NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Xiaoji Lin

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Working Papers

August 2015Labor-Force Heterogeneity and Asset Prices: the Importance of Skilled Labor
with Frederico Belo, Jun Li, Xiaofei Zhao: w21487
We introduce labor-force heterogeneity in a neoclassical investment model. In the baseline model, we highlight the fact that labor adjustment costs are higher for high skilled workers than for low skilled workers. The model predicts that the negative hiring-expected return relation should be steeper in industries that rely more on high skilled workers because firm's hiring responds less elastically to changes in the discount rate when labor adjustment costs are higher. In an extended version of the model we show that the previous prediction also holds in the presence of additional sources of labor-force heterogeneity such as higher wage rigidity of high skilled workers. Empirically, we document that the negative hiring-expected return relation is between 1.7 and 3.2 times larger in indust...
June 2014External Equity Financing Shocks, Financial Flows, and Asset Prices
with Frederico Belo, Fan Yang: w20210
The ability of corporations to raise external equity finance varies with macroeconomic conditions, suggesting that the cost of equity issuance is time-varying. Using cross sectional data on U.S. publicly traded firms, we construct an empirical proxy of an aggregate shock to the cost of equity issuance, which we interpret as a financial shock. We show that this shock captures systematic risk, and that exposure to this shock helps price the cross section of stock returns including book-to-market, investment, and size portfolios. We propose a dynamic investment-based model with stochastic equity issuance costs and a collateral constraint to interpret the empirical findings. Our central finding is that time variation in external equity financing costs is important for the model to quantitative...
August 2011Covariances versus Characteristics in General Equilibrium
with Lu Zhang: w17285
We question a deep-ingrained doctrine in asset pricing: If an empirical characteristic-return relation is consistent with investor "rationality," the relation must be "explained" by a risk factor model. The investment approach changes the big picture of asset pricing. Factors formed on characteristics are not necessarily risk factors: Characteristics-based factor models are linear approximations of firm-level investment returns. The evidence that characteristics dominate covariances in horse races does not necessarily mean mispricing: Measurement errors in covariances are more likely to blame. Most important, the investment approach completes the consumption approach in general equilibrium, especially for cross-sectional asset pricing.

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