Names and Behavior in a War
Journal of Population Economics,
We implement a novel empirical strategy for measuring and studying a strong form of nationalism—the willingness to fight and die in a war for national independence—using name choices corresponding to a previous war leader. Based on data on almost half a million soldiers, we first show that having been given a first name that is synonymous with the leader(s) of the Croatian state during World War II predicts volunteering for service in the 1991–1995 Croatian war of independence and dying during the conflict. Next, we use the universe of Croatian birth certificates and the information about nationalism conveyed by first names to suggests that in ex-Yugoslav Croatia, nationalism rose continuously starting in the 1970s and that its rise was curbed in areas where concentration camps were located during WWII. Our evidence on intergenerational transmission of nationalism is consistent with nationalist fathers purposefully reflecting the trade-off between within-family and society-wide transmission channels of political values. We also link the nationalist values we proxy using first name choices to right-wing voting behavior in 2015, 20 years after the war.
How to Talk Down Your Stock Performance
SSRN Discussion Papers,
We process the natural language of verbal firm disclosures in order to study the use of context specific language or jargon and its impact on financial performance. We observe that, within the Q&A of earnings conference calls, managers use less jargon in responses to tougher questions, and after a quarter of bad economic success. Moreover, markets interpret the lack of precise information as a bad signal: we find lower cumulative abnormal returns and a higher implied volatility following earnings calls where managers use less jargon. These results support the argument that context specific language or jargon helps to efficiently and precisely transfer information.
Drivers of Effort: Evidence from Employee Absenteeism
Journal of Financial Economics,
We use detailed information on individual absent spells of all employees in 4140 firms in Denmark to show large differences in average absenteeism across firms. Using employees who switch firms, we decompose days absent into an individual component (e.g., motivation, work ethic) and a firm component (e.g., incentives, corporate culture). We find the firm component explains 50%–60% of the difference in absenteeism across firms, with the individual component explaining the rest. We present suggestive evidence of the mechanisms behind the firm effect with family firm status and concentrated ownership strongly correlated with decreases in absenteeism. We also analyze the firm characteristics that correlate with the individual effect and find that firms with stronger career incentives attract lower-absenteeism employees.
Do Director Elections Matter?
Review of Financial Studies,
Using a hand-collected sample of election nominations for more than 30,000 directors over the period 2001–2010, we construct a novel measure of director proximity to elections called Years-to-election. We find that the closer directors of a board are to their next elections, the higher CEO turnover-performance sensitivity is. A series of tests, including one that exploits variation in Years-to-election that comes from other boards, supports a causal interpretation. Further analyses show that other governance mechanisms do not drive the relation between board Years-to-election and CEO turnover-performance sensitivity. We conclude that director elections have important implications for corporate governance.
20.02.2018 • 2/2018
Fernsehen aktiviert Unternehmergeist
Unternehmensgründungen schaffen Arbeitsplätze und treiben die Entwicklung einer Marktwirtschaft voran. Über welche Kanäle der Unternehmergeist in den Menschen aber überhaupt geweckt wird, damit beschäftigten sich Viktor Slavtchev, Ökonom am Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschafts-forschung Halle (IWH) und sein Co-Autor Michael Wyrwich in einer Studie. Ihr Ergebnis: Auch das Fernsehen kann die dafür passenden Werte vermitteln. Für ihre Analyse ver-glichen die Ökonomen die Unternehmensaktivität in ostdeutschen Regionen, die West-Fernsehen empfangen konnten, mit solchen, die diese Möglichkeit nicht hatten.
Team Building and Hidden Costs of Control
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization,
In a laboratory experiment, we investigate the interaction of two prominent firm strategies to increase worker effort: team building and control. We compare a team-building treatment where subjects initially play a coordination game to gain common experience (CE) with an autarky treatment where subjects individually perform a task (NCE). In both treatments, subjects then play two-player control games where agents provide costly effort and principals can control to secure a minimum effort. CE agents always outperform NCE agents. Conditional on control, however, CE agents’ effort is crowded out more strongly, with the effect being most pronounced for agents who successfully coordinated in the team-building exercise. Differential reactions to control perceived as excessive is one explanation for our findings.
Heterogeneous Treatment Effects in Groups
We show in a laboratory experiment that the same method of group induction carries different behavioral consequences. These heterogeneous treatment effects can be directly related to the quality of the relationship established between the subjects. Our results indicate the importance of manipulation checks in group-formation tasks in economic experiments.