Doctoral thesis

Three essays in empirical corporate finance

  • 2024

PhD: Università della Svizzera italiana

English My doctoral thesis is centered on empirically analyzing the factors that influence public and private firms' growth and efficiency strategies, with a particular emphasis on understanding the role played by institutional investors and financial intermediaries in these processes. The motivation for my work stems from the rapid evolution of financial markets in recent years, which has significantly reshaped the capital structure of listed and private companies. Chapter 1, “Passive Common Ownership and Firm Markup: Market Power or Efficiency?” highlights the role of passive common owners in improving firms’ efficiency by facilitating the internalization of spillovers through information dissemination. Chapter 2, “How do Firms Choose between growth and efficiency?” (co-authored with Laurent Frésard, Loriano Mancini, and Enrique Schroth) provides a model where firms choose capital and labor jointly with effort to make these inputs more productive. Using this model, we estimate firms’ unobservable efficiency effort from the data and find that young firms prioritize growth, while older firms focus more on efficiency. Chapter 3, “Debt and Equity Crowdfunding in the Financial Growth Cycle” (co-authored with Markus Lithell, Matteo Pirovano, and Trang Q. Vu) focuses on the ability of crowdfunding to foster private firms' growth. We find that firms that are less profitable, are in an earlier developmental stage, and have stronger ties to the banking system are more likely to issue crowdfunded equity than debt. Successful crowdfunding is associated with increases in firm size, revenue, and profitability for early-stage firms, but not for late-stage firms. Our findings are consistent with crowdfunding alleviating capital constraints and stimulating growth for early-stage startups, but having a negligible impact on established firms that are already profitable.
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