Fighting for Talent: Risk-Taking, Corporate Volatility, and Organizational Change

50 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2006 Last revised: 31 Oct 2018

See all articles by Guido Friebel

Guido Friebel

Goethe University Frankfurt; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Mariassunta Giannetti

Stockholm School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Swedish House of Finance

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Date Written: February 1, 2008


We show that the availability of finance affects firms not only through financial markets, but also through the labor market. In our model, talented workers care for realizing their ideas because this can increase their lifetime income, but they also wish to be insured against income risk. Large firms are less likely to default and thus offer a safer income stream than small firms. But having assets, reputation or future cash flows of other projects at stake, large firms investigate new ideas more thoroughly than small firms. This investigation produces valuable but noisy information about the success probability of ideas. For this reason, large firms are more likely to reject good ideas than small firms. Workers thus face a trade-off between better insurance and lower probability of realizing their own ideas. If access to consumer credit increases, talented workers become less averse to the income risk of working in small firms and start spurning large firms. We show that this increases small firms' profit volatility and may induce large firms to create spin-offs. We also provide empirical evidence consistent with the implications of our theory.

Keywords: Financial Development, Spin-offs, Sorting, Organizations, Markets

JEL Classification: L2, G3

Suggested Citation

Friebel, Guido and Giannetti, Mariassunta, Fighting for Talent: Risk-Taking, Corporate Volatility, and Organizational Change (February 1, 2008). European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) - Finance Working Paper No. 111/2005, CESifo Working Paper Series No. 793, Available at SSRN: or

Guido Friebel

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072

Mariassunta Giannetti (Contact Author)

Stockholm School of Economics ( email )

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+46 8 312 327 (Fax)


Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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Swedish House of Finance ( email )

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111 60 Stockholm

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