Patterns of Comovement: The Role of Information Technology in the U.S. Economy
50 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2004 Last revised: 20 Feb 2015
Date Written: November 2004
Firm-specific variation in stock returns and fundamental performance measures is significantly higher in industries that have a history of more investment in information technology (IT). We hypothesise that IT is associated with creative destruction or product differentiation, either of which can widen the performance difference between winner and loser firms. Thus, economy-level volatility can fall while firm-level volatility rises because firm-specific volatility cancels out in the aggregate. Our results are consistent with rising firm-specific variation in US stocks reflecting a rising pace of creative destruction; and with greater firm-specific variation in richer and faster growing countries reflecting more intensive creative destruction in those economies, though other explanations are probably valid as well.
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