In-Group Bias in Financial Markets

44 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2016 Last revised: 14 Jul 2018

Sima Jannati

University of Missouri-Columbia

Alok Kumar

University of Miami - School of Business Administration

Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi

University of Mannheim - Department of Finance

Justin Wolfers

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; The University of Sydney - Discipline of Economics; Brookings Institution - Economic Studies Program; Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Date Written: June 29, 2018

Abstract

This paper investigates whether equity analysts are subject to in-group favoritism when forecasting earnings of firms. Specifically, we argue that equity analysts may have less favorable views about firms that are not headed by CEOs of their own "group.'' We define groups based on gender, ethnicity, and political attitudes. Examining analysts' earnings forecasts we find that, compared to female analysts, male analysts have lower assessments of firms headed by female CEOs than of firms headed by male CEOs. As a result, earnings surprises of firms headed by female CEOs are systematically upward biased. Results are very similar if we define in-groups based on ethnicity or political attitudes. Analysts' "buy'' and "sell'' recommendations are also biased towards their own in-group. Examining cumulative abnormal returns (CARs) surrounding earnings announcements, we do not find that the market undoes this bias.

Keywords: Ingroup Bias, Analyst Forecasts

JEL Classification: G02, G14, G24

Suggested Citation

Jannati, Sima and Kumar, Alok and Niessen-Ruenzi, Alexandra and Wolfers, Justin, In-Group Bias in Financial Markets (June 29, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2884218 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2884218

Sima Jannati (Contact Author)

University of Missouri-Columbia ( email )

401 Cornell Hall
COLUMBIA, MO 65211
United States

Alok Kumar

University of Miami - School of Business Administration ( email )

514 Jenkins Building
Department of Finance
Coral Gables, FL 33124-6552
United States
305-284-1882 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://moya.bus.miami.edu/~akumar

Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi

University of Mannheim - Department of Finance ( email )

Mannheim, 68131
Germany

Justin Wolfers

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States
734-764-2447 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

735 South State Street, Weill Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-615-6846 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

The University of Sydney - Discipline of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box H58
Australia Square
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Brookings Institution - Economic Studies Program ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=1737

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cepr.org/researchers/details/rschcontact.asp?IDENT=157943

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Kiel Institute for the World Economy ( email )

P.O. Box 4309
Kiel, D-24100
Germany

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