Executive Networks and Firm Policies: Evidence from the Random Assignment of MBA Peers

62 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2011 Last revised: 30 Jan 2013

See all articles by Kelly Shue

Kelly Shue

Yale School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 12, 2013


Using the historical random assignment of MBA students to sections at Harvard Business School, I explore how executive peer networks can affect managerial decision-making and firm policies. Within an HBS class, firm outcomes are significantly more similar among graduates from the same section than among graduates from different sections, with the strongest effects in executive compensation and acquisitions strategy. Both compensation and acquisitions propensities have elasticities of 10-20% with respect to the mean characteristics of section peers. I demonstrate the important role of ongoing social interactions by showing that peer effects are more than twice as strong in the year immediately following staggered alumni reunions. A variety of other tests suggest that peer influence can operate through direct reactions to peer outcomes in ways that do not necessarily contribute to firm productivity.

Keywords: Networks, Peer Effects, Executive Compensation, M&A

JEL Classification: D71, M12, G34

Suggested Citation

Shue, Kelly, Executive Networks and Firm Policies: Evidence from the Random Assignment of MBA Peers (January 12, 2013). Chicago Booth Research Paper No. 11-46, Fama-Miller Working Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1973031 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1973031

Kelly Shue (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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