IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jfinec/v101y2011i3p621-640.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Does the stock market fully value intangibles? Employee satisfaction and equity prices

Author

Listed:
  • Edmans, Alex

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relationship between employee satisfaction and long-run stock returns. A value-weighted portfolio of the "100 Best Companies to Work For in America" earned an annual four-factor alpha of 3.5% from 1984 to 2009, and 2.1% above industry benchmarks. The results are robust to controls for firm characteristics, different weighting methodologies, and the removal of outliers. The Best Companies also exhibited significantly more positive earnings surprises and announcement returns. These findings have three main implications. First, consistent with human capital-centered theories of the firm, employee satisfaction is positively correlated with shareholder returns and need not represent managerial slack. Second, the stock market does not fully value intangibles, even when independently verified by a highly public survey on large firms. Third, certain socially responsible investing (SRI) screens may improve investment returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Edmans, Alex, 2011. "Does the stock market fully value intangibles? Employee satisfaction and equity prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 621-640, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:621-640
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304405X11000869
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stein, Jeremy C, 1988. "Takeover Threats and Managerial Myopia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 61-80, February.
    2. Lakonishok, Josef & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1994. "Contrarian Investment, Extrapolation, and Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(5), pages 1541-1578, December.
    3. Harrison Hong & Terence Lim & Jeremy C. Stein, 2000. "Bad News Travels Slowly: Size, Analyst Coverage, and the Profitability of Momentum Strategies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 265-295, February.
    4. Paul A. Gompers & Andrew Metrick, 2001. "Institutional Investors and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 229-259.
    5. Ikenberry, David & Lakonishok, Josef & Vermaelen, Theo, 1995. "Market underreaction to open market share repurchases," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 181-208.
    6. Lakonishok, Josef & Vermaelen, Theo, 1990. "Anomalous Price Behavior around Repurchase Tender Offers," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 455-477, June.
    7. Henrik Cronqvist & Fredrik Heyman & Mattias Nilsson & Helena Svaleryd & Jonas Vlachos, 2009. "Do Entrenched Managers Pay Their Workers More?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(1), pages 309-339, February.
    8. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    9. Bernard, Vl & Thomas, Jk, 1989. "Post-Earnings-Announcement Drift - Delayed Price Response Or Risk Premium," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27, pages 1-36.
    10. Alex Edmans, 2009. "Blockholder Trading, Market Efficiency, and Managerial Myopia," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2481-2513, December.
    11. Paul Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 107-156.
    12. Greg Filbeck & Dianna Preece, 2003. ""Fortune's" Best 100 Companies to Work for in America: Do They Work for Shareholders?," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(5-6), pages 771-797.
    13. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2008. "Dissecting Anomalies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 1653-1678, August.
    14. Michael Schröder, 2007. "Is there a Difference? The Performance Characteristics of SRI Equity Indices," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1‐2), pages 331-348, January.
    15. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
    16. Jeffrey Wurgler & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2002. "Does Arbitrage Flatten Demand Curves for Stocks?," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(4), pages 583-608, October.
    17. Aboody, D & Lev, B, 1998. "The value relevance of intangibles: The case of software capitalization," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36, pages 161-191.
    18. Bruce Ian Carlin & Simon Gervais, 2009. "Work Ethic, Employment Contracts, and Firm Value," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(2), pages 785-821, April.
    19. Luigi Zingales, 2000. "In Search of New Foundations," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1623-1653, August.
    20. Nick Bloom & Tobias Kretschmer & John Van Reenen, 2011. "Are family-friendly workplace practices a valuable firm resource?," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 343-367, April.
    21. Thomas Gilbert & Shimon Kogan & Lars Lochstoer & Ataman Ozyildirim, 2012. "Investor Inattention and the Market Impact of Summary Statistics," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(2), pages 336-350, February.
    22. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Good News for Value Stocks: Further Evidence on Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 859-874, June.
    23. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. "On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    24. Renneboog, Luc & Ter Horst, Jenke & Zhang, Chendi, 2008. "The price of ethics and stakeholder governance: The performance of socially responsible mutual funds," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 302-322, June.
    25. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    26. Daniel, Kent, et al, 1997. "Measuring Mutual Fund Performance with Characteristic-Based Benchmarks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1035-1058, July.
    27. Scholes, Myron S, 1972. "The Market for Securities: Substitution versus Price Pressure and the Effects of Information on Share Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 179-211, April.
    28. Siew Hong Teoh & T. J. Wong, 2002. "Why New Issues and High-Accrual Firms Underperform: The Role of Analysts' Credulity," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(3), pages 869-900.
    29. Jonathan B. Berk & Richard Stanton & Josef Zechner, 2010. "Human Capital, Bankruptcy, and Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(3), pages 891-926, June.
    30. John E. Core & Wayne R. Guay & Tjomme O. Rusticus, 2006. "Does Weak Governance Cause Weak Stock Returns? An Examination of Firm Operating Performance and Investors' Expectations," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(2), pages 655-687, April.
    31. Loughran, Tim & Vijh, Anand M, 1997. "Do Long-Term Shareholders Benefit from Corporate Acquisitions?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(5), pages 1765-1790, December.
    32. Freeman, Richard B. & Shaw, Kathryn L. (ed.), 2009. "International Differences in the Business Practices and Productivity of Firms," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226261942, October.
    33. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 387-432.
    34. Ronald W. Masulis & Cong Wang & Fei Xie, 2007. "Corporate Governance and Acquirer Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1851-1889, August.
    35. Bergman, Nittai K. & Jenter, Dirk, 2007. "Employee sentiment and stock option compensation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 667-712, June.
    36. Merton, Robert C, 1987. "A Simple Model of Capital Market Equilibrium with Incomplete Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(3), pages 483-510, July.
    37. Cullen F. Goenner, 2008. "Investing in Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work for in America," Journal of Economic Insight, Missouri Valley Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 1-19.
    38. Nick Bloom & Tobias Kretschmer & John Van Reenan, 2009. "Work-Life Balance, Management Practices and Productivity," NBER Chapters, in: International Differences in the Business Practices and Productivity of Firms, pages 15-54, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. Dirk Jenter & Katharina Lewellen & Jerold B. Warner, 2011. "Security Issue Timing: What Do Managers Know, and When Do They Know It?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(2), pages 413-443, April.
    40. Abowd, John M, 1989. "The Effect of Wage Bargains on the Stock Market Value of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 774-800, September.
    41. Terence Lim, 2001. "Rationality and Analysts' Forecast Bias," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 369-385, February.
    42. Shlomo Benartzi, 2001. "Excessive Extrapolation and the Allocation of 401(k) Accounts to Company Stock," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1747-1764, October.
    43. Loughran, Tim & Ritter, Jay R, 1995. "The New Issues Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 23-51, March.
    44. Stephen Brammer & Chris Brooks & Stephen Pavelin, 2006. "Corporate Social Performance and Stock Returns: UK Evidence from Disaggregate Measures," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 35(3), pages 97-116, September.
    45. Daniel, Kent & Titman, Sheridan, 1997. "Evidence on the Characteristics of Cross Sectional Variation in Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 1-33, March.
    46. Xavier Giroud & Holger M. Mueller, 2011. "Corporate Governance, Product Market Competition, and Equity Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(2), pages 563-600, April.
    47. M. Pagano & P. F. Volpin, 2005. "Managers, Workers, and Corporate Control," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 841-868, April.
    48. Louis K. C. Chan & Josef Lakonishok & Theodore Sougiannis, 2001. "The Stock Market Valuation of Research and Development Expenditures," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2431-2456, December.
    49. Bauer, Rob & Koedijk, Kees & Otten, Roger, 2005. "International evidence on ethical mutual fund performance and investment style," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1751-1767, July.
    50. Spiess, D. Katherine & Affleck-Graves, John, 1995. "Underperformance in long-run stock returns following seasoned equity offerings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 243-267, July.
    51. repec:hrv:faseco:30725119 is not listed on IDEAS
    52. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    53. Michael Schröder, 2007. "Is there a Difference? The Performance Characteristics of SRI Equity Indices," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1‐2), pages 331-348, January.
    54. Michaely, Roni & Thaler, Richard H & Womack, Kent L, 1995. "Price Reactions to Dividend Initiations and Omissions: Overreaction or Drift?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(2), pages 573-608, June.
    55. Gary Gorton & Frank A. Schmid, 2004. "Capital, Labor, and The Firm: A Study of German Codetermination," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 863-905, September.
    56. Taylor, Frederick Winslow, 1911. "The Principles of Scientific Management," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number taylor1911.
    57. Greg Filbeck & Dianna Preece, 2003. "Fortune’s Best 100 Companies to Work for in America: Do They Work for Shareholders?," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(5‐6), pages 771-797, June.
    58. Lev, Baruch & Sougiannis, Theodore, 1996. "The capitalization, amortization, and value-relevance of R&D," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 107-138, February.
    59. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-636, May-June.
    60. Ritter, Jay R, 1991. "The Long-run Performance of Initial Public Offerings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 3-27, March.
    61. Hong, Harrison & Kacperczyk, Marcin, 2009. "The price of sin: The effects of social norms on markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 15-36, July.
    62. Shumway, Tyler, 1997. "The Delisting Bias in CRSP Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 327-340, March.
    63. Shleifer, Andrei, 1986. "Do Demand Curves for Stocks Slope Down?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(3), pages 579-590, July.
    64. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    65. Agrawal, Anup & Jaffe, Jeffrey F & Mandelker, Gershon N, 1992. "The Post-merger Performance of Acquiring Firms: A Re-examination of an Anomaly," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1605-1621, September.
    66. Brennan, Michael J. & Chordia, Tarun & Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar, 1998. "Alternative factor specifications, security characteristics, and the cross-section of expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 345-373, September.
    67. repec:hrv:faseco:30721347 is not listed on IDEAS
    68. Jonathan Reuter & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Do Ads Influence Editors? Advertising and Bias in the Financial Media," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 197-227.
    69. Conrad, Jennifer & Kaul, Gautam, 1993. "Long-Term Market Overreaction or Biases in Computed Returns?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 39-63, March.
    70. Loughran, Tim, 1993. "NYSE vs NASDAQ returns : Market microstructure or the poor performance of initial public offerings?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 241-260, April.
    71. LeRoy, Stephen F & Porter, Richard D, 1981. "The Present-Value Relation: Tests Based on Implied Variance Bounds," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 555-574, May.
    72. John C. Easterwood & Stacey R. Nutt, 1999. "Inefficiency in Analysts' Earnings Forecasts: Systematic Misreaction or Systematic Optimism?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(5), pages 1777-1797, October.
    73. Yermack, David, 2006. "Flights of fancy: Corporate jets, CEO perquisites, and inferior shareholder returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 211-242, April.
    74. Daniel H. Simon & Jed DeVaro, 2006. "Do the best companies to work for provide better customer satisfaction?," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(8), pages 667-683.
    75. Gur Huberman & Tomer Regev, 2001. "Contagious Speculation and a Cure for Cancer: A Nonevent that Made Stock Prices Soar," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 387-396, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Alex Edmans & Lucius Li & Chendi Zhang, 2014. "Employee Satisfaction, Labor Market Flexibility, and Stock Returns Around The World," NBER Working Papers 20300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Daniel, Kent & Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2002. "Investor psychology in capital markets: evidence and policy implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 139-209, January.
    3. David Hirshleifer & Po-Hsuan Hsu & Dongmei Li, 2018. "Innovative Originality, Profitability, and Stock Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 31(7), pages 2553-2605.
    4. David Hirshleifer, 2001. "Investor Psychology and Asset Pricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(4), pages 1533-1597, August.
    5. Lee, Charles M.C. & Sun, Stephen Teng & Wang, Rongfei & Zhang, Ran, 2019. "Technological links and predictable returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(3), pages 76-96.
    6. Amit Goyal, 2012. "Empirical cross-sectional asset pricing: a survey," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 26(1), pages 3-38, March.
    7. David Hirshleife, 2015. "Behavioral Finance," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 133-159, December.
    8. Huang, Yuan & Lam, F.Y. Eric C. & Wei, K.C. John, 2014. "The q-theory explanation for the external financing effect: New evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 69-81.
    9. Rizzo, Emanuele, 2018. "Essays on corporate governance and the impact of regulation on financial markets," Other publications TiSEM b5158260-ea13-4763-b992-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    10. Richardson, Scott & Tuna, Irem & Wysocki, Peter, 2010. "Accounting anomalies and fundamental analysis: A review of recent research advances," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 410-454, December.
    11. Bebchuk, Lucian A. & Cohen, Alma & Wang, Charles C.Y., 2013. "Learning and the disappearing association between governance and returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 323-348.
    12. Malcolm Baker & Richard S. Ruback & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2004. "Behavioral Corporate Finance: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Kent Daniel & David Hirshleifer & Lin Sun, 2020. "Short- and Long-Horizon Behavioral Factors [Financial intermediaries and the cross-section of asset returns]," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 33(4), pages 1673-1736.
    14. Jiang, Hao, 2010. "Institutional investors, intangible information, and the book-to-market effect," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 98-126, April.
    15. Deng, Xin & Kang, Jun-koo & Low, Buen Sin, 2013. "Corporate social responsibility and stakeholder value maximization: Evidence from mergers," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 87-109.
    16. Brav, Alon & Geczy, Christopher & Gompers, Paul A., 2000. "Is the abnormal return following equity issuances anomalous?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 209-249, May.
    17. Lipson, Marc L. & Mortal, Sandra & Schill, Michael J., 2011. "On the Scope and Drivers of the Asset Growth Effect," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(6), pages 1651-1682, December.
    18. Jiang, George J. & Zhu, Kevin X., 2017. "Information Shocks and Short-Term Market Underreaction," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 43-64.
    19. Kewei Hou & Chen Xue & Lu Zhang, 2017. "Replicating Anomalies," NBER Working Papers 23394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Chen, Sheng-Syan & Wang, Yanzhi, 2012. "Financial constraints and share repurchases," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 311-331.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:621-640. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505576 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505576 .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.