Author's School

Olin Business School

Author's Department/Program

Business Administration


English (en)

Date of Award

Summer 9-2-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Anne Marie Knott


Internal capital allocation is both economically important: $640 billion in the U.S. annually) and critical to firm strategy. Yet since Bower's 1986 book, the topic has been largely ignored in the strategy literature. My dissertation comprises three essays that begin to fill this gap by examining the strategic implications of resource allocation behavior and outcomes. The first essay, Do Firms Really Allocate Capital So Inefficiently?, tackles the prevailing conclusion that the bulk of capital allocation is inefficient. I define an alternative: strategic) definition of efficiency and demonstrate not only that managers are more than twice as efficient as prior literature suggests, but also that strategic capital allocation affects firm value. The second essay, Chasing their Tails: Why Do Firms Subsidize Underperforming Segments?, examines why multidivisional firms delay the exit decision by cross-subsidizing their underperforming business units. I conclude first that these cross-subsidizing investments appear to be motivated by anticipated synergies between the units. However, I also demonstrate these synergies are illusive because they don't enhance market value. The third essay, Corporate Investment and Managerial Foresight, investigates the ability of some firms to make unique investment decisions that enhance future value. I find that managerial characteristics, in particular a tendency to be overconfident, is associated with managerial foresight.


Permanent URL: