Do Short-term Incentives Hurt Innovation?
42 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2020
Date Written: July 30, 2020
We study how incentives to boost short-term performance affect longer-term innovation output. Share repurchases that are motivated by an incentive to meet current-quarter EPS targets are associated with an increase in the quality of innovation outputs such as forward citation counts and the economic value of patents. These results appear to be driven by a shift in firms’ innovation strategy. Firms are more likely to explore newer technologies and to increase the scope of innovative activities following EPS-driven repurchases. Our evidence points out to a bright side of short-termist pressures, which can nudge firms towards more creative and impactful innovation.
Keywords: Innovation, short-termism, EPS management, patents
JEL Classification: G31, O31, G35, M20, M41
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