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Living through the Great Chinese Famine: Early-Life Experiences and Managerial Decisions

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  • Feng, Xunan

    (Southwestern University of Finance and Economics)

  • Johansson, Anders C.

    () (Stockholm China Economic Research Institute)

Abstract

Previous studies have linked personal characteristics of business leaders to corporate decisions. We analyze if the traumatic experience of the Chinese Famine had an impact on managerial decisions. Having lived through the famine is associated with more conservative financial, investment, and cash holding policies, a lower likelihood of unethical behavior, and better firm performance during economic downturns. By exploiting the exogenous variation in local severity of the famine, we establish a causal relationship between early-life experiences and corporate policies. Our findings thus provide evidence that momentous personal experiences can have important causal effects on managerial decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Feng, Xunan & Johansson, Anders C., 2016. "Living through the Great Chinese Famine: Early-Life Experiences and Managerial Decisions," Stockholm School of Economics Asia Working Paper Series 2016-41, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm China Economic Research Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hascer:2016-041
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corporate decisions; Fraud; Ethics; Corporate governance; China;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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