Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Financial Economics


Economics and Finance

Major Professor

Mukherjee, Tarun; Wei, Peihwang

Second Advisor

Wang, Wei

Third Advisor

Whitney, Gerald

Fourth Advisor

Turunen-Red, Arja


The first chapter investigates how corporate governance influences firms’ capital structure behavior. Based on the premise that costs associated with deviations from the target capital structure are positively correlated to the extent of deviation, we hypothesize that the initial deviation from the target will be shorter for a firm with good corporate governance than for a firm with poor corporate governance. We also hypothesize that the former group will employ a higher speed of adjustment towards target than the latter group due primarily to the following reasons. First, a firm with well-placed governance system will adjust at a faster rate because longer it stays deviated, the higher the loss of value it faces. Second, firms with better governance structures enjoy lower adjustment costs. We develop three sets of measures for the quality of corporate governance and analyze how they influence a firm’s rebalancing behavior in presence of relevant control variables. Our results are consistent with the hypotheses.

The second chapter explores investors’ reactions to new information on REITs and non-REITs option markets. The real estate market can be fairly volatile; what remains unclear is whether price changes are excessively volatile relative to fundamentals. This study attempts to examine the latter by using the methodology based on Stein (1989), which utilizes option data. The advantage of using option data rather than stock data to assess the reactions to information is that option valuation is not affected by changes in risk premium. Under volatility mean reversion, the changes in implied volatilities of long-term options should be less than those of short-term options. If not, an excessive reaction is suggested. Specifically, the study compares the changes in implied volatilities of options on REITs and non-REITs. Because real estate transactions typically involve a great degree of leverage, reactions can be greater for REITs than for non-REITs; on the other hand, there are several reasons that REITs are subject to potentially a lower degree of excessive reactions. Empirical results indicate that the reactions to information are stronger in non-REITs than in REITs. Moreover, we find that down markets are associated with stronger reactions, which we argue might be due to a leverage effect.


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