Alexander Dyck

Alexander Dyck
University of Toronto | U of T · Rotman School of Management

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48
Publications
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5,753
Citations

Publications

Publications (48)
Article
We document that defined benefit pension plans with significant holdings in private equity (PE) earn substantially greater returns than plans with small holdings, in both the 1990s and the 2000s. A one standard deviation increase in PE holdings is associated with 4% greater returns per year. Up to one-third of this outperformance comes from lower c...
Article
This paper explores both the role of institutional investors in firms’ corporate social responsibility choices and the impact of social norms on these investors. Using a decade of firm-level environmental and social (E&S) performance data from 41 countries, we find that institutional ownership is positively associated with firm-level E&S performanc...
Article
Can institutional investors generate sufficient power through collective action to drive improvements in governance? We use proprietary data on the private communications of a formal coalition of Canadian institutional investors and find that its private engagements influenced firms’ adoption of majority voting and say-on-pay advisory votes, improv...
Article
We estimate what percentage of firms engage in fraud and the economic cost of fraud. Our estimates are based on detected frauds, and frauds that we infer are started but are not caught. To identify the ‘iceberg’ of undetected fraud we take advantage of an exogenous shock to the incentives for fraud detection: Arthur Andersen’s demise, which forces...
Article
We propose a model to study the interplay of politicization, governance, and performance of large public investors such as pension funds. The base case of the model captures the tradeoffs described in the existing literature, e.g., the impact of underfunding and heterogeneity in member composition on portfolio choices. We obtain our key results whe...
Article
We document important interactions between tax incentives and corporate policies using a “quasi natural experiment” provided by a surprise announcement that imposed corporate taxes on a group of Canadian publicly-traded firms. The announcement caused a dramatic decrease in value although prospective tax shields partially offset the losses, adding 4...
Article
We document that defined benefit pension plans with significant holdings in private equity (PE) earn substantially greater returns than plans with small holdings, in both the 1990s and the 2000s. A one standard deviation increase in PE holdings is associated with 4% greater returns per year. Up to one-third of this outperformance comes from lower c...
Article
For sophisticated institutional investors, active management outperforms passive management by more than 180 bps per year in emerging markets and by about 50 bps in EAFE markets over the 1993 to 2008 period. In U.S. markets, active management underperforms. Consistent with these patterns in returns, institutions use active management more frequentl...
Article
Full-text available
This paper surveys the issues and devises an analytical framework for policy makers and policy advisors concerned with corporate governance. The framework takes a functional approach, identifying six functions provided by a governance system. The paper highlights the possibilities and limits to governance reform through the adoption of legal protec...
Article
We document substantial positive scale economies in asset management using a defined benefit pension plan database. The largest plans outperform smaller ones by 43-50 basis points per year. Between a third and one half of these gains arise from cost savings related to internal management, where costs are at least three times lower than under extern...
Article
We use a sample of defined benefit pension plan active and passive investments across multiple equity markets to study the benefit of active management to institutional investors. Consistent with previous research, active management is costly for US equities, where it underperforms passive by up to 43 basis points per year. Strikingly, for the same...
Article
This paper estimates the impact of taxes on firm value by taking advantage of a dramatic and completely unanticipated increase in taxes for a group of publicly-traded Canadian firms called income trusts. When the tax rate for income trusts unexpectedly increased from 0% to 31.5%, equity value fell by 21% and firm value fell by 18%, on average. Pros...
Article
Using a novel, hand-collected dataset of Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) investments in public equities, private firms, and real estate, we establish what SWF portfolios look like. SWF allocations are balanced across risky asset classes, very home-region biased, and very biased toward certain industries, in particular, toward finance (owning 4.8% of wo...
Article
We study how and why sovereign wealth funds tilt their overall portfolio tilt of sovereign wealth funds relative to an appropriate long-horizon benchmark. We re-create the investments in all asset classes (public equity, private equity, private equity fund holdings, real estate, fixed income and other alternative assets) for the largest sovereign w...
Article
We argue that profit-maximizing media help overcome the problem of "rational ignorance" highlighted by Downs (1957) and in so doing make elected representatives more sensitive to the interests of general voters. By collecting news and combining it with entertainment, media are able to inform passive voters on politically relevant issues. To show th...
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Full-text available
Unless developing countries embrace a corporate governance perspective, privatization is unlikely to provide the benefits of improved performance with accountability. This article introduces the concept of governance chains that can constrain the grabbing hands of public and private actors by providing information and accountability mechanisms to h...
Article
We study the effect of media coverage on corporate governance by focusing on Russia in the period 1999 to 2002. We find that an investment fund's lobbying increases coverage of corporate governance violations in the Anglo-American press. We also find that coverage in the Anglo-American press increases the probability that a corporate governance vio...
Article
This paper analyzes the interaction between corporate taxes and corporate governance. We show that the design of the corporate tax system affects the amount of private benefits extracted by company insiders and that the quality of the corporate governance system affects the sensitivity of tax revenues to tax changes. Analyses of a tax enforcement c...
Article
What external control mechanisms are most effective in detecting corporate fraud? To address this question we study in depth all reported cases of corporate fraud in companies with more than 750 million dollars in assets between 1996 and 2004. We find that fraud detection does not rely on one single mechanism, but on a wide range of, often improbab...
Article
This paper analyzes the interaction between corporate taxes and corporate governance. We show that the design of the corporate tax system affects the amount of private benefits extracted by company insiders. A higher tax rate increases the amount of income insiders divert and thus worsens governance outcomes. In contrast, stronger tax enforcement r...
Article
This article summarizes the findings of the authors' study, published recently in the Journal of Finance, that use control premiums paid in large block sales to assess the quality of corporate governance systems. The authors report significant variation in such premiums, with countries like the U.S. and U.K. showing premiums of less than 10% while...
Article
We estimate private benefits of control in 39 countries using 393 controlling blocks sales. On average the value of control is 14 percent, but in some countries can be as low as -4 percent, in others as high a +65 percent. As predicted by theory, higher private benefits of control are associated with less developed capital markets, more concen...
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Full-text available
Does media coverage affect asset prices? If so, why? And what are the consequences? In this paper we try to answer these questions by looking at the effect media reporting has on stock market reactions to earnings announcement. We find that stock prices are most reactive to the type of earnings emphasized by the press. This effect is stronger for c...
Article
This article introduces the concept of governance chains that can constrain the grabbing hands of public and private actors by providing information and accountability mechanisms to help investors monitor managers. Empirical data on established firms from 49 countries provide estimates of the relative importance and strength of private and formal c...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines whether privatization affects management incentives and provides an estimate of the magnitude of the change. Using data from large firms in the United Kingdom, we find no relationship between compensation and financial performance in state-owned firms, both before and after corporate governance reforms. In contrast, we find a...
Article
Full-text available
Most of the research in comparative corporate governance has, implicitly or explicitly, taken the US as benchmark. But recent corporate scandals, such as Enron and Worldcom, question this alleged supremacy. What went wrong? In this chapter we claim that the problem is not just lack of appropriate disclosure or legislation, but a more fundamental on...
Article
Full-text available
The effects of corporate taxation on firm behavior have been extensively discussed in the neoclassical model of firm behavior which abstracts from agency problems. As emphasized by the corporate governance literature, corporate investment behavior is however crucially influenced by diverging interests between shareholders and managers. We set up an...
Article
In this paper we discuss the role of the media in pressuring corporate managers and directors to behave in ways that are 'socially acceptable'. Sometimes this coincides with shareholders' value maximization, others not. We provide both anecdotal and systematic evidence that media affect companies' policy toward the environment and the amount of cor...
Article
We study the Chilean electricity distribution industry and find that costs (the ratio of reported costs to revenues) have fallen since price caps were introduced. Cost reductions are U-shaped since 1989: Strong initial cost reductions reverse every four years, coinciding with regulatory reviews. A possible explanation is that firms are behaving str...
Article
Based on 412 control transactions between 1990 and 2000 we construct a measure of the private benefits of control in 39 countries. We find that the value of control ranges between -4% and +65%, with an average of 14%. As predicted by theory, in countries where private benefits of control are larger capital markets are less developed, ownership is m...
Article
Controversy abounds in the UK about increased executive compensation in privatized firms. This study examines the executive pay systems in state-owned and privatized firms against the backdrop of compensation systems in publicly traded firms. We hypothesize the existence of two separate markets for top management in state-owned and comparable publi...
Article
An important policy issue in recent years concerns the number of people claiming disability benefits for reasons of incapacity for work. We distinguish between ‘work disability’, which may have its roots in economic and social circumstances, and ‘health disability’ which arises from clear diagnosed medical conditions. Although there is a link betwe...
Article
The German government rapidly privatized state owned enterprises thorough an auction mechanism with openness to all purchasers. Western German firms purchased most enterprises raising suggestions of inefficiency or corruption. This paper rationalizes the government approach, suggesting the key to understanding these elements of the economic transit...
Article
This paper examines the role that organisation structure and contract design played in resolving economic and political problems that arose during Germany's privatisation process. We find that German officials structured organizations and contracts in a way that made credible the government's commitment to rapid privatisation. This credibility serv...
Article
Full-text available
We examine the links between ownership and internal control for a sample of 112 state-owned, privatized, and publicly traded firms in the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1994. Privatized firms with at least four years in the private sector, like established publicly traded firms, exhibit a significant negative relationship between improved performance...
Article
This paper examines the role that organization structure and contract design played in resolving economic and political problems that arose during Germany's privatization process. We find that German officials structured organizations and contracts in a way that made credible the government's commitment to rapid privatization. This credibility serv...
Article
This paper examines the role that organization structure and contract design played in resolving economic and political problems that arose during Germany's privatization process. We find that German officials structured organizations and contracts in a way that made credible the government's commitment to rapid privatization. This credibility serv...
Article
This paper examines the role that organization structure and contract design played in resolving economic and political problems that arose during Germany's privatization process. We find that German officials structured organizations and contracts in a way that made credible the government's commitment to rapid privatization. This credibility serv...
Article
This paper examines the role that organization structure and contract design played in resolving economic and political problems that arose during Germany's privatization process. We find that German officials structured organizations and contracts in a way that made credible the government's commitment to rapid privatization. This credibility serv...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the role that organization structure and contract design played in resolving economic and political problems that arose during Germany's privatization process. We find that German officials structured organizations and contracts in a way that made credible the government's commitment to rapid privatization. This credibility serv...
Article
This paper suggests that management's role in enterprise restructuring and market failures in the managerial labor market help explain important features of the German privatization program. A model of adverse selection based on information advantages for private owners demonstrates how privatization can improve the quality and number of western ma...

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