Stock Market Liberalization, Investment Banks, and Analyst Forecast Quality: Evidence From a Quasi-Natural Experiment in China
Posted: 16 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 6, 2019
Capitalizing on a quasi-natural experiment in China where certain investment banks become investible to the global market across different periods, we explore the role that stock market liberalization plays in shaping local analysts’ incentives to provide high quality forecasts. In a staggered difference-in-differences research design to improve identification, we find that analysts affiliated with liberalized banks (i.e., pilot analysts) significantly reduce the errors and bias in their earnings forecasts from the pre-liberalization period to the post-liberalization period, relative to non-pilot analysts whose employers remain under strict capital controls during the same timeframe. Consistent with expectations, this result is concentrated among local investment banks that are smaller, have higher existing institutional ownership, and have stronger tournament incentives. Additionally, we identify three mechanisms through which market liberalization affects the quality of analysts’ forecasts: pilot analysts (i) become more focused by reducing the size of their coverage portfolios; (ii) devote more effort to forecasting; and (iii) become subject to harsher career punishments for making deficient forecasts. Our analysis provides insight on the importance of financial globalization to the institutional environment of a country’s capital market.
Keywords: stock market liberalization, investment banks, analyst forecast quality
JEL Classification: F65; G24; G30
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