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Do Security Analysts Speak in Two Tongues?

Author

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  • Ulrike Malmendier
  • Devin Shanthikumar

Abstract

Why do security analysts issue overly positive recommendations? We propose a novel approach to distinguish strategic motives (e.g., generating small-investor purchases and pleasing management) from nonstrategic motives (genuine overoptimism). We argue that nonstrategic distorters tend to issue both positive recommendations and optimistic forecasts, while strategic distorters "speak in two tongues," issuing overly positive recommendations but less optimistic forecasts. We show that the incidence of strategic distortion is large and systematically related to proxies for incentive misalignment. Our "two-tongues metric" reveals strategic distortion beyond those indicators and provides a new tool for detecting incentives to distort that are hard to identify otherwise.

Suggested Citation

  • Ulrike Malmendier & Devin Shanthikumar, 2014. "Do Security Analysts Speak in Two Tongues?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(5), pages 1287-1322.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:27:y:2014:i:5:p:1287-1322.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhu009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lin, Hsiou-wei & McNichols, Maureen F., 1998. "Underwriting relationships, analysts' earnings forecasts and investment recommendations," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 101-127, February.
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    9. Lee, Charles M. C. & Radhakrishna, Balkrishna, 2000. "Inferring investor behavior: Evidence from TORQ data," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 83-111, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Malmendier, Ulrike M. & Shanthikumar, Devin, 2004. "Are Investors Naive about Incentives?," Research Papers 1867, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    2. Lily Fang & Ayako Yasuda, 2014. "Are Stars’ Opinions Worth More? The Relation Between Analyst Reputation and Recommendation Values," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 46(3), pages 235-269, December.
    3. Burak Güner, A. & Malmendier, Ulrike & Tate, Geoffrey, 2008. "Financial expertise of directors," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 323-354, May.
    4. Danling Jiang & Alok Kumar & Kelvin K. F. Law, 2016. "Political contributions and analyst behavior," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 37-88, March.
    5. Madarász, Kristóf, 2015. "Projection Equilibrium: Definition and Applications to Social Investment and Persuasion," CEPR Discussion Papers 10636, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Malmendier, Ulrike & Shanthikumar, Devin, 2007. "Are small investors naive about incentives?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 457-489, August.
    7. Marco Navone & Fernando Zapatero, 2014. "Why Do Financial Analysts Strive to Be Irrelevant? Career Concerns and Endogenous Coverage Termination," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1507, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    8. Tobias Gesche, 2016. "De-biasing strategic communication," ECON - Working Papers 216, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jul 2017.
    9. repec:eee:jebusi:v:95:y:2018:i:c:p:75-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Dror Parnes, 2010. "The information content of analysts reports and bankruptcy risk measures," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(19), pages 1499-1513.
    11. Bradley, Daniel & Chan, Konan & Kim, Joonghyuk & Singh, Ajai, 2008. "Are there long-run implications of analyst coverage for IPOs?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1120-1132, June.
    12. Erik Devos, 2014. "Are Analysts’ Recommendations for Other Investment Banks Biased?," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 43(2), pages 327-353, June.
    13. Zhuoqiong (Charlie) Chen & Tobias Gesche, 2016. "Persistent bias in advice-giving," ECON - Working Papers 228, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2017.
    14. repec:eee:jbfina:v:91:y:2018:i:c:p:1-18 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:spr:jbecon:v:87:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s11573-016-0832-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Elizabeth Devos & Erik Devos & Seow Eng Ong & Andrew C. Spieler, 2016. "Who Follows REITs?," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 38(1), pages 129-164.
    17. repec:eee:jfinec:v:124:y:2017:i:3:p:614-631 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Bosquet, K. & de Goeij, P. C. & Smedts, K., 2009. "Coexistence and Dynamics of Overconfidence and Strategic Incentives," Discussion Paper 2009-81, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    19. Huang, Haozhi & Li, Mingsheng & Shi, Jing, 2016. "Which matters: “Paying to play” or stable business relationship? Evidence on analyst recommendation and mutual fund commission fee payment," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 403-423.
    20. Balboa, Marina & Gomez-Sala, Juan Carlos & Lopez-Espinosa, German, 2008. "Does the value of recommendations depend on the level of optimism? A country-based analysis," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 405-426, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage

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