Recent research has shown that a CEO's personal experiences in his or her early days have an influence on his or her decision-making as an executive later on. Our study extends this emerging stream of research by examining how CEOs’ pre-career exposure to religion affects their firms’ risk-taking and subsequent innovation performance. Drawing upon developmental psychology research and imprinting theory, we argue that CEOs who have attended a religious college are more likely to develop or reinforce their risk-averse mentality. This carries over to their professional life when they are in a top management position, and it leads to less risk-taking behavior in their firms and ultimately a lower level of firm innovation. Using a large sample of U.S. publicly listed companies, we find strong support on our hypotheses: Firms managed by CEOs who attended a religious college tend to be less risk-taking; this effect is stronger when the firm has more board members with pre-career exposure to religion; in addition, the firm's risk-taking behavior mediates the negative relationship between CEO pre-career religious exposure and firm innovation. We discuss the implications of our study for the strategic leadership literature, firm's risk-taking, and innovation research.
Journal of Management
Military Investment and the Rise of Industrial Clusters: Evidence From China’s Self-strengthening Movement
This paper investigates the short- and long-term impact of large-scale military investment on civilian industrial growth by focusing on China’s first attempt to modernize its military sector between 1861 and 1894. Panel data from 1858 to 1937 suggest that the program generated positive effects on civilian firm entry, but these effects appeared only after the government relaxed constraints on the entry of private firms. Long-term analysis shows that counties that received more military investment through the program, driven by plausibly exogenous ex ante political connections, had greater output in civilian industries in the 1930s. Analysis of the mechanisms suggest that the program boosted local economies through input–output linkages, human capital accumulation, and the rise of modern banks.
Journal of Development Economics
We propose a novel framework for analyzing linear asset pricing models: simple, robust, and applicable to high-dimensional problems. For a (potentially misspecified) stand-alone model, it provides reliable price of risk estimates for both tradable and nontradable factors, and detects those weakly identified. For competing factors and (possibly nonnested) models, the method automatically selects the best specification—if a dominant one exists—or provides a Bayesian model averaging–stochastic discount factor (BMA-SDF), if there is no clear winner. We analyze 2.25 quadrillion models generated by a large set of factors and find that the BMA-SDF outperforms existing models in- and out-of-sample.
The Journal of Finance
We study the economic value of market timing in foreign exchange (FX) markets, that is, using information about the conditional Sharpe ratio to adjust the notional value of a conditionally mean–variance efficient currency portfolio. Our strategy trades more (less) aggressively when the conditional risk-return trade-off is more (less) favorable. This leads to a significant improvement in the out-of-sample unconditional Sharpe ratio, skewness, and maximum drawdown per 1% expected excess return. The strategy’s market timing predicts returns, volatility, and skewness in FX markets. Popular currency pricing factors do not explain the strategy’s high average excess returns. Our findings suggest that it is costly to impose leverage or risk (i.e., conditional volatility) limits or other inferior market timing policies when constructing currency trading strategies.
Review of Finance
Consumers often need to schedule different activities. While consumers who adopt a clock-time scheduling style decide when to transition from one activity to the next according to external temporal cues (e.g., clock), those who adopt an event-time scheduling style tend to perform each activity until they feel internally that it is completed. This research showed that consumers' scheduling style (clock-time vs. event-time) could influence their satiation with repeated consumption. Four studies involving actual consumption across various domains (e.g., music, artwork, food) demonstrated that an event-time scheduling style leads to more rapid satiation with repeated consumption than a clock-time scheduling style because event-timers (vs. clock-timers) have higher private self-focus. The results further revealed that the satiation effect of scheduling style is mitigated when consumers are distracted from their private self or informed of additional sensitization cues in the consumption stimuli.
Journal of Consumer Psychology
Information sets, expectations, and preferences of politicians are fundamental, but unobserved determinants of their policy choices. Employing repeated votes in the US House of Representatives on China's normal trade relations (NTR) status during the two decades straddling China's World Trade Organization (WTO) accession, we apply a moment inequality approach designed to deliver consistent estimates under weak informational assumptions on the information sets of members of Congress. This methodology offers a robust way to test hypotheses about what information politicians have at the time of their decision and to estimate the weight that constituents, ideology, and other factors have in policy making and voting.
American Economic Review
By matching data on land transactions in China’s primary land market with detailed curricula vitae of board directors in publicly listed firms, we identify a pattern of ‘revolving-door’ exchanges between local officials and firms. The officials discounted the price of land that they sold to the said firms, and were subsequently rewarded with board appointments upon retirement. Specifically, these ‘client officials’ are three times as likely to be recruited by the ‘patron firms’ as board directors and enjoy a salary that is 23% higher, and 81% more company shares by comparison with directors who did not help firms to secure cheap land deals. All of these, however, are conditional on patron firms being able to receive a price discount, which averaged 19.4% when they purchased them in normal times. However, when client officials were constrained from providing a price discount during a surprise audit, the likelihood of client officials recruited as board directors was halved, with the price discount and extra compensation received by the patrons and clients, respectively, vanishing altogether. By providing evidence of the reciprocal benefits received by both parties, we demonstrate that the revolving door is used as a ‘payment’ rather than a ‘connection’ device in the Chinese context.
The Economic Journal
Based on textual analysis and a comparison of cybersecurity risk disclosures of firms that were hacked to others that were not, we propose a novel firm-level measure of cybersecurity risk for all U.S.-listed firms. We then examine whether cybersecurity risk is priced in the cross-section of stock returns. Portfolios of firms with high exposure to cybersecurity risk outperform other firms, on average, by up to 8.3% per year. Yet, high-exposure firms perform poorly in periods of high cybersecurity risk. Reassuringly, the measure is higher in information-technology industries, correlates with characteristics linked to firms hit by cyberattacks, and predicts future cyberattacks.
The Review of Financial Studies