NBER Publications by Gregor Matvos

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Working Papers and Chapters

March 2013Advertising Expensive Mortgages
with Umit G. Gurun, Amit Seru: w18910
We use a unique dataset that combines information on advertising by subprime lenders and mortgages originated by them from 2002 to 2007 to study the relationship between advertising and the nature of mortgages obtained by consumers. We exploit the richness of our data and measure the relative expensiveness of a given mortgage as the excess rate of a mortgage after accounting for a broad set of borrower, contract, and regional characteristics associated with a given mortgage--less expensive mortgages, all else equal, are better products from the perspective of the consumer. We find a strong positive relationship between the intensity of local advertising and the expensiveness of mortgages extended by lenders within a given region, with the relationship strongest for advertising through news...
March 2012Debt and Creative Destruction: Why Could Subsidizing Corporate Debt be Optimal?
with Zhiguo He: w17920
We illustrate the welfare benefit of tax subsidies to corporate debt financing. Two firms engage in a socially wasteful competition for survival in a declining industry. Firms differ on two dimensions: exogenous productivity and endogenously chosen amount of debt financing, resulting in a two dimensional war of attrition. Debt financing increases incentives to exit, which, while socially beneficial, is costly for the firm. Therefore the planner can increase welfare by subsidizing debt financing. The duration of industry distress determines the tradeoff between the welfare benefit illustrated in our model and the costs of subsidizing corporate debt from the existing literature. Our theory also sheds light on why the IRS considers "conflict of interest" as one of the key determinants in iden...
December 2011Resource Allocation within Firms and Financial Market Dislocation: Evidence from Diversified Conglomerates
with Amit Seru: w17717
When external capital markets are stressed they may not reallocate resources between firms. We show that resource allocation within firms' internal capital markets provides an important force countervailing financial market dislocation. Using data on US conglomerates we empirically verify that firms shift resources between industries in response to shocks to the financial sector. We estimate a structural model of internal capital market to separately identify and quantify the forces driving the reallocation decision and how these forces interact with external capital market stress. The frictions in internal capital markets drive a large wedge between productivity and investment: the weaker (stronger) division obtains too much (little) capital, as though it is 12 (9) percent more (less) pro...
July 2010Are Consumers Affected by Durable Goods Makers' Financial Distress? The Case of Auto Manufacturers
with Ali Hortaçsu, Chad Syverson, Sriram Venkataraman: w16197
The financial decisions of durable goods makers can impose spillovers on their consumers. Namely, durable goods provide a consumption stream that frequently depends on services provided by the manufacturer (e.g., warranties, parts, and maintenance). Manufacturer bankruptcy, or even the possibility thereof, threatens this service provision and can substantially reduce the value of its products to their current owners. We test this hypothesis in one of the largest durable goods markets, automobiles, using data on millions of used cars sold at wholesale auctions around the U.S. during 2006-8. We find that an increase in an auto manufacturer’s financial distress results in a contemporaneous drop in the prices of its cars at auction, controlling for a host of other influences on price. The esti...

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