Ph.D. Finance, Kellogg School of Management, 2018 (expected)
M.S. Finance, Kellogg School of Management, 2015
M.S. Mathematics, Texas A&M University, 2013
B.B.A. Finance, B.S. Mathematics, B.A. History, Southern Methodist University, 2006
Grant Clayton is a Ph.D. candidate in Finance at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His research focuses on empirical corporate finance, emphasizing its connections with corporate strategy, industry structure, and the labor market.
In his job market paper, he studies how a firm's pricing strategy affects its financial leverage in the retail industry. Retailers vary in pricing strategy, ranging from low markup (i.e., "discount"), no frills retailers to high markup retailers that offer extensive service. The choice of strategy affects the firm's risks and opportunities and, therefore, debt capacity. The high-end strategy, for example, exposes the firm to price wars and freeriding by discount rivals that could drive it into financial distress. The cross-section of firms shows a negative relationship between markup and leverage, but the direction of causality is unclear. To establish causality, the paper exploits changes in the legality of discount pricing strategies to identify their effect on leverage. In various U.S. states and years, manufacturers could use resale price maintenance (RPM) to set the minimum price a retailer can charge. The results show that allowing RPM leads discount retailers to reduce leverage and other retailers to increase it. The implication is that firms choose a financial structure closely tied to their product market strategy.
Prior to his doctoral studies at Kellogg, Grant received a master's degree in applied mathematics from Texas A&M University. Before graduate school, he worked in valuation and dispute consulting with Duff & Phelps. His work there focused on financial reporting and litigation in the energy industry. He is a CFA charterholder.
Research Interests: Empirical corporate finance, including intersections with strategy, industrial organization, and labor economics
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