IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Information Content of Short Interest: A Natural Experiment


  • Tom Arnold

    (E. Claiborne Robins School of Business, University of Richmond)

  • Alexander W. Butler

    (University of Texas at Dallas)

  • Timothy Falcon Crack

    (University of Otago)

  • Yan Zhang

    (State University of New York, Binghamton)


An increase in the cost of selling short should increase the bearish information content of short interest announcements by driving relatively uninformed short sellers out of the market. We extend the Diamond and Verrecchia (1987) model to include short selling against the box and test the extended model using a natural experiment based around the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (TRA97). TRA97 made short selling more costly for those shorting against the box. Consistent with the implications of our extended model, this increase in short-selling costs strengthens the negative relationship between short interest and subsequent stock price performance post TRA97.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Arnold & Alexander W. Butler & Timothy Falcon Crack & Yan Zhang, 2005. "The Information Content of Short Interest: A Natural Experiment," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1307-1336, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jnlbus:v:78:y:2005:i:4:p:1307-1336

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Blau & Matthew Hill & Hao Wang, 2011. "REIT Short Sales and Return Predictability," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 481-503, May.
    2. Blau, Benjamin M. & Wade, Chip, 2012. "Informed or speculative: Short selling analyst recommendations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 14-25.
    3. Duan, Ying & Hu, Gang & McLean, R. David, 2010. "Costly arbitrage and idiosyncratic risk: Evidence from short sellers," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 564-579, October.
    4. Choi, Darwin & Getmansky, Mila & Tookes, Heather, 2009. "Convertible bond arbitrage, liquidity externalities, and stock prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 227-251, February.
    5. Blau, Benjamin M. & Fuller, Kathleen P. & Van Ness, Robert A., 2011. "Short selling around dividend announcements and ex-dividend days," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 628-639, June.
    6. Blau, Benjamin M. & Tew, Philip L., 2014. "Short sales and class-action lawsuits," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 79-100.
    7. Blau, Benjamin M. & Van Ness, Robert A. & Warr, Richard S., 2012. "Short selling of ADRs and foreign market short-sale constraints," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 886-897.
    8. Ethan Watson & Mary C. Funck, 2012. "A cloudy day in the market: short selling behavioural bias or trading strategy," International Journal of Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 8(3), pages 238-255, June.
    9. Yiuman Tse & Michael Williams, 2010. "Restricted private information provision during short sale bans," Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(8), pages 722-737, July.
    10. Blau, Benjamin M. & Pinegar, J. Michael, 2013. "Are short sellers incrementally informed prior to earnings announcements?," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 142-155.
    11. Blau, Benjamin M. & Van Ness, Bonnie F. & Van Ness, Robert A., 2011. "Information in short selling: Comparing Nasdaq and the NYSE," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-10, January.
    12. Benjamin Blau, 2013. "Informed short sales and option introductions," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 365-382, August.
    13. Chip Wade & Andre Liebenberg & Benjamin M. Blau, 2016. "Information and Insurer Financial Strength Ratings: Do Short Sellers Anticipate Ratings Changes?," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 83(2), pages 475-500, June.
    14. Blau, Benjamin M. & Van Ness, Bonnie F. & Van Ness, Robert A., 2009. "Information and trade sizes: The case of short sales," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 1371-1388, November.
    15. Daniel Dupuis & Lawrence Kryzanowski, "undated". "Governance and Short Sales," Finance Working Papers 03-04/2015, School of Business Administration, American University of Sharjah.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:ucp:jnlbus:v:78:y:2005:i:4:p:1307-1336. 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: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

    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.