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CEO Overconfidence and Corporate Investment

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  • Ulrike Malmendier
  • Geoffrey Tate

Abstract

We argue that managerial overconfidence can account for corporate investment distortions. Overconfident managers overestimate the returns to their investment projects and view external funds as unduly costly. Thus, they overinvest when they have abundant internal funds, but curtail investment when they require external financing. We test the overconfidence hypothesis, using panel data on personal portfolio and corporate investment decisions of Forbes 500 CEOs. We classify CEOs as overconfident if they persistently fail to reduce their personal exposure to company-specific risk. We find that investment of overconfident CEOs is significantly more responsive to cash flow, particularly in equity-dependent firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate, 2004. "CEO Overconfidence and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 10807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10807
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights

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