Uncovering the Hidden Effort Problem
52 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2021 Last revised: 18 Sep 2022
Date Written: February 2021
We use machine learning to analyze minute-by-minute Bloomberg online status data and study how the effort provision of top executives in public corporations affects firm value. While executives likely spend most of their time doing other activities, Bloomberg usage data allows us to characterize their work habits. We document a positive effect of effort on unexpected earnings, cumulative abnormal returns following firm earnings announcements, and credit default swap spreads. We form long-short, calendar-time, effort portfolios and show that they earn significant average daily returns. Finally, we revisit several agency issues that have received attention in the prior academic literature on executive compensation.
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