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The Brain Gain of Corporate Boards: A Natural Experiment from China

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  • Giannetti, Mariassunta
  • Liao, Guanmin
  • Yu, Xiaoyun

Abstract

We study the impact of directors with foreign experience on firms in emerging markets. To establish causality, we use a unique dataset from China and exploit that at different times, Chinese provinces introduced policies to attract highly talented emigrants. These policies led to an exogenous increase in the supply of Chinese individuals with foreign experience in the local labor market and ultimately increased the likelihood that firms in these provinces had directors with foreign experience in comparison to firms with a similarly high demand for these skills elsewhere. We document that hiring directors with foreign experience results in higher firm valuation, productivity, and profitability. Furthermore, corporate governance improves and firms are more likely to make international acquisitions, to export, and to raise funds internationally. These results indicate that the transfer of knowledge to emerging markets occurs not only through foreign investment, but also through labor flows and, in particular, return migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Giannetti, Mariassunta & Liao, Guanmin & Yu, Xiaoyun, 2012. "The Brain Gain of Corporate Boards: A Natural Experiment from China," CEPR Discussion Papers 9190, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9190
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nathan, Max, 2013. "The Wider Economic Impacts of High-Skilled Migrants: A Survey of the Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 7653, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Max Nathan, 2014. "The wider economic impacts of high-skilled migrants: a survey of the literature for receiving countries," IZA Journal of Migration, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-20, December.
    3. Fang, Hongyan & Nofsinger, John R. & Quan, Juan, 2015. "The effects of employee stock option plans on operating performance in Chinese firms," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 141-159.
    4. Erich Battistin & Paolo Bortoluzzi & Fabio Buttignon & Martina Serafini & Marco Vedovato, 2013. "The Effects of Private Equity on Targets: Majority versus Minority Investments," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0167, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corporate boards; corporate governance; firm performance; firm productivity; human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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