Research

Research Interests

My research interests are in empirical corporate finance, behavioral corporate finance, financial econometrics, and textual analysis.

Publications

  1. Dynamic Capital Structure Adjustment and the Impact of Fractional Dependent Variables, with Ralf Elsas (LMU Munich), Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 50 (5), 1105–1133, 2015.
  1. Heterogeneity in the Speed of Adjustment towards Target Leverage, with Ralf Elsas (LMU Munich), International Review of Finance 11 (2), 181–211, 2011.
  1. Empirical Capital Structure Research: New Ideas, Recent Evidence, and Methodological Issues, with Ralf Elsas (LMU Munich), Journal of Business Economics (Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft), Special Issue 6, 39–71, 2008.

Working Papers

  1. Capital Market Access and Cash Flow Allocation During the Financial Crisis, with Vidhan Goyal (HKUST Business School), November 2016.
    • Semi-finalist FMA (2016) Best Paper Award (Financial Markets and Institutions).
    • Download: ssrn.com/abstract=2726048
    • Keywords: Stock market access, private firms, financial constraints, short-termist pressures, cash flow allocation, financial crisis, bank-based vs. market-based financial markets.
To understand how a stock market listing influences corporate policies if external financing is restricted, we examine how European public and counterfactual private firms jointly adjust their investment, financing, payout policies during the global financial crisis---when bank lending tightened. Our findings suggest that a stock market listing provides better access to external debt financing during the crisis as public firms, on average, net issue more long-term debt. Excess debt financing is, however, not allocated to investments but mostly to payouts to shareholders. 
Thus, a stock market listing relaxes financial constraints but induces managers to cater to shareholders during the crisis. Independent of a country's financial market structure (bank-based vs. market based) in our European firm sample, a stock market listing always provides a firm with more long-term debt during the crisis. In bank-based economies, this excess debt is mostly allocated to maintain investments while in market-based economies, inducing higher short-termist pressures, a stock-listing leads to lower investments and excess debt is used to maintain payouts.
  1. Managerial Optimism and the Perception of Financial Constraints, with Tobias Heizer (LMU Munich), September 2015.
    • Download: Available upon request.
    • Keywords: Managerial optimism, perceived financing constraints, distinguishing behavioral and rational predictions, matched survey and financial statement data.
We find that optimistic managers are more likely to perceive financing constraints, which is a fundamental but previously untested prediction of behavioral corporate finance theory. However, this effect is statistically significant but relatively small compared to other previously identified determinants of perceived financing constraints. Moreover, the vast majority of optimistic managers actually do not perceive any financing constraints. Our findings have implications for both behavioral corporate finance and financial constraints research. We argue that previous findings relating optimism and corporate policies are probably driven by perceived financing constraints and not optimism. Apart from their potential usefulness, commonly applied financial constraint indices are likely to be biased by not accounting for managerial optimism. Our analysis is based on large survey panel data for high-level managers of 2,897 German firms for the period 1995 to 2010, which is matched with financial and non-financial firm-level information. The data enable us to implement a survey based measure of managerial optimism and to directly access the managers’ perception of financing constraints from survey answers.

Work in Progress

  1. A Detailed Look at a Total Stock Market Failure, with Ioannis Floros (Iowa State) and Shane Johnson (Texas A&M), May 2017.
    We study a unique case in which a stock market suffered a complete Akerlof-type failure. Our study focuses on a single stock market, the former First Quotation Board of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and thus has elements of a ‘case study’ instead of an empirical study on a broad sample. We show that high levels of asymmetric information and dishonesty among investors and firms in a stock market leads to Akerlof-type effects in liquidity, overall trading volume, and the entry and exit of firms in a stock market. Given that the market we study was ultimately shut down by regulators, and many firms lost access to public capital markets, the failure was costly from a social perspective.
  2. Unionization, Spill-Over Effects, and Corporate Policies, with Nikolas Breitkopf (LMU Munich) and Harm Schütt (LMU Munich), June 2017.
    Labor unions influence firm decisions depending on how powerful they are. We develop a new measure of union power faced by individual firms. Our measure is based on annual 10-K filings and reflects the amount of union and labor related discourse in the narrative parts of the annual report. Thus, in contrast to traditional measures of unionization, the text-based measure allows researchers to analyze firm-specific, intra-industry variation of the degree of union influence over time for all listed US-firms. The measure correlates significantly with union elections, showing an increase in union influence before elections, and various other observable determinants of union power, such as industry unionization, labor laws, firm characteristics and the macroeconomic environment.
  3. Real Regulatory Spill-Over, Catharina Klepsch (LMU Munich) and Daniel Rettl (UT Austin), June 2017.
  4. Peer Effects and the IPO Decision, with Daniel Rettl (UT Austin), March 2016.
  5. The Structure of Corporate Investments: Evidence from German Manufacturing Firms, with Catharina Klepsch (LMU Munich), March 2016.
  6. Leverage and Credit Ratings Revisited: Evidence from High-Dimensional Estimation, with Martin Spindler (University of Hamburg), November 2015.

Presentations

  • A Detailed Look at a Total Stock Market Failure
  • HKUST Business School 2017, Hong Kong.
  • Managerial Optimism and the Perception of Financial Constraints
  • Asian Finance Association 2017, Seoul; German Academic Association for Business Research (VHB) 2016, Munich; Munich Finance Day 2016, Munich.
  • Capital Market Access and Cash Flow Allocation During the Financial Crisis
  • University of Hong Kong 2017, Hong Kong; Financial Management Association 2016, Las Vegas; European Financial Management Association (EFMA) 2016, Basel; Munich Finance Day 2016, Munich; Rotterdam School of Management 2014, Rotterdam; Kühne Logistics University 2014, Hamburg; UCLA Anderson School of Management 2014, Los Angeles.
  • Dynamic Capital Structure Adjustment and the Impact of Fractional Dependent Variables
  • Financial Management Association 2011, Denver; Campus for Finance Research Conference 2011, Vallendar; Eastern Finance Association 2010, Miami Beach; Swiss Society for Financial Market Research (SGF) 2010, Zurich; Midwest Finance Association 2010, Las Vegas; Finance PhDWorkshop 2009, HKUST Business School, Hong Kong.
  • Heterogeneity in the Speed of Adjustment towards Target Leverage
  • Swiss Society for Financial Market Research (SGF) 2011, Zurich; Midwest Finance Association 2011, Chicago; Munich Finance Day 2011, Munich.
  • Discussions
  • EFMA 2016; FMA 2011; Campus for Finance 2011; German Finance (DGF) 2010; Eastern Finance 2010; Midwest Finance 2010; Swiss Finance (SGF) 2010, 2011; Banken-Workshop 2007, Institut für Kreditwesen, University of Münster.

Grants and Awards

  • Scientific Network “Textual Analysis in Economics and Finance”, DFG
  • Principal Investigator, € 24,188, 2016–2017.
  • German Science Foundation (DFG) grant for conducting three workshops for network members and guest speakers (11 members from LMU Munich, Mannheim, HU Berlin, UT Austin, University of Hamburg, Georgia Tech, and Aalto University).
  • Research Collaboration Grant, BayCHINA
  • Principal Investigator, € 7,808, 2014–2016.
  • Travel funding for research collaboration from Bayerisches Hochschulzentrum für China for project “Capital Market Access and Cash Flow Allocation”.
  • Research Scholarship, DFG
  • German Science Foundation (DFG) scholarship for conducting research at UCLA Anderson School of Management, project “Leverage Adjustments: Evidence from European Private Firms”. 03/2013—02/2014 (12 months).

Doctoral Dissertation Prize, LMU Management Alumni, 2011.
Travel Grants, DAAD and LMU Management Alumni, 2010–2016.

Professional Service

Referee

  • Journal of Financial Econometrics
  • Research Grants Council (RGC) Hong Kong
  • European Journal of Finance
  • Journal of Commodity Markets
  • Empirical Economics
  • Journal of Business Economics (Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft)
  • International Journal of Financial Innovation in Banking

Editorial Board Member

International Journal of Financial Innovation in Banking, since 2014.