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Optimism, attribution and corporate investment policy

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Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) whose observed personal option-holding patterns are not consistent with theoretical predictions are variously described as overconfident or optimistic. Existing literature demonstrates that the investment and financing decisions of such CEOs differ from those of CEOs who

Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) whose observed personal option-holding patterns are not consistent with theoretical predictions are variously described as overconfident or optimistic. Existing literature demonstrates that the investment and financing decisions of such CEOs differ from those of CEOs who do not exhibit such behavior and interprets the investment and financing decisions by overconfident or optimistic CEOs as inferior. This paper argues that it may be rational to exhibit behavior interpreted as optimistic and that the determinants of a CEO’s perceived optimism are important. Further, this paper shows that CEOs whose apparent optimism results from above average industry-adjusted CEO performance in prior years make investment and financing decisions which are actually similar, and sometimes superior to, those of unbiased CEOs.

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Agent

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Date Created
2016

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From Playground to Boardroom: Endowed Social Status and Managerial Performance

Description

By matching a CEO's place of residence in his or her formative years with U.S. Census survey data, I obtain an estimate of the CEO's family wealth and study the link between the CEO's endowed social status and firm performance.

By matching a CEO's place of residence in his or her formative years with U.S. Census survey data, I obtain an estimate of the CEO's family wealth and study the link between the CEO's endowed social status and firm performance. I find that, on average, CEOs born into poor families outperform those born into wealthy families, as measured by a variety of proxies for firm performance. There is no evidence of higher risk-taking by the CEOs from low social status backgrounds. Further, CEOs from less privileged families perform better in firms with high R&D spending but they underperform CEOs from wealthy families when firms operate in a more uncertain environment. Taken together, my results show that endowed family wealth of a CEO is useful in identifying his or her managerial ability.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2018