Forthcoming Articles

The Impact of Automatic Enrollment on Debt

Published: 7/19/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13069

John Beshears, James J. Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian, William L. Skimmyhorn

Does automatic enrollment into a retirement plan increase financial distress due to increased borrowing outside the plan? We study a natural experiment created when the U.S. Army began automatically enrolling newly hired civilian employees into the Thrift Savings Plan. Four years after hire, automatic enrollment increases cumulative contributions to the plan by 4.1% of annual salary, but we find little evidence of increased financial distress. Automatic enrollment causes no significant change in credit scores, debt balances excluding auto debt and first mortgages, or adverse credit outcomes, with the possible exception of increased first‐mortgage balances in foreclosure.


Volatility, Valuation Ratios, and Bubbles: An Empirical Measure of Market Sentiment

Published: 7/13/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13068

CAN GAO, IAN W. R. MARTIN

We define a sentiment indicator based on option prices, valuation ratios, and interest rates. The indicator can be interpreted as a lower bound on the expected growth in fundamentals that a rational investor would have to perceive to be happy to hold the market. The bound was unusually high in the late 1990s, reflecting dividend growth expectations that in our view were unreasonably optimistic. Our approach exploits two key ingredients. First, we derive a new valuation ratio decomposition that is related to the Campbell and Shiller (1988) loglinearization, but that resembles the Gordon growth model more closely and has certain other advantages. Second, we introduce a volatility index that provides a lower bound on the market's expected log return.


Real Estate Shocks and Financial Advisor Misconduct

Published: 7/13/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13067

STEPHEN G. DIMMOCK, WILLIAM C. GERKEN, TYSON D. VAN ALFEN

We test whether personal real estate shocks affect professional misconduct by financial advisors. We use a panel of advisors' home addresses and examine within‐advisor variation relative to other advisors who work at the same firm and live in the same ZIP code. We find a negative relation between housing returns and misconduct. We show that advisors' housing returns explain misconduct against out‐of‐state customers, breaking the link between customer and advisor housing shocks. Further, the results are stronger for advisors with lower career risk from committing misconduct, and for advisors with greater borrowing constraints.


Information Asymmetry, Mispricing, and Security Issuance

Published: 7/12/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13066

JIYOON LEE

I examine the effects of information asymmetry‐driven mispricing on security issuance. Using pre‐disclosure changes in purchase obligations as a proxy for information asymmetry‐driven mispricing, I find that managers avoid (prefer) issuing securities when they perceive their firms to be undervalued (overvalued). The effects of information asymmetry‐driven mispricing are stronger on equity issuance than debt issuance. Consequently, undervaluation (overvaluation) causes an increase (decrease) in leverage. These effects are more pronounced for firms, periods, and securities associated with greater information asymmetry. The stock‐trading patterns that managers follow suggest that their perceived mispricing is an important factor in both private and firm‐level decisions.


Prospect Theory and Stock Market Anomalies

Published: 6/18/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13061

NICHOLAS BARBERIS, LAWRENCE J. JIN, BAOLIAN WANG

We present a new model of asset prices in which investors evaluate risk according to prospect theory and examine its ability to explain 23 prominent stock market anomalies. The model incorporates all of the elements of prospect theory, accounts for investors' prior gains and losses, and makes quantitative predictions about an asset's average return based on empirical estimates of the asset's return volatility, return skewness, and past capital gain. We find that the model can help explain a majority of the 23 anomalies.


Presidential Address: How Much “Rationality” is There In Bond‐Market Risk Premiums?

Published: 6/9/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13062

KENNETH J. SINGLETON

Beliefs of professional forecasters are benchmarked against those of a Bayesian econometrician BE who is learning about the unknown dynamics of the bond risk factors. Consistent with rational Bayesian learning, the forecast errors of individual professionals and BE are comparably predictable over the business cycle. The secular and cyclical patterns of professionals' forecasts relative to those of BE are explored in depth. Inconsistent with many models with belief dispersion, the relationship between professionals' yield disagreement and their matched disagreements about macroeconomic fundamentals is very weak.


Structuring Mortgages for Macroeconomic Stability

Published: 6/3/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13056

JOHN Y. CAMPBELL, NUNO CLARA, JOÃO F. COCCO

We study mortgage design features aimed at stabilizing the macroeconomy. We model overlapping generations of borrowers and an infinitely lived risk‐averse representative lender. Mortgages are priced using an equilibrium pricing kernel derived from the lender's endogenous consumption. We consider an adjustable‐rate mortgage with an option that during recessions allows borrowers to pay only interest on their loan and extend its maturity. The option stabilizes consumption growth over the business cycle, shifts defaults to expansions, and enhances welfare. The cyclical properties of the contract are attractive to a risk‐averse lender so that the mortgage can be provided at a relatively low cost.


Out‐of‐Town Home Buyers and City Welfare

Published: 6/3/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13057

JACK FAVILUKIS, STIJN VAN NIEUWERBURGH

Many cities have attracted a flurry of out‐of‐town (OOT) home buyers. Such capital inflows affect house prices, rents, construction, labor income, wealth, and ultimately welfare. We develop an equilibrium model to quantify the welfare effects of OOT home buyers for the typical U.S. metropolitan area. When OOT investors buy 10% of the housing in the city center and 5% in the suburbs, welfare among residents falls by 0.61% in consumption‐equivalent units. House prices and rents rise substantially, resulting in welfare gains for owners and losses for renters. Policies that tax OOT buyers or mandate renting out vacant property mitigate welfare losses.


Property Rights to Client Relationships and Financial Advisor Incentives

Published: 6/3/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13058

CHRISTOPHER P. CLIFFORD, WILLIAM C. GERKEN

We study the effect of a change in property rights on employee behavior in the financial advice industry. Our identification comes from staggered firm‐level entry into the Protocol for Broker Recruiting, which waived nonsolicitation clauses for advisor transitions among member firms, effectively transferring ownership of client relationships from the firm to the advisor. After the shock, advisors appear to tend to client relationships more by investing in client‐facing industry licenses, shifting to fee‐based advising, and reducing customer complaints. Our findings support property rights based investment theories of the firm and document offsetting costs to restricting labor mobility.


Can the Market Multiply and Divide? Non‐Proportional Thinking in Financial Markets

Published: 5/28/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13059

KELLY SHUE, RICHARD R. TOWNSEND

We hypothesize that investors partially think about stock price changes in dollar rather than percentage units, leading to more extreme return responses to news for lower‐priced stocks. Consistent with such non‐proportional thinking, we find a doubling in price is associated with a 20% to 30% decline in volatility and beta (controlling for size/liquidity). To identify a causal price effect, we show that volatility jumps following stock splits and drops following reverse splits. Lower‐priced stocks also respond more strongly to firm‐specific news. Non‐proportional thinking helps explain asset pricing patterns such as the size‐volatility/beta relation, the leverage effect puzzle, and return drift and reversals.


The Limits of p ‐Hacking: Some Thought Experiments

Published: 5/17/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13036

ANDREW Y. CHEN

Suppose that the 300+ published asset pricing factors are all spurious. How much p‐hacking is required to produce these factors? If 10,000 researchers generate eight factors every day, it takes hundreds of years. This is because dozens of published t‐statistics exceed 6.0, while the corresponding p‐value is infinitesimal, implying an astronomical amount of p‐hacking in a general model. More structure implies that p‐hacking cannot address ≈100 published t‐statistics that exceed 4.0, as they require an implausibly nonlinear preference for t‐statistics or even more p‐hacking. These results imply that mispricing, risk, and/or frictions have a key role in stock returns.


Reinvestment Risk and the Equity Term Structure

Published: 5/14/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13035

ANDREI S. GONÇALVES

The equity term structure is downward sloping at long maturities. I estimate an Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model (ICAPM) to show that the trade‐off between market and reinvestment risk explains this pattern. Intuitively, while long‐term dividend claims are highly exposed to market risk, they are good hedges for reinvestment risk because dividend prices rise as expected returns decline, and longer‐term claims are more sensitive to discount rates. In the estimated ICAPM, reinvestment risk dominates at long maturities, inducing relatively low risk premia on long‐term dividend claims. The model is also consistent with the equity term structure cyclicality and the upward‐sloping bond term structure.


Tracking Retail Investor Activity

Published: 5/14/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13033

EKKEHART BOEHMER, CHARLES M. JONES, XIAOYAN ZHANG, XINRAN ZHANG

We provide an easy method to identify marketable retail purchases and sales using recent, publicly available U.S. equity transactions data. Individual stocks with net buying by retail investors outperform stocks with negative imbalances by approximately 10 bps over the following week. Less than half of the predictive power of marketable retail order imbalance is attributable to order flow persistence, while the rest cannot be explained by contrarian trading (proxy for liquidity provision) or public news sentiment. There is suggestive, but only suggestive, evidence that retail marketable orders might contain firm‐level information that is not yet incorporated into prices.


Do Physiological and Spiritual Factors Affect Economic Decisions?

Published: 5/14/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13032

CEM DEMIROGLU, OGUZHAN OZBAS, RUI C. SILVA, MEHMET FATİH ULU

We examine the effects of physiology and spiritual sentiment on economic decision‐making in the context of Ramadan, an entire lunar month of daily fasting and increased spiritual reflection in the Muslim faith. Using an administrative data set of bank loans originated in Turkey during 2003 to 2013, we find that small business loans originated during Ramadan are 15% more likely to default within two years of origination. Loans originated in hot Ramadans, when adverse physiological effects of fasting are greatest, and those approved by the busiest bank branches perform worse. Despite their worse performance, Ramadan loans have lower credit spreads.


Inventory Management, Dealers' Connections, and Prices in Over‐the‐Counter Markets

Published: 5/14/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13034

JEAN‐EDOUARD COLLIARD, THIERRY FOUCAULT, PETER HOFFMANN

We propose a new model of trading in over‐the‐counter markets. Dealers accumulate inventories by trading with end‐investors and trade among each other to reduce their inventory holding costs. Core dealers use a more efficient trading technology than peripheral dealers, who are heterogeneously connected to core dealers and trade with each other bilaterally. Connectedness affects prices and allocations if and only if the peripheral dealers' aggregate inventory position differs from zero. Price dispersion increases in the size of this position. The model generates new predictions about the effects of dealers' connectedness and dealers' aggregate inventories on prices.


Weathering Cash Flow Shocks

Published: 5/10/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13024

JAMES R. BROWN, MATTHEW T. GUSTAFSON, IVAN T. IVANOV

Unexpectedly severe winter weather, which is arguably exogenous to firm and bank fundamentals, represents a significant cash flow shock for bank‐borrowing firms. Firms respond to these shocks by drawing on and increasing the size of their credit lines. Banks charge borrowers for this liquidity via increased interest rates and less borrower‐friendly loan provisions. Credit line adjustments occur within one calendar quarter of the shock and persist for at least nine months. Overall, we provide evidence that bank credit lines are an important tool for managing the nonfundamental component of cash flow volatility, especially for solvent, small bank borrowers.


The Misallocation of Finance

Published: 5/8/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13031

TONI M. WHITED, JAKE ZHAO

We estimate real losses arising from the cross‐sectional misallocation of financial liabilities. Extending a production‐based framework of misallocation measurement to the liabilities side of the balance sheet and using manufacturing firm data from the United States and China, we find significant misallocation of debt and equity in China but not the United States. Reallocating liabilities of firms in China to mimic U.S. efficiency would produce gains of 51% to 69% in real value‐added, with only 17% to 21% stemming from inefficient debt‐equity combinations. For Chinese firms that are large or in developed cities, we estimate lower distortionary financing costs.


How Debit Cards Enable the Poor to Save More

Published: 5/7/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13021

PIERRE BACHAS, PAUL GERTLER, SEAN HIGGINS, ENRIQUE SEIRA

We study an at‐scale natural experiment in which debit cards were given to cash transfer recipients who already had a bank account. Using administrative account data and household surveys, we find that beneficiaries accumulated a savings stock equal to 2% of annual income after two years with the card. The increase in formal savings represents an increase in overall savings, financed by a reduction in current consumption. There are two mechanisms. First, debit cards reduce transaction costs of accessing money. Second, they reduce monitoring costs, which led beneficiaries to check their account balances frequently and build trust in the bank.


Asset Managers: Institutional Performance and Factor Exposures

Published: 5/7/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13026

JOSEPH GERAKOS, JUHANI T. LINNAINMAA, ADAIR MORSE

Using data on $18 trillion of assets under management, we show that actively managed institutional accounts outperformed strategy benchmarks by 75 (31) bps on a gross (net) basis during the period 2000 to 2012. Estimates from a Sharpe model imply that asset managers' outperformance came from factor exposures. If institutions had instead implemented mean‐variance efficient portfolios using index and institutional mutual funds available during the sample period, they would not have earned higher Sharpe ratios. Our results are consistent with the average asset manager having skill, managers competing for institutional capital, and institutions engaging in costly search to identify skilled managers.


What Explains Differences in Finance Research Productivity during the Pandemic?

Published: 5/3/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13028

BRAD M. BARBER, WEI JIANG, ADAIR MORSE, MANJU PURI, HEATHER TOOKES, INGRID M. WERNER

Based on a survey of American Finance Association members, we analyze how demographics, time allocation, production mechanisms, and institutional factors affect research production during the pandemic. Consistent with the literature, research productivity falls more for women and faculty with young children. Independently, and novel, extra time spent on teaching (much more likely for women) negatively affects research productivity. Also novel, concerns about feedback, isolation, and health have large negative research effects, which disproportionately affect junior faculty and PhD students. Finally, faculty who express greater concerns about employers’ finances report larger negative research effects and more concerns about feedback, isolation, and health.


Don't Take Their Word for It: The Misclassification of Bond Mutual Funds

Published: 4/29/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13023

HUAIZHI CHEN, LAUREN COHEN, UMIT G. GURUN

We provide evidence that bond fund managers misclassify their holdings, and that these misclassifications have a real and significant impact on investor capital flows. The problem is widespread, resulting in up to 31.4% of funds being misclassified with safer profiles, compared to their true, publicly reported holdings. “Misclassified funds”—those that hold risky bonds but claim to hold safer bonds—appear to on‐average outperform lower risk funds in their peer groups. Within category groups, misclassified funds receive more Morningstar stars and higher investor flows. However, when we correctly classify them based on actual risk, these funds are mediocre performers.


Sentiment Trading and Hedge Fund Returns

Published: 4/29/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13025

YONG CHEN, BING HAN, JING PAN

In the presence of sentiment fluctuations, arbitrageurs may engage in different strategies leading to dispersed sentiment exposures. We find that hedge funds in the top decile ranked by sentiment beta outperform those in the bottom decile by 0.59% per month on a risk‐adjusted basis, with the spread being larger among skilled funds. We also find that about 10% of hedge funds have sentiment timing skill that positively correlates with fund sentiment beta and contributes to fund performance. Our findings show that skilled hedge funds can earn high returns by predicting and exploiting sentiment changes rather than betting against mispricing.


A Theory of Zombie Lending

Published: 4/26/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13022

YUNZHI HU, FELIPE VARAS

An entrepreneur borrows from a relationship bank or the market. The bank has a higher cost of capital but produces private information over time. While the entrepreneur accumulates reputation as the lending relationship continues, asymmetric information is also developed between the bank/entrepreneur and the market. In this setting, zombie lending is inevitable: Once the entrepreneur becomes sufficiently reputable, the bank will roll over loans even after learning bad news, for the prospect of future market financing. Zombie lending is mitigated when the entrepreneur faces financial constraints. Finally, the bank stops producing information too early if information production is costly.


Time Variation of the Equity Term Structure

Published: 4/22/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13020

NIELS JOACHIM GORMSEN

I study the term structure of one‐period expected returns on dividend claims with different maturity. I find that the slope of the term structure is countercyclical. The countercyclical variation is consistent with theories of long‐run risk and habit, but these theories cannot explain the average downward slope. At the same time, the cyclical variation is inconsistent with recent models constructed to match the average downward slope. More generally, the average and cyclicality of the slope are hard to reconcile with models with a single risk factor. I introduce a model with two priced factors to solve the puzzle.


Rent Extraction with Securities Plus Cash

Published: 4/6/2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13018

TINGJUN LIU, DAN BERNHARDT

In our target‐initiated theory of takeovers, a target approaches potential acquirers that privately know their standalone values and merger synergies, where higher synergy acquirers tend to have larger standalone values. Despite their information disadvantage, targets can extract all surplus when synergies and standalone values are concavely related by offering payment choices that are combinations of cash and equity. Targets exploit the reluctance of high‐valuation acquirers to cede equity claims, inducing them to bid more cash. When synergies and standalone values are not concavely related, sellers can gain by combining cash with securities that are more information sensitive than equities.


Are CEOs Different?

Published: 4//2021  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.13019

STEVEN N. KAPLAN, MORTEN SORENSEN

Using 2,603 executive assessments, we study how CEO candidates differ from candidates for other top management positions, particularly CFOs. More than half of the variation in the 30 assessed characteristics is explained by four factors that we interpret as general ability, execution (vs. interpersonal), charisma (vs. analytical), and strategic (vs. managerial). CEO candidates have more extreme factor scores that differ significantly from those of CFO candidates. Conditional on being considered, candidates with greater general ability and interpersonal skills are more likely to be hired. These and our previous results on CEO success suggest that boards overweight interpersonal skills in hiring CEOs.