Growth vs. Margins: Destabilizing Consequences of Giving the Stock Market What it Wants

35 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2005 Last revised: 23 Jul 2010

See all articles by Philippe Aghion

Philippe Aghion

College de France and London School of Economics and Political Science, Fellow; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeremy C. Stein

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2004

Abstract

We develop a multi-tasking model in which a firm can devote its efforts either to increasing sales growth, or to improving per-unit profit margins by, e.g., cutting costs. If the firm's manager is concerned with the current stock price, she will tend to favor the growth strategy at those times when the stock market is paying more attention to performance on the growth dimension. Conversely, it can be rational for the stock market to weight observed growth measures more heavily when it is known that the firm is following a growth strategy. This two-way feedback between firms' business strategies and the market's pricing rule can lead to purely intrinsic fluctuations in sales and output, creating excess volatility in these real variables even in the absence of any external source of shocks.

Suggested Citation

Aghion, Philippe and Stein, Jeremy C., Growth vs. Margins: Destabilizing Consequences of Giving the Stock Market What it Wants (December 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10999. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=637496

Philippe Aghion (Contact Author)

College de France and London School of Economics and Political Science, Fellow ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jeremy C. Stein

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-6455 (Phone)
617-496-7352 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://post.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/stein/stein.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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