Matching and Incentives in Financial Markets

This research group studies matching mechanisms in financial markets. In financial markets, we observe choices by very different types of agents to establish relationships: mergers and acquisitions between firms, employment contracts between managers and firms, lending relationships between banks and firms, and so forth. This research group fosters our understanding of the incentives that determine why agents are matched with each other, how they are matched, and the consequences of the match is important.

Research Cluster
Institutions and Social Norms

Your contact

Professor Shuo Xia, PhD
Professor Shuo Xia, PhD
Mitglied - Department Financial Markets
Send Message +49 345 7753-875 Personal page

Refereed Publications

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CEO Network Centrality and the Likelihood of Financial Reporting Fraud

Salim Chahine Yiwei Fang Iftekhar Hasan Mohamad Mazboudi

in: Abacus, forthcoming

Abstract

This paper investigates the association between CEO’s relative position in the social network and the likelihood of being involved in corporate fraud. Tracing a large sample of US publicly listed firms, we find that CEO network centrality is inversely related to the likelihood of fraudulent financial reporting. We also document a significant spillover effect of financial reporting behaviour from the dominant (most central) CEO to other CEOs in the same social network, suggesting that the ethical corporate behaviour of CEOs is, on average, influenced by that of their dominant CEO in the network. We further find that the role of CEO network centrality in reducing fraud risk is more prominent in firms with lower auditor quality. Overall, our results suggest that network centrality is an important CEO trait that promotes ethical financial reporting behaviour within social networks.

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Agency Cost of CEO Perquisites in Bank Loan Contracts

Chia-Ying Chan Iftekhar Hasan Chih-Yung Lin

in: Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, forthcoming

Abstract

This study investigates the association between CEO perquisites and bank loan spreads. We collect detailed data on CEO perquisites from the proxy statements of S&P 500 firms between 1993 and 2015 to study this issue. The empirical evidence supports the agency cost view that the lending banks demand significantly higher returns (spread), more collateral, and stricter covenants from firms with higher CEO perquisites. We further confirm that the effect of these perquisites remains after we control for various corporate governance and agency cost factors. We conclude that banks consider CEO perquisites as a type of agency cost when they make lending decisions.

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Do Activist Hedge Funds Target Female CEOs? The Role of CEO Gender in Hedge Fund Activism

Bill Francis Iftekhar Hasan Yinjie (Victor) Shen Qiang Wu

in: Journal of Financial Economics, No. 1, 2021

Abstract

Using a comprehensive US hedge fund activism dataset from 2003 to 2018, we find that activist hedge funds are about 52% more likely to target firms with female CEOs compared to firms with male CEOs. We find that firm fundamentals, the existence of a “glass cliff,” gender discrimination bias, and hedge fund activists’ inherent characteristics do not explain the observed gender effect. We also find that the transformational leadership style of female CEOs is a plausible explanation for this gender effect: instead of being self-defensive, female CEOs are more likely to communicate and cooperate with hedge fund activists to achieve intervention goals. Finally, we find that female-led targets experience greater increases in market and operational performance subsequent to hedge fund targeting.

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Executives with Customer Experience and Firm Performance in the B2B Context

Yiwei Fang Cong Feng Iftekhar Hasan Jiong Sun

in: European Journal of Marketing, No. 7, 2021

Abstract

<i>Purpose:</i> This paper aims to examine the presence of an executive with customer experience (ECE) in a supplier firm’s top management team (TMT). The role of ECE presence remains understudied in the marketing literature. This study attempts to examine the relationship between ECE presence and firm performance. <i>Design/methodology/approach:</i> This paper draws on the resource-based view of the firm and adopts a panel firm fixed effects estimator to test the proposed hypotheses. The empirical analysis uses a sample of 1,974 firm-year observations with 489 unique supplier firms. Selection-induced endogeneity is mitigated through the Heckman procedure. <i>Findings:</i> ECE presence improves firm performance. Additionally, firms benefit less from ECE presence if a board member with customer experience (BCE) is also present, if a chief executive officer commands a higher pay slice (compared to other executives), and if a TMT is more functionally diversified. However, ECE presence is particularly beneficial if the overall economy is in contraction. Comparing the functional positions held by ECEs reveals that ECE in the marketing function (as a chief marketing officer) offers the largest benefit to an average supplier firm. ECE presence is also associated with other firm outcomes (e.g. bankruptcy odds, innovation and customer orientation).

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Financial Analysts' Career Concerns and the Cost of Private Debt

Bill Francis Iftekhar Hasan Liuling Liu Qiang Wu Yijiang Zhao

in: Journal of Corporate Finance, April 2021

Abstract

Career-concerned analysts are averse to firm risk. Not only does higher firm risk require more effort to analyze the firm, thus constraining analysts' ability to earn more remuneration through covering more firms, but it also jeopardizes their research quality and career advancement. As such, career concerns incentivize analysts to pressure firms to undertake risk-management activities, thus leading to a lower cost of debt. Consistent with our hypothesis, we find a negative association between analyst career concerns and bank loan spreads. In addition, our mediation analysis suggests that this association is achieved through the channel of reducing firm risk. Additional tests suggest that the effect of analyst career concerns on loan spreads is more pronounced for firms with higher analyst coverage. Our study is the first to identify the demand for risk management as a key channel through which analysts help reduce the cost of debt.

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Working Papers

Lame-Duck CEOs

Marc Gabarro Sebastian Gryglewicz Shuo Xia

in: SSRN Working Papers, 2018

Abstract

We examine the relationship between protracted CEO successions and stock returns. In protracted successions, an incumbent CEO announces his or her resignation without a known successor, so the incumbent CEO becomes a “lame duck.” We find that 31% of CEO successions from 2005 to 2014 in the S&amp;P 1500 are protracted, during which the incumbent CEO is a lame duck for an average period of about 6 months. During the reign of lame duck CEOs, firms generate an annual four-factor alpha of 11% and exhibit significant positive earnings surprises. Investors’ under-reaction to no news on new CEO information and underestimation of the positive effects of the tournament among the CEO candidates drive our results.

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Selection Versus Incentives in Incentive Pay: Evidence from a Matching Model

Shuo Xia

in: SSRN Working Papers, 2018

Abstract

Higher incentive pay is associated with better firm performance. I introduce a model of CEO-firm matching to disentangle the two confounding effects that drive this result. On one hand, higher incentive pay directly induces more effort; on the other hand, higher incentive pay indirectly attracts more talented CEOs. I find both effects are essential to explain the result, with the selection effect accounting for 12.7% of the total effect. The relative importance of the selection effect is the largest in industries with high talent mobility and in more recent years.

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The Liquidity Premium of Safe Assets: The Role of Government Debt Supply

Qizhou Xiong

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 11, 2017

Abstract

The persistent premium of government debt attributes to two main reasons: absolute nominal safety and liquidity. This paper employs two types of measures of government debt supply to disentangle the safety and liquidity part of the premium. The empirical evidence shows that, after controlling for the opportunity cost of money, the quantitative impact of total government debt-to-GDP ratio is still significant and negative, which is consistent with the theoretical predictions of the CAPM with utility surplus of holding convenience assets. The relative availability measure, the ratio of total government liability to all sector total liability, separates the liquidity premium from the safety premium and has a negative impact too. Both theoretical and empirical results suggest that the substitutability between government debt and private safe assets dictates the quantitative impact of the government debt supply.

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Censored Fractional Response Model: Estimating Heterogeneous Relative Risk Aversion of European Households

Qizhou Xiong

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 11, 2015

Abstract

This paper estimates relative risk aversion using the observed shares of risky assets and characteristics of households from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey of the European Central Bank. Given that the risky share is a fractional response variable belonging to [0, 1], this paper proposes a censored fractional response estimation method using extremal quantiles to approximate the censoring thresholds. Considering that participation in risky asset markets is costly, I estimate both the heterogeneous relative risk aversion and participation cost using a working sample that includes both risky asset holders and non-risky asset holders by treating the zero risky share as the result of heterogeneous self-censoring. Estimation results show lower participation costs and higher relative risk aversion than what was previously estimated. The estimated median relative risk aversions of eight European countries range from 4.6 to 13.6. However, the results are sensitive to households’ perception of the risky asset market return and volatility.

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