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CEO Overconfidence and Innovation

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  • Alberto Galasso
  • Timothy S. Simcoe

Abstract

Are CEOs' attitudes and beliefs linked to their fims' innovative performance? This paper uses Malmendier and Tate's measure of overconfidence, based on CEO stock-option exercise, to study the relationship between a CEO's "revealed beliefs" about future performance and standard measures of corporate innovation. We begin by developing a career concern model where CEOs innovate to provide evidence of their ability. The model predicts that overconfident CEOs, who underestimate the probability of failure, are more likely to pursue innovation, and that this effect is larger in more competitive industries. We test these predictions on a panel of large publicly traded firms for the years 1980 to 1994. We find a robust positive association between overconfidence and citation-weighted patent counts in both cross-sectional and fixed-effect models. This effect is larger in more competitive industries. Our results suggest that overconfident CEOs are more likely to take their firms in a new technological direction.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Galasso & Timothy S. Simcoe, 2010. "CEO Overconfidence and Innovation," NBER Working Papers 16041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16041
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    Cited by:

    1. Corinne Langinier & Stephanie Lluis, 2015. "Departure and Promotion of U.S. Patent Examiners: Do Patent Characteristics Matter?," Working Papers 1506, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2015.
    2. Stentella Lopes, F.S., 2015. "Bank performance and corporate culture," Other publications TiSEM d1dd88b2-5eb0-4aa7-be18-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Herz, Holger & Schunk, Daniel & Zehnder, Christian, 2014. "How do judgmental overconfidence and overoptimism shape innovative activity?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 1-23.
    4. Victor Manuel Bennett & Megan Lawrence & Raffaella Sadun, 2016. "Are Founder CEOs Good Managers?," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Entrepreneurial Businesses: Current Knowledge and Challenges, pages 153-185 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Adam, Tim R. & Burg, Valentin & Scheinert, Tobias & Streitz, Daniel, 2014. "Managerial Optimism and Debt Contract Design: The Case of Syndicated Loans," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 475, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    6. Chen, Sheng-Syan & Wang, Yanzhi, 2012. "Financial constraints and share repurchases," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 311-331.
    7. David Hirshleifer & Angie Low & Siew Hong Teoh, 2012. "Are Overconfident CEOs Better Innovators?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(4), pages 1457-1498, August.
    8. Lu, Xin & Shang, Jennifer & Wu, Shin-yi & Hegde, Gajanan G. & Vargas, Luis & Zhao, Daozhi, 2015. "Impacts of supplier hubris on inventory decisions and green manufacturing endeavors," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 245(1), pages 121-132.
    9. Larbi Alaoui & Christian Fons-Rosen, 2016. "Know when to fold 'em: The grit factor," Economics Working Papers 1521, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2016.
    10. Marie-Laure Allain & Emeric Henry & Margaret Kyle, 2016. "Competition and the Efficiency of Markets for Technology," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(4), pages 1000-1019, April.
    11. Yusuke Kinari & Noriko Mizutani & Fumio Ohtake & Hiroko Okudaira, 2011. "Overconfidence Increases Productivity," ISER Discussion Paper 0814, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    12. Ufuk Akcigit & William R. Kerr, 2010. "Growth Through Heterogeneous Innovations," NBER Working Papers 16443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Avi Goldfarb & Teck-Hua Ho & Wilfred Amaldoss & Alexander Brown & Yan Chen & Tony Cui & Alberto Galasso & Tanjim Hossain & Ming Hsu & Noah Lim & Mo Xiao & Botao Yang, 2012. "Behavioral models of managerial decision-making," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 405-421, June.
    14. Lennart Erixon & Louise Johannesson, 2015. "Is the psychology of high profits detrimental to industrial renewal? Experimental evidence for the theory of transformation pressure," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 475-511, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • 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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