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Do Managers Overreact to Salient Risks? Evidence from Hurricane Strikes

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  • Dessaint , Olivier

    ()

  • Matray , Adrien

    ()

Abstract

Consistent with salience theories of choice, we find that managers overreact to salient risks. We study how managers respond to the occurrence of a hurricane event when their firms are located in the neighborhood of the disaster area. We find that the sudden shock to the perceived liquidity risk leads managers to increase the amount of corporate cash holdings, even though the real liquidity risk remains unchanged. Such an increase in cash holdings is only temporary. Over time, the perceived risk decreases, and the bias disappears. This bias is costly for shareholders because it leads to higher retained earnings and negatively impacts firm value by reducing the value of cash. We examine alternative explanations for our findings. In particular, we find only weak evidence that the possibility of risk learning or regional spillover effects may influence our results.

Suggested Citation

  • Dessaint , Olivier & Matray , Adrien, 2014. "Do Managers Overreact to Salient Risks? Evidence from Hurricane Strikes," Les Cahiers de Recherche 1026, HEC Paris.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebg:heccah:1026
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    Cited by:

    1. Pelli, Martino & Tschopp, Jeanne, 2017. "Comparative advantage, capital destruction, and hurricanes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 315-337.
    2. Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus & Wenzel, Tobias, 2015. "Attention and Endogenous Framing," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112971, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    managers; overreact; salient risk;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G39 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Other

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