Scholarly Works, Finance, Insurance and Business Law

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Research articles, presentations, and other scholarship


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  • Indexing and Stock Price Efficiency
    Qin, Nan; Singal, Vijay (Wiley, 2015-07-28)
    Indexing has experienced substantial growth over the last two decades because it is an effective way of holding a diversified portfolio while minimizing trading costs and taxes. In this article, we focus on one negative externality of indexing: the effect on the efficiency of stock prices. Based on a sample of large and liquid US stocks, we find that greater indexing leads to less efficient stock prices, as indicated by stronger post‐earnings‐announcement drift and greater deviations of stock prices from the random walk. We conjecture that reduced incentives for information acquisition and arbitrage induced by indexing and passive trading are probably the main causes for degradation in price efficiency.
  • Investor base, cost of capital, and new listings on the NYSE
    Kadlec, Gregory B.; McConnell, John J. (Wiley, 2023-04)
    In this article, we report the results of our recent study of 273 companies that during the 1980s decided to switch the trading locale of their shares from the over-the-counter (OTC) or NASDAQ market to the NYSE. We found that share prices increased by about 6%, on average, at the time the stocks became listed on the NYSE, and that the investor base of these firms increased by almost 20%. We also found that the average stock experienced a reduction in bid/ask spread of about 5% after listing. In an analysis of the relation among share prices, investor base, and bid/ask spread, we found that the stock price increase was significantly correlated with both the percentage increase in investor base and the reduction in bid/ask spread.
  • Does Firm Life Cycle Stage Affect Investor Perceptions? Evidence from Earnings Announcement Reactions
    Fodor, Andy; Bergsma Lovelace, Kelley; Singal, Vijay; Tayal, Jitendra (2021-08-06)
    This paper argues that firms in certain life stages may be more subjectively valued by individual investors, leading to an overoptimistic bias in stock prices that is subsequently corrected upon the release of earnings news. Using a cash flow-based life stage classification, introduction and decline stage companies exhibit three-day cumulative abnormal returns (CARs) around earnings announcements that are at least 112 bps lower than firms in growth, maturity, and shake-out stages. Specifically, introduction and decline stage stocks exhibit less positive reactions to positive earnings surprises and more negative reactions to negative earnings surprises relative to companies in other life stages. Lottery stocks’ excess returns around earnings announcements (Liu, Wang, Yu, and Zhao 2020) also vary based on firm life stage. Our findings suggest that individual investors’ overoptimistic expectations for introduction and decline stage stocks are met with disappointment when value-relevant earnings news is released. This study demonstrates that firm life stage has real implications for stock price reactions to earnings announcements in financial markets.
  • When and where does it pay to be green? – A look into socially responsible investing and the cost of equity capital
    Wang, Yanbing; Delgado, Michael S.; Xu, Jin (2023-02-11)
    We investigate the circumstances under which socially responsible investing (SRI) enhances firm long-term financial performance, and therefore provides incentives for firms to self-regulate their environmental performance. Aggregating portfolios across SRI mutual funds, we estimate the effect of SRI investment with environmental screening criteria on firm cost of equity capital. We find that accounting for interactions between firm and non-shareholder stakeholders, and potential agency costs associated with certain environmental activities of the firm, SRI can facilitate the alignment of firms’ environmental and financial goals. We also find that an industry group’s environmental performance and diversity influence the extent to which a firm in that group can benefit from SRI investment.
  • Dissecting the Equity Premium
    Beason, Tyler; Schreindorfer, David (University of Chicago Press, 2022-08-01)
    We use option prices and realized returns to decompose risk premia into different parts of the return state space. In the data, 8/10 of the average equity premium is attributable to monthly returns below -10%, but returns below -30% matter very little. In contrast, prominent asset pricing models based on habits, long-run risks, rare disasters, undiversifiable idiosyncratic risk, and constrained intermediaries attribute the premium predominantly to returns above -10% or to the extreme left tail. We show that the discrepancy arises from an unrealistically small price of risk for stock market tail events in the models.
  • Taking Over the Size Effect: Asset Pricing Implications of Merger Activity
    Easterwood, Sara; Netter, Jeffry; Paye, Bradley S.; Stegemoller, Michael (Elsevier, 2022-07-26)
    We show that merger announcement returns account for virtually all of the measured size premium. An empirical proxy for ex ante takeover exposure positively and robustly relates to cross-sectional expected returns. The relation between size and expected returns becomes positive or insignificant, rather than negative, conditional on this takeover characteristic. Asset pricing models that include a factor based on the takeover characteristic outperform otherwise similar models that include the conventional size factor. We conclude that the takeover factor should replace the conventional size factor in benchmark asset pricing models.
  • Institutional Shareholder Attention, Agency Conflicts, and the Cost of Debt
    El Ghoul, Sadok; Guedhami, Omrane; Mansi, Sattar A.; Yoon, Hyo Jin (Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, 2020-01-15)
    Using Kempf, Manconi, and Spalt’s (2017) measure of shareholder inattention, constructed from exogenous industry shocks to institutional investor portfolios, we find that firms with distracted shareholders are associated with a higher cost of debt. This effect is stronger for firms with more powerful CEOs, higher information asymmetry, and those operating in less competitive product markets. Further testing suggests that the inattention–cost of debt relation is driven primarily by dual holders directly observing shareholder distraction. Our results are robust to controlling for inattention at the retail investor level and to other external monitors, including credit rating agencies, financial analysts, and Big 4 auditors. Overall, our evidence suggests that institutional shareholder inattention has an incrementally negative effect on bond pricing.
  • Index fund trading costs are inversely related to fund and family size
    Adams, John; Hayunga, Darren; Mansi, Sattar A. (Elsevier, 2022-07)
    Trading costs are a significant, but unobserved, drag on mutual fund performance. Because an index fund does not engage in securities selection or market timing, its trading costs are equivalent to its underperformance relative to its benchmark plus any securities lending in-come it earns. Using a large sample of index funds, we find positive returns to scale at the fund and family levels. We also find greater fund size helps alleviate the higher trading costs associated with illiquid equities and that net trading costs are comparable in magnitude to expense ratios.
  • Economic Policy Uncertainty, Institutional Environments, and Corporate Cash Holdings
    El Ghoul, Sadok; Guedhami, Omrane; Mansi, Sattar A.; Wang, He Helen (2022-10-11)
    We investigate the effect of economic policy uncertainty (EPU) on corporate cash holdings using a large sample of international firms. EPU intensifies concerns of investors on managerial self-dealing and political extraction. Consequently, the potential cost of cash holdings (i.e., expropriation) outweighs its benefit (i.e., precautionary motives), and the optimal amount of cash holdings decreases. We find supportive evidence that firms hold less cash when EPU is high. We further show that the market discounts excess cash holdings under high policy uncertainty, but this negative effect is mitigated by stronger investor protection, better freedom of press, and better government quality.
  • Is short-term debt a substitute for or complementary to good governance?
    Anginer, Deniz; Demirguc-Kunt, Asli; Simsir, Serif Aziz; Tepe, Mete (Elsevier, 2022-03)
    Short-term debt can reduce potential agency conflicts between managers and shareholders by exposing managers to more frequent monitoring by the credit market. Using an international dataset, we examine whether internal monitoring can substitute for external monitoring through the use of short-term debt. We find that the relationship between debt maturity and governance depends on the institutional environment in a given country. In common-law countries and in countries with stronger investor protection rights, governance and short-term debt act as substitutes. The extent of creditor rights, state-level governance quality, cultural characteristics, and economic development levels of countries also play a role in explaining the relationship between governance and debt maturity. Copyright (C)& nbsp;2021, Borsa Istanbul Anonim Sirketi. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V.& nbsp;
  • Audit Committee-CFO Political Dissimilarity and Financial Reporting Quality
    Although a large literature in accounting examines the role that audit committees play in the oversight of the financial reporting process, little is known about how the interactions between the audit com-mittee as a group and top management affects financial reporting choices. In this study, we investigate the effect of an important type of group dynamic, namely the political dissimilarity between the audit committee and the CFO, on financial reporting quality. Using a large sample of hand-collected political donation data, we find that audit committee–CFO political dissimilarity is associated with lower like-lihoods of financial restatements, lower likelihood of material weaknesses, and lower audit fees. Im-portantly, these positive financial reporting quality outcomes exist even after controlling for other features of the audit committee–CFO relationship, namely gender, age, and relative power, local ide-ological heterogeneity, and CEO ideological dissimilarity with both the audit committee and the CFO. Further testing shows that the effects of CFO–political dissimilarity on financial reporting quality is salient in settings within the purview of the audit committee where decisions are inherently complex, can be subjective, and are more likely to be associated with disagreements with management–goodwill impairments, tax avoidance, and pro-forma reporting. Overall, our results suggest that heterogeneity in political beliefs between audit committee members and the CFO is valuable.
  • Diseconomies of Scale in the Actively-Managed Mutual Fund Industry: What Do the Outliers in the Data Tell Us?
    Adams, John; Hayunga, Darren; Mansi, Sattar A. (2018-12-31)
    Recent research suggests that improper identification of outliers can lead to distorted inference. We investigate this issue by examining the role that multivariate outliers play in research outcomes using the Chen et al. (2004) study. We find that the documented negative relation between scale and return performance in the actively managed mutual fund industry is an artifact of extreme observations. A manual examination of the most influential observations with verifications against outside sources shows that these outliers are largely bad data. Removing the errors reduces the point estimates on the effect of fund size, rendering it economically and statistically insignificant. Further analysis employing regressions that mitigate outlier-induced bias and extending the sample through 2014 confirm our findings. Our evidence contributes to the recent research on the importance of outlier identification in finance research.
  • Debt covenants, bankruptcy risk, and the cost of debt
    Mansi, Sattar A.; Qi, Yaxuan; Wald, John (2020-11-16)
    Are all covenants equally effective at reducing the bondholder-shareholder conflict? Examining the most frequently used bond covenants, we document that four out of 24 restrictions are associated with significantly higher bankruptcy risk. The use of these Default Indicating covenants can be partly explained by faulty contract design, greater recovery in bankruptcy, or within-creditor conflicts. Firms that use In-House Counsel to help structure their bond issue and those that use Big 4 Auditors are also less likely to include Default Indicating covenants in their bonds. Further tests show that the use of these Default Indicating covenants is associated with higher bond and CDS spreads. Overall, the results help explain the prior evidence on the relation between covenant use and the cost of debt.
  • Economic policy uncertainty and allocative distortions
    Guedhami, Omrane; Mansi, Sattar A.; Reeb, David; Yasuda, Yukihiro (2021-12-14)
    We introduce this special issue on Economic Policy Uncertainty (EPU) with a focus on how EPU affects allocative efficiency. We observe that EPU affects the market value of firms in about 37% of Fama–French 30 industries, but leads to lower investments in 90% of them. Allocation decisions in a market economy rely on signals from the capital market, which EPU distorts. This may cause increasing conflicts of interest between managers and investors. We highlight key studies in the EPU literature and then describe each paper in this special issue. We also provide suggestions for future research.
  • Scale and Performance in Active Management are Not Negatively Related
    Adams, John; Hayunga, Darren; Mansi, Sattar A. (2021-08-16)
    We revisit the nature of returns to scale following Pástor, Stambaugh, and Taylor (2015). Using replicated versions of their domestic equity fund sample, we confirm their negative and significant relation between industry scale and performance. However, upon closer examination we find the diseconomies of scale at the industry level result is an artifact of data errors that comprise less than 0.05% of the sample―168 out of 332,516 observations―that occurred most often in the year 2000. We are unable to find industry level diseconomies of scale in the post 2001 era. A major source of these errors is the incorrect use of Morningstar’s current performance benchmarks to measure historical return performance. We confirm the non-result findings using Fama-French three-factor adjusted returns, which are not subject to benchmarking errors.
  • S&P 500 Indexers, Delegation Costs, and Liquidity Mechanisms
    Edelen, Roger M.; Blume, Marshall E. (2004)
  • Retail Investors' Attention and Insider Trading
    Mansi, Sattar A.; Peng, Lin; Qi, Jianping; Shi, Han (2019-01-07)
    We document a significant increase in opportunistic insider trades when retail investors are paying greater attention to the stock. Using Google SVI to proxy for their level of attention, we find that a higher (lower) SVI on a stock is associated with more insider sales (purchases) of the stock and greater abnormal returns on the sales (purchases). A value-weighted long-short portfolio mimicking insider trades would earn an abnormal return of 1.19% per month (14.28% per year), excluding transaction costs. We also find that the SVI-related insider traders tend to be non-independent directors who have long tenures but no senior executive positions in their firm and the firm tends to exhibit weaker governance, lower reputation, and poorer social responsibility. Our results are stronger for lottery-type stocks but are weaker for stocks with large attention of local investors. Interestingly, the risk of SEC investigation and litigation is lower on SVI-related insider sales and this type of sales actually rises following an increase in news releases of SEC enforcement action. Our results are robust to various identification tests. Overall, certain insiders appear to engage in trades to take advantage of variations of retail investors’ attention to their stock.
  • Privacy and Security in the Implementation of Health Information Technology (Electronic Health Records): U.S. and EU Compared
    Hiller, Janine S.; McMullen, Matthew S.; Chumney, Wade M.; Baumer, David L. (Boston University School of Law, 2011)
    The importance of the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and the associated cost savings cannot be ignored as an element in the changing delivery of health care. However, the potential cost savings predicted in the use of EHR are accompanied by potential risks, either technical or legal, to privacy and security. The U.S. legal framework for healthcare privacy is a combination of constitutional, statutory, and regulatory law at the federal and state levels. In contrast, it is generally believed that EU protection of privacy, including personally identifiable medical information, is more comprehensive than that of U.S. privacy laws. Direct comparisons of U.S. and EU medical privacy laws can be made with reference to the five Fair Information Practices Principles (FIPs) adopted by the Federal Trade Commission and other international bodies. The analysis reveals that while the federal response to the privacy of health records in the U.S. seems to be a gain over conflicting state law, in contrast to EU law, U.S. patients currently have little choice in the electronic recording of sensitive medical information if they want to be treated, and minimal control over the sharing of that information. A combination of technical and legal improvements in EHRs could make the loss of privacy associated with EHRs de minimis. The EU has come closer to this position, encouraging the adoption of EHRs and confirming the application of privacy protections at the same time. It can be argued that the EU is proactive in its approach; whereas because of a different viewpoint toward an individual’s right to privacy, the U.S. system lacks a strong framework for healthcare privacy, which will affect the implementation of EHRs. If the U.S. is going to implement EHRs effectively, technical and policy aspects of privacy must be central to the discussion.
  • Civil Cyberconflict: Microsoft, Cybercrime, and Botnets
    Hiller, Janine S. (Santa Clara University School of Law, 2014-01)
    Cyber “warfare” and hackback by private companies is a hot discussion topic for its potential to fight cybercrime and promote cybersecurity. In the shadow of this provocative discussion, Microsoft has led a concerted, sustained fight against cybercriminals by using traditional legal theories and court actions to dismantle criminal networks known as botnets. This article brings focus to the role of the private sector in cybersecurity in light of the aggressive civil actions by Microsoft to address a thorny and seemingly intractable global problem. A botnet is a network of computers infected with unauthorized code that is controlled from a distance by malicious actors. The extent of botnet activity is staggering, and botnets have been called the plague of the Internet. The general public is more commonly aware of the damaging results of botnet activity rather than its operation, intrusion, or infection capabilities. Botnet activity may result in a website being unavailable due to a denial-of-service (DoS) attack, identity theft can occur because the botnet collects passwords from individual users, and bank accounts may be emptied related to botnet activity. Spam, fraud, spyware, and data breaches are all the result of botnet activity. Technical remedies for stopping botnet attacks and damages are ongoing, but technical solutions alone are inadequate. Law enforcement is active in tracking down criminal activities of botnets, yet the number and sophistication of the attackers overwhelm it. In a new development, multiple civil lawsuits by Microsoft have created the legal precedent for suing botnet operators and using existing law to dismantle botnets and decrease their global reach. This article reviews the threats created by botnets and describes the evolution of legal and technical strategies to address botnet proliferation. The distinctive aspects of each of the cases brought by Microsoft are described and analyzed and the complex questions surrounding a botnet takedown are identified. Discussion of the details of the lawsuits are important, because over a relatively short period of time, government and private sector roles have evolved considerably in the search for a methodology to deal effectively with botnets. Theoretical and international questions surrounding the sustainability and policy ramifications of private sector leadership in cybersecurity are examined, and questions for future research are identified.