Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



My dissertation consists of two essays on stock exchange switching and the association between discretionary payouts and real investment.

In the first essay, we examine 49 firms that voluntarily switch from the NYSE to Nasdaq for the period from 2000 to 2013 to determine whether the choice between listing on the NYSE versus on Nasdaq matters any more. We find that there is no documentable economic benefits to moving and some costs in the form of lower liquidity. Consistently, there is little evidence of a significant market reaction. We also find that switch firms are far more like the NYSE firms that they leave than the Nasdaq firms that they join and there is no industry clientele effects. Overall, we conclude that it may no longer matter economically whether a firm is listed on Nasdaq or on the NYSE.

The second essay examines the association between discretionary payouts and real investment. Firms have been increasingly criticized by the press for paying out to shareholders at the expense of real investment and employment, hindering growth in the U.S. This paper examines the associations between discretionary payouts and real investment along with the mechanisms that drive these associations. Using firm-level data from 1971 to 2016, I find that although repurchases are negatively associated with real investment, repurchases enhance the sensitivity of real investment to investment opportunities. Hence, the negative association between repurchases and real investment is evidence of repurchases being used as a disciplining device to reduce potential overinvestment- as posited by the free cash flow hypothesis, not evidence of short-termism- as suggested by the press. In addition, dividend increases are positively associated with real investment and enhance the sensitivity of real investment to investment opportunities, both of which are consistent with the signaling hypothesis. Overall, my results suggest that discretionary payouts do not trade off real investment. In fact, repurchases and dividend increases help improve investment efficiency by reducing overinvestment and underinvestment, respectively, at the firm level.



Committee Chair

Pace, Kelley



Available for download on Tuesday, June 24, 2025