NBER Working Papers by Todd Mitton

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Working Papers

December 2013The Value of Connections in Turbulent Times: Evidence from the United States
with Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, Amir Kermani, James Kwak: w19701
The announcement of Timothy Geithner as nominee for Treasury Secretary in November 2008 produced a cumulative abnormal return for financial firms with which he had a connection. This return was about 6% after the first full day of trading and about 12% after ten trading days. There were subsequently abnormal negative returns for connected firms when news broke that Geithner’s confirmation might be derailed by tax issues. Excess returns for connected firms may reflect the perceived impact of relying on the advice of a small network of financial sector executives during a time of acute crisis and heightened policy discretion.
June 2005Determinants of Vertical Integration: Finance, Contracts, and Regulation
with Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson: w11424
We study the determinants of vertical integration in a new dataset of over 750,000 firms from 93 countries. Existing evidence suggests the presence of large cross-country differences in the organization of firms, which may be related to differences in financial development, contracting costs or regulation. We find cross-country correlations between vertical integration on the one hand and financial development, contracting costs, and entry barriers on the other that are consistent with these "priors". Nevertheless, we also show that these correlations are almost entirely driven by industrial composition; countries with more limited financial development, higher contracting costs or greater entry barriers are concentrated in industries with a high propensity for vertical integration. Once w...

Published: Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & Todd Mitton, 2009. "Determinants of Vertical Integration: Financial Development and Contracting Costs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(3), pages 1251-1290, 06.

September 2003Propping and Tunneling
with Eric Friedman, Simon Johnson: w9949
In countries with weak legal systems, there is a great deal of tunnelling by the entrepreneurs who control publicly traded firms. However, under some conditions entrepreneurs prop up their firms, i.e., they use their private funds to benefit minority shareholders. We provide evidence and a model that explains propping. In particular, we suggest that issuing debt can credibly commit an entrepreneur to propping, even though creditors can never take possession of any underlying collateral. This helps to explain why emerging markets with weak institutions sometimes grow rapidly and why they are also subject to frequent economic and financial crises.

Published: Friedman, Eric, Simon Johnson and Todd Mitton. "Propping And Tunneling," Journal of Comparative Economics, 2003, v31(4,Dec), 732-750. citation courtesy of

October 2001Cronyism and Capital Controls: Evidence from Malaysia
with Simon Johnson: w8521
The initial impact of the Asian financial crisis in Malaysia reduced the expected value of government subsidies to politically favored firms. Of the estimated $60 billion loss in market value for politically connected firms from July 1997 to August 1998, roughly 9% can be attributed to the fall in the value of their connections. Firing the Deputy Prime Minister and imposing capital controls in September 1998 primarily benefited firms with strong ties to Prime Minister Mahathir. Of the estimated $5 billion gain in market value for Mahathir-connected firms during September 1998, approximately 32% was due to the increase in the value of their connections. The evidence suggests Malaysian capital controls provided a screen behind which favored firms could be supported.

Published: Johnson, Simon & Mitton, Todd, 2003. "Cronyism and capital controls: evidence from Malaysia," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 351-382, February. citation courtesy of

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