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Managerial Miscalibration

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  • Itzhak Ben-David
  • John R. Graham

Abstract

Using a unique 10-year panel that includes more than 13,300 expected stock market return probability distributions, we find that executives are severely miscalibrated, producing distributions that are too narrow: realized market returns are within the executives' 80% confidence intervals only 36% of the time. We show that executives reduce the lower bound of the forecast confidence interval during times of high market uncertainty; however, ex post miscalibration is worst during periods of high uncertainty. We also find that executives who are miscalibrated about the stock market show similar miscalibration regarding their own firms' prospects. Finally, firms with miscalibrated executives seem to follow more aggressive corporate policies: investing more and using more debt financing. JEL Codes: G31, G32, G34, D03, D22, D84. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Itzhak Ben-David & John R. Graham, 2013. "Managerial Miscalibration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(4), pages 1547-1584.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2013:i:4:p:1547-1584
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/qjt023
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gervais, Simon & Odean, Terrance, 2001. "Learning to be Overconfident," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 1-27.
    2. Gilles Hilary & Lior Menzly, 2006. "Does Past Success Lead Analysts to Become Overconfident?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(4), pages 489-500, April.
    3. Simon Gervais & Itay Goldstein, 2007. "The Positive Effects of Biased Self-Perceptions in Firms," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 11(3), pages 453-496.
    4. Marianne Bertrand & Antoinette Schoar, 2003. "Managing with Style: The Effect of Managers on Firm Policies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1169-1208.
    5. Anand M. Goel & Anjan V. Thakor, 2008. "Overconfidence, CEO Selection, and Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(6), pages 2737-2784, December.
    6. Kent Daniel & David Hirshleifer & Avanidhar Subrahmanyam, 1998. "Investor Psychology and Security Market Under- and Overreactions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 1839-1885, December.
    7. Hackbarth, Dirk, 2008. "Managerial Traits and Capital Structure Decisions," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(04), pages 843-881, December.
    8. Eric Van den Steen, 2004. "Rational Overoptimism (and Other Biases)," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1141-1151, September.
    9. Puri, Manju & Robinson, David T., 2007. "Optimism and economic choice," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 71-99, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G35 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Payout Policy

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