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 ClusterInstitutions and Social Norms
Agency Cost of CEO Perquisites in Bank Loan Contracts
in: Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, forthcoming
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.
CEO Network Centrality and the Likelihood of Financial Reporting Fraud
in: Abacus, No. 4, 2021
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.
Do Activist Hedge Funds Target Female CEOs? The Role of CEO Gender in Hedge Fund Activism
in: Journal of Financial Economics, No. 1, 2021
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.
Executives with Customer Experience and Firm Performance in the B2B Context
in: European Journal of Marketing, No. 7, 2021
<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).
Financial Analysts' Career Concerns and the Cost of Private Debt
in: Journal of Corporate Finance, April 2021
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.
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 11, 2021
In statistics, samples are drawn from a population in a datagenerating process (DGP). Standard errors measure the uncertainty in sample estimates of population parameters. In science, evidence is generated to test hypotheses in an evidencegenerating process (EGP). We claim that EGP variation across researchers adds uncertainty: non-standard errors. To study them, we let 164 teams test six hypotheses on the same sample. We find that non-standard errors are sizeable, on par with standard errors. Their size (i) co-varies only weakly with team merits, reproducibility, or peer rating, (ii) declines significantly after peer-feedback, and (iii) is underestimated by participants.
Green Investing, Information Asymmetry, and Category Learning
in: Working Paper, 2021
We investigate how the attention allocation of green-motivated investors changes information asymmetry in financial markets and thus affects firms’ financing costs. To guide our empirical analysis, we propose a model where an investor with green taste endogenously allocates attention to market or firm-specific shocks. We find that more green-motivated investors tend to give more attention to green firm-level information instead of market-level information. Thus higher green taste leads to less category learning behavior and reduces the information asymmetry. Furthermore, it suggests that higher green taste results in lower leverage and lower cost of capital of green firms.
in: SSRN Working Papers, 2018
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&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.
Selection Versus Incentives in Incentive Pay: Evidence from a Matching Model
in: SSRN Working Papers, 2018
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.
The Liquidity Premium of Safe Assets: The Role of Government Debt Supply
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 11, 2017
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.