Chen Lin
Prof. Chen LIN
Finance
Associate Dean (Research and Knowledge Exchange)
Chair of Finance
Stelux Professor in Finance
Director, Centre for Financial Innovation and Development
DBA Programme Director

3917 7793

KK 1015

Publications
Deposit Supply and Bank Transparency

Does a bank’s dependence on different external funding sources shape its voluntary disclosure of information? We evaluate whether economic shocks that increase the supply of bank deposits alter the cost–benefit calculations of bank managers concerning voluntary information disclosure. We measure information disclosure using 10-K filings, 8-K filings, and earnings guidance. As for the funding shock, we use unanticipated technological innovations that triggered shale development and booms in bank deposits. Further analyses suggest that greater exposure to shale development reduced information disclosure by relaxing the incentives for managers to disclose information to attract funds from external capital markets.

Future Anxiety – How COVID-19 Led People to Save More Money

Take the recent study by Chen Lin and Mingzhu Tai from the HKU Business School, conducted with collaborators from the University of California, Berkeley and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Their paper addressed a fundamental worry for almost everyone during the pandemic: Money. Specifically, they examined how people in the U.S. saved money in response to COVID-19.

Finance and Firm Volatility: Evidence from Small Business Lending in China

The online trading platform Alibaba provides financial technology (FinTech) credit for millions of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Using a novel data set of daily sales and an internal credit score threshold that governs the allocation of credit, we apply a fuzzy regression discontinuity design (RDD) to explore the causal effect of credit access on firm volatility. We find that credit access significantly reduces firm sales volatility and that the effect is stronger for firms with fewer alternative sources of financing. We further look at firm exit probability and find that firms with access to FinTech credit are less likely to go bankrupt or exit the business in the future. Additional channel tests reveal that firms with FinTech credit invest more in advertising and product/sector diversification, particularly during business downturns, which serves as effective mechanisms through which credit access reduces firm volatility. Overall, our findings contribute to a better understanding of the role of FinTech credit in MSMEs.

Minimum Wage and Corporate Investment: Evidence from Manufacturing Firms in China

This paper studies how minimum wage policies affect capital investment using the industrial census of manufacturing firms in China, where minimum wage policies vary across counties. Exploiting minimum wage policy discontinuities at county borders, we find that minimum wages increase capital investment. The investment response to minimum wages is stronger for firms that are labor-intensive, that have more room for technological improvement, and that cannot sufficiently pass on labor costs to consumers. A natural experiment based on county jurisdictional changes further assures the causal relationship.

Epidemic Disease and Financial Development

We study the impact of an epidemic disease on modern financial development by exploiting geographic variations in the precolonial survival conditions of the TseTse fly, which transmits an epidemic disease that is harmful to humans and fatal to livestock in Africa. Using newly georeferenced data, we discover that firms and households in regions historically more exposed to the epidemic disease have less access to external financing today. Exploring the channels, we find that people in historically infested regions are less likely to trust others and financial institutions, to share credit information and to learn and adopt new financial technologies.

How Did Depositors Respond to COVID-19?

Why did banks experience massive deposit inflows during the pandemic? We discover that deposit interest rates at bank branches in counties with higher COVID-19 infection rates fell by more than rates at branches—even branches of the same bank—in counties with lower infection rates. Credit drawdowns, national policies, such as the Payment Protection Program, and a flight-to-safety do not account for these cross-branch changes in deposit rates. Evidence suggests that higher local COVID-19 infection rates are associated with households’ greater anxiety about future job and income losses, anxiety that induces households to reduce spending and increase deposits.

Professor Chen Lin delivers Keynote Speech titled “Food for Thought on the Development of the Technology Credit Market” in the 2021 ZGC Forum’s Financial Technology Parallel Forum

The Zhongguancun (ZGC) Forum was successfully held from September 24 to 28 in Beijing, China. Professor Chen Lin, Associate Dean in Research and Knowledge Exchange and Chair of Finance, was invited as a keynote speaker for the parallel forum – Financial Technology Forum.

The Telegraph and Modern Banking Development, 1881-1936

The telegraph was introduced to China in the late 19th century, a time when China also saw the rise of modern banks. Based on this historical context, this paper documents the importance of information technology in banking development. We construct a data set on the distributions of telegraph stations and banks across 287 prefectures between 1881 and 1936. The results show that the telegraph significantly expanded banks’ branch networks in terms of both number and geographic scope. The effect of the telegraph remains robust when we instrument it using proximity to the early military telegraph trunk.

Corporate Immunity to the COVID-19 Pandemic

We evaluate the connection between corporate characteristics and the reaction of stock returns to COVID-19 cases using data on more than 6,700 firms across 61 economies. The pandemic-induced drop in stock returns was milder among firms with stronger pre-2020 finances (more cash and undrawn credit, less total and short-term debt, and larger profits), less exposure to COVID-19 through global supply chains and customer locations, more corporate social responsibility activities, and less entrenched executives. Furthermore, the stock returns of firms controlled by families (especially through direct holdings and with non-family managers), large corporations, and governments performed better, and those with greater ownership by hedge funds and other asset management companies performed worse. Stock markets positively price small amounts of managerial ownership but negatively price high levels of managerial ownership during the pandemic.