Cultural Proximity and the Processing of Financial Information
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
China Europe International Business School
Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Finance; China Academy of Financial Research (CAFR)
April 10, 2014
This paper examines to what extent culture affects information asymmetry in the financial markets. To concentrate on cultural proximity rather than geographic proximity, we extract a sample of firms publicly traded in the U.S. but headquartered in regions sharing Chinese culture (“Chinese firms”), and manually identify a group of U.S. analysts of Chinese ethnic origin (“Chinese analysts”). We find that Chinese analysts issue more accurate forecasts about earnings of Chinese firms than non-Chinese analysts. The rise in forecast precision is more pronounced among first-generation Chinese immigrants. Further evidence suggests that culture proximity can go beyond language commonality and analysts’ pre-existing channels for information, and that the effect of culture cannot easily be transmitted. Market reaction is stronger when Chinese analysts issue favorable forecast revisions or upgrades about Chinese firms. Our results indicate that cultural proximity mitigates information asymmetry that adversely affects foreign firms, especially those from emerging markets, and shed light on culture as an important component of human capital.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 58
Keywords: Culture, Information Asymmetry, Demographic Economics, Financial Analysts
JEL Classification: G14, G24, F65
Date posted: February 28, 2013 ; Last revised: May 14, 2014
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