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Hiring Cheerleaders: Board Appointments of "Independent" Directors

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  • Lauren Cohen
  • Andrea Frazzini
  • Christopher Malloy

Abstract

We provide evidence that firms appoint independent directors who are overly sympathetic to management, while still technically independent according to regulatory definitions. We explore a subset of independent directors for whom we have detailed, micro-level data on their views regarding the firm prior to being appointed to the board: sell-side analysts who are subsequently appointed to the board of companies they previously covered. We find that boards appoint overly optimistic analysts who are also poor relative performers. The magnitude of the optimistic bias is large: 82.0% of appointed recommendations are strong-buy/buy recommendations, compared to 56.9% for all other analyst recommendations. We find that appointed analysts’ optimism is stronger at precisely those times when firms’ benefits are larger, and that appointing firms increase earnings management, and perform poorly, following these board appointments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14232.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Publication status: published as Lauren Cohen & Andrea Frazzini & Christopher J. Malloy, 2012. "Hiring Cheerleaders: Board Appointments of "Independent" Directors," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(6), pages 1039-1058, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14232

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Cited by:
  1. Roberto E. Wessels & Tom J. Wansbeek, 2014. "What is the Relation (if any) Between a Firm's Corporate Governance Arrangements and its Financial Performance?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4599, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Pablo Ruiz-Verdú & Ravi Singh, 2014. "Board Independence, CEO Pay, and Camouflaged Compensation," Business Economics Working Papers wb140704, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
  3. Renee B. Adams & Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 2010. "The Role of Boards of Directors in Corporate Governance: A Conceptual Framework and Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 58-107, March.
  4. Markus Glaser & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Zacharias Sautner, 2013. "Opening the Black Box: Internal Capital Markets and Managerial Power," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(4), pages 1577-1631, 08.
  5. Xia, Han, 2014. "Can investor-paid credit rating agencies improve the information quality of issuer-paid rating agencies?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 450-468.

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