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Innovation and Institutional Ownership

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  • Philippe Aghion
  • John Van Reenen
  • Luigi Zingales

Abstract

We find that institutional ownership in publicly traded companies is associated with more innovation (measured by cite-weighted patents). To explore the mechanism through which this link arises, we build a model that nests the lazy-manager hypothesis with career-concerns, where institutional owners increase managerial incentives to innovate by reducing the career risk of risky projects. The data supports the career concerns model. First, whereas the lazy manager hypothesis predicts a substitution effect between institutional ownership and product market competition (and managerial entrenchment generally), the career-concern model allows for complementarity. Empirically, we reject substitution effects. Second, CEOs are less likely to be fired in the face of profit downturns when institutional ownership is higher. Finally, using instrumental variables, policy changes and disaggregating by type of owner we find that the effect of institutions on innovation does not appear to be due to endogenous selection.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Aghion & John Van Reenen & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Innovation and Institutional Ownership," NBER Working Papers 14769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14769
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bronwyn Hall, 2004. "The financing of research and development," Chapters,in: Financial Systems, Corporate Investment in Innovation, and Venture Capital, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Pruitt, Stephen W & Wei, K C John, 1989. " Institutional Ownership and Changes in the S&P 500," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(2), pages 509-513, June.
    3. Renée B. Adams & Daniel Ferreira, 2007. "A Theory of Friendly Boards," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(1), pages 217-250, February.
    4. Jean Tirole, 2006. "The Theory of Corporate Finance," Post-Print hal-00173191, HAL.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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