Career Concerns and the Busy Life of the Young CEO
Using U.S. plant-level data for firms across a broad spectrum of industries, we compare how career concerns affect the real investment decisions of younger and older CEOs. In contrast to prior research which has examined some specialized labor markets, we find that younger CEOs undertake more active, bolder investment activities, consistent with an attempt on their part to signal confidence and superior abilities. They are more likely to enter new lines of business, as well as exit other existing businesses. They prefer growth through acquisitions, while older CEOs prefer to build new plants. This busier investment style of the younger CEOs appears to be relatively successful since younger CEOs are associated with higher plant-level efficiency compared to older CEOs.
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