Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Zhonghua Wu

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Abhijit Barua

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Eli Beracha

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

William Hardin

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Xiaoquan Jiang

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


Efficiency, Technology, Performance, Productivity, Employment

Date of Defense



This dissertation consists of three essays that examine aspects of real estate securities and financial institutions.

The first essay examines the relations between Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) efficiency and operational performance, risk, and stock return. REIT-level operational efficiency is measured as the ratio of operational expenses to revenue, where a higher operational efficiency ratio (OER) indicates a less efficient REIT. For a sample of U.S. equity REITs, operational performance, measured by return on assets as well as return on equity, is negatively associated with previous-year operational efficiency ratios. Results further show that more efficient REITs have lower levels of credit risk and total risk. Perhaps most important, empirical evidence shows that the cross-sectional stock return of REITs is partially explained by operational efficiency and that a portfolio consisting of highly efficient REITs earns, on average, a higher cumulative stock return than a portfolio consisting of low efficiency REITs.

The second essay analyzes the impact of technology investment on firm performance and market value using a unique dataset on technology spending by U.S. banks. It first documents that banks increasingly invested in technology from 2000-2017 and did not cut technology spending even when experiencing negative performance shocks. Meanwhile, operating performance and market value are positively correlated with lagged technology spending, and the positive correlation is primarily driven by large banks. Interestingly, while technology spending increases asset turnover, it only improves the profit margin for large banks.

The third essay investigates the impact of technology investment on bank production and employment. It documents that technology input on average contributes about 12.85% to the increase in value-added output of banks from 2000-2017, according to the estimation from a firm-level production function correcting for endogenous input choices. Moreover, bank employment and tasks are positively correlated with their lagged technology spending in the cross-section, supporting the task-based framework of Acemoglu and Restrepo (2018). These results indicate that technology capital is highly productive to US banks and use of technology generally lead to more bank employment at the firm-level, which is likely due to an increased amount of tasks created by new technology.





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