Presidential Address: The Corporation in Finance

  • Author(s): RAGHURAM G. RAJAN
  • Published: Jul 19, 2012
  • Pages: 1173-1217
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2012.01745.x


To produce significant net present value, an entrepreneur has to differentiate her enterprise from the ordinary. To take collaborators with her, she needs to have substantial ownership, and thus financing. But it is hard to raise finance against differentiated assets. So an entrepreneur has to commit to undertake a second transformation, standardization, that will make the human capital in the firm, including her own, replaceable, so that outside financiers obtain control rights that will allow them to be repaid. A vibrant stock market helps the entrepreneur commit to these two transformations. The nature of firms and financing are intimately linked.

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