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Keywords:

  • corporate diversification;
  • transaction-cost economics;
  • internal capital markets
  • G14;
  • G31;
  • L22

Abstract

The literature on the corporate diversification discount and the relative efficiency of internal versus external capital markets provides mixed results. We argue that transaction-cost economics is useful in understanding this puzzle. According to transaction-cost economics, diversified firms should outperform single segment firms in industries with higher external transaction costs (e.g., emergent industries) and under-perform in industries with low external transaction costs and high agency and other internal costs (e.g., some mature industries). This paper provides evidence supporting these contentions.