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Corporate Financial Policies With Overconfident Managers

58 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2005  

Ulrike Malmendier

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Geoffrey A. Tate

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jun Yan

Stanford University

Date Written: November 5, 2005

Abstract

We argue that individual characteristics of managers can explain capital structure decisions like debt conservatism and pecking-order financing choices. Moreover, they can explain cross-sectional variation in these decisions despite identical firm characteristics. We link the reluctance of (some) managers to access external capital markets, and in particular equity markets, to managerial overconfidence. Overconfident managers believe that their company is undervalued. They view external financing, and especially equity financing, as overpriced. We test the overconfidence hypothesis, using several measures of managerial overconfidence. We classify CEOs as overconfident if they persistently fail to reduce their personal exposure to company-specific risk. We also classify CEOs based on their characterization in the business press. We find that overconfident CEOs are significantly less likely than other CEOs to issue equity, conditional on tapping public securities markets. Likewise, they issue roughly 30 cents more debt to cover an additional dollar of external financing deficit than their peers. Finally, overconfident CEOs access all external capital markets (including debt markets) more conservatively.

Keywords: capital structure, behavioral corporate finance, overconfidence

JEL Classification: G32, G31

Suggested Citation

Malmendier, Ulrike and Tate, Geoffrey A. and Yan, Jun, Corporate Financial Policies With Overconfident Managers (November 5, 2005). AFA 2006 Boston Meetings Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=691121 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.691121

Ulrike Malmendier (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
(510) 642-8724 (Phone)
(510) 642-6615 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.berkeley.edu/~ulrike/

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=918

Geoffrey Tate

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School ( email )

McColl Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jun Yan

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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