Prior research shows that technology spillovers across firms increase innovation, productivity, and value. We study how firms finance their own growth stimulated by technology spillovers from their technological peer firms. We find that greater technology spillovers lead to higher leverage. This is the result of technology spillovers increasing asset redeployability, as evidenced by more collateralized borrowing and asset transactions. Borrowing costs also decrease. Exogenous variation in the R&D tax credits of other firms allows us to identify the causal effect of technology spillovers on a given firm.
Gennaro Bernile, Vineet Bhagwat, Ambrus Kecskés, and Phuong-Anh Nguyen (2021), "Are the Risk Attitudes of Professional Investors Affected by Personal Catastrophic Experiences?", Financial Management, 50, 455-486.
We adopt a novel empirical approach to show that the risk attitudes of professional investors are affected by their catastrophic experiences—even for catastrophes without any meaningful economic impact on these investors or their portfolio firms. We study the portfolio risk of U.S.-based mutual funds that invest outside the United States before and after fund managers personally experience severe natural disasters. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we compare managers in disaster versus nondisaster counties matched on prior disaster probability and fund characteristics. We find that monthly fund return volatility decreases by roughly 60 basis points in year +1 and the effect disappears by year +3. Systematic risk drives the results. Additional analyses do not support wealth effects (using disasters with no property damage) or managerial agency, skill, and catering explanations.
Nguyen, Phuong-Anh, Ambrus Kecskés, and Sattar Mansi (2020), "Does Corporate Social Responsibility Create Shareholder Value? The Importance of Long-term Investors", Journal of Banking and Finance, 112.
We study the effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on shareholder value. We argue that long-term investors can ensure that managers choose the amount of CSR that maximizes shareholder value. We find that long-term investors do increase the value to shareholders of CSR activities, not through higher cash flow but rather through lower cash flow risk. Following prior work, we use indexing by investors and state laws on stakeholder orientation for identification. Our findings suggest that CSR activities can create shareholder value as long as managers are properly monitored by long-term investors.
Nguyen, Phuong-Anh, and Ambrus Kecskés (2020), "Do Technology Spillovers Affect the Corporate Information Environment?", Journal of Corporate Finance, 62.
Technology spillovers across firms affect corporate innovation, productivity, and value, according to prior research, so information about technology spillovers should matter to investors. We argue that technology spillovers increase the complexity and uncertainty of value relevant information about the firm, which makes information processing more costly, discourages it, and thereby increases information asymmetry between insiders and outsiders. We find that not only does information asymmetry increase, but so does avoidance by sophisticated market participants, uncertainty, and insider trading. We also find that investors do not misestimate short-term earnings, but they underestimate long-term earnings, consistent with the higher future stock returns that we also find.
We study the effect of investor horizons on a comprehensive set of corporate decisions. We argue that monitoring by long-term investors generates decision making that maximizes shareholder value. We find that long-term investors strengthen governance and restrain managerial misbehaviors such as earnings management and financial fraud. They discourage a range of investment and financing activities but encourage payouts. Innovation increases, in quantity and quality. Shareholders benefit through higher profitability that the stock market does not fully anticipate, and lower risk.
Kecskés, A., Michaely, R. and Womack, K. (2017), "Do Earnings Estimates Add Value to Sell-Side Analysts’ Investment Recommendations?", Management Science, 63(6), 1855-1871.
Sell-side analysts change their stock recommendations when their valuations differ from the market’s. These valuation differences can arise from either differences in earnings estimates or the nonearnings components of valuation methodologies. We find that recommendation changes motivated by earnings estimate revisions have a greater initial price reaction than the same recommendation changes without earnings estimate revisions: about +1.3% (−2.8%) greater for upgrades (downgrades). Nevertheless, the postrecommendation drift is also greater, suggesting that investors underreact to earnings-based recommendation changes. Implemented as a trading strategy, earnings-based recommendation changes earn risk-adjusted returns of 3% per month, considerably more than non-earnings-based recommendation changes. Evidence from variation in firms’ information environment and analysts’ regulatory environment suggests that recommendation changes with earnings estimate revisions are less affected by analysts’ cognitive and incentive biases.
Derrien, F., Kecskés, A. and Sattar, M. (2016), "Information Asymmetry, the Cost of Debt, and Credit Events: Evidence from Quasi-Random Analyst Disappearances", Journal of Corporate Finance, 39, 295-311.
We hypothesize that greater information asymmetry causes greater losses to debtholders. To test this, we identify exogenous increases in information asymmetry using the loss of an analyst that results from broker closures and broker mergers. We find that the loss of an analyst causes the cost of debt to increase by 25 basis points for treatment firms compared to control firms, and the rate of credit events (e.g., defaults) is roughly 100–150% higher. These results are driven by firms that are more sensitive to changes in information (e.g., less analyst coverage). The evidence is broadly consistent with both financing and monitoring channels, although only a financing channel explains the impact of the loss of an analyst on firms’ cost of debt.
Kecskés, A., Mansi, S. and Zhang, A. (2013), "Are Short Sellers Informed? Evidence From the Bond Market", The Accounting Review, 88(2), 611-639.
We examine whether short sellers in the equity market provide valuable information to investors in the bond market. Using a sample of publicly traded bond data covering the period from 1988 to 2011, we find that firms with high short interest have lower credit ratings and are more likely to have their ratings downgraded. We also find that firms with highly shorted stocks are associated with higher bond yield spreads (about 24 basis points). Evidence of causality from short interest spikes and a natural experiment based on the SEC’s Regulation SHO pilot program confirms our findings. Overall, our results suggest that equity short sellers provide predictive information to creditors in the bond market.
Derrien, F., Kecskés, A. and Thesmar, D. (2013), "Investor Horizons and Corporate Policies", Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 48, 1755-1780.
We study the effect of investor horizons on corporate behavior. We argue that longer investor horizons attenuate the effect of stock mispricing on corporate policies. Consistent with our argument, we find that when a firm is undervalued, greater long-term investor ownership is associated with more investment, more equity financing, and less payouts to shareholders. Our results do not appear to be explained by long-term investor self-selection, monitoring (corporate governance), or concentration (blockholdings). Our results are consistent with a version of market timing in which mispriced firms cater to the tastes of their short-term investors rather than their long-term investors.
Derrien, F. and Kecskés, A. (2013), "The Real Effects of Financial Shocks: Evidence From Exogenous Changes in Analyst Coverage", Journal of Finance, 68, 1383-1416.
We study the causal effects of analyst coverage on corporate investment and financing policies. We hypothesize that a decrease in analyst coverage increases information asymmetry and thus increases the cost of capital; as a result, firms decrease their investment and financing. We use broker closures and broker mergers to identify changes in analyst coverage that are exogenous to corporate policies. Using a difference‐in‐differences approach, we find that firms that lose an analyst decrease their investment and financing by 1.9% and 2.0% of total assets, respectively, compared to similar firms that do not lose an analyst.