Comovement in Investment
49 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2007 Last revised: 30 Jan 2013
Date Written: July 1, 2008
This paper examines the propensity of firms to comove in investment decisions. Although stock return comovement and herding among investors received considerable attention in existing work, little is known about correlated investment behavior of firms. After controlling for the similarity of firm characteristics, investments are expected to comove more when firms imitate other firms and rely on public information rather than on firm specific private information about investment opportunities. We consider the effects of agency conflicts on comovement and find evidence in support of managerial shirking of information acquisition effort. Weakly governed managers rely less on private information acquisition and comove more in their investment decisions. Our results also show that the effect is strongest for firms in industries with high information intensity and specialized assets. Further, comovement in investment is decreasing in shareholder rights and property rights protections and increasing in the degree of information asymmetry. The results are obtained after controlling for similarity in firm investment opportunities, correlation in cash flows, fraction of tangible assets, and industry concentration. Critically, we find that comovement in investment has a negative effect on firm and industry performance and productivity growth, after controlling for other factors.
Keywords: investment, comovement, corporate governance, information acquisition, information asymmetry, performance
JEL Classification: G30, G31, G34, K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation