How does Online Employee Ratings Affect External Firm Financing? Evidence from Glassdoor
81 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2020 Last revised: 15 Sep 2020
Date Written: December 16, 2019
We analyze how employees’ online ratings of firms’ affect their corporate financing and investment policies. We hypothesize that, while employees are unlikely to have access to inside information, their ratings, being driven by their day-to-day interactions with their employers, are likely to be correlated with long-run firm value and performance. This means that employee ratings are likely to affect the external financing behavior of firms in a setting where potential equity investors have access to online employee ratings (and firm insiders are aware of such access). We develop and test hypotheses based on the above assumptions using a large sample of around 1.1 million employee ratings from the Glassdoor website covering a sample of 2842 public firms. We find that firms with higher average online employee rating realizations are associated with algebraically greater abnormal stock returns upon an equity issue announcement; a greater propensity to have positive abnormal stock returns upon such an announcement; a greater propensity to issue equity rather than debt to raise external financing; higher annual investment expenditures; greater participation by institutional investors in their equity offerings (SEOs); and better long-run post-SEO operating performance. We demonstrate causality by making use of a difference-in-differences (DID) methodology relying on the staggered implementation of laws protecting the First Amendment Rights of citizens (anti-SLAPP laws) across US states.
Keywords: Seasoned Equity Offerings (SEOs); Soft Information; Online Employee Ratings; Information Environment; Big Data
JEL Classification: G32; G23; G24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation