits to liquidity provision (realized profitability) and assess how profitability varies with the average time to offset. Using a sample of all common stocks from 2017 to 2020, I show that there is substantial variation in the horizon at which trades are turned around even for the same stock. As a
mark-to-market profit, the conventional realized spread—measured with a prespecified horizon—can deviate significantly from the realized profits to liquidity provision both in the cross-section and in the time series. I further show that, consistent with the risk-return tradeoff faced by liquidity providers as a whole, realized profitability is low for trades that are quickly turned around and high for trades that take longer to reverse.
- Essays in Financial Economics