Exploring the Hidden Risks in Firm Operations and their Financial Impacts

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Wang, Xiaoqiao
systematic/idiosyncratic/information risk , capital cost/payout policy/capital structure , operating process
In this thesis, we explore the hidden risks in a firm’s real operating process and the financial adjustments made as the risk changes. We investigate the risks associated with a firm’s vertical channel (chapter 2 and 3) and geographic location (chapter 4), and analyze what financial consequences these risks bring. We firstly show strong evidence that a firm’s cost of equity decreases as supplier immobility translates into a decrease in operating leverage and systematic risk. Next, we show that as the specificity of customers induces more cash flow instability, the firm’s idiosyncratic risk increases with customer specificity. As a result, firms with more specific customers choose more conservative dividend payout policies to adjust for the risk changes. In the third essay, we examine the information risk from firm’s geographic location. We find that this information risk affects a firm’s capital structure choice and that centrally located firms have lower leverage ratios than do remotely located ones.
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