Academic Publications

Corporate Governance


Economic Freedom


Entrepreneurship


Insider Trading


International Development


Market Efficiency


Public Policy


Corporate Governance
Individualism, Democracy, and Contract Enforcement

Brandon N. Cline and Claudia R. Williamson. Journal of Corporate Finance, 2017

We examine a potential link between culture and financial development by considering culture's influence on contract enforcement regulation. Specifically, we investigate the role of individualism in determining the variation in enforcement costs across countries. Individualism positively and significantly relates to efficient contract enforcement, an association that is independent of a particular political system. Interaction effects, however, suggest that democracy magnifies individualism's influence on the contract enforcement efficiency. These results provide insight into how culture can shape financial outcomes. It further suggests that culture serves as a constraint on policymakers, as any given policy or formal institutional structure will function very differently depending on the cultural environment.

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Corporate Governance
The Consequences of Managerial Indiscretions: Sex, Lies, and Firm Value

Brandon N. Cline, Ralph A. Walkling, & Adam S. Yore
Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Forthcoming

Personal managerial indiscretions are separate from a firm’s business activities but provide information about the manager’s integrity. Consequently, they could affect counterparties’ trust in the firm and the firm’s value and operations. We find that companies of accused executives experience significant wealth deterioration, reduced operating margins, and lost business partners. Indiscretions are also associated with an increased probability of unrelated shareholder-initiated lawsuits, DOJ/SEC investigations, and managed earnings. Further, CEOs and boards face labor market consequences, including forced turnover, pay cuts, and lower shareholder votes at re-election. Indiscretions occur more often at poorly governed firms where disciplinary turnover is less likely.

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Corporate Governance
Silverback CEOs: Age, Experience, and Firm Value

Brandon N. Cline and Adam S. Yore
Journal of Empirical Finance, 2016

Approximately half of S&P 1500 firms have adopted mandatory retirement policies (MRPs) based on age. This study investigates the merits of such policies. It also addresses the question of whether CEO age is relevant to the success of an organization. We find little evidence that MRPs limit CEO entrenchment. Analysis reveals that CEO age is significantly negatively related to firm value, operating performance, and corporate deal-making activity. We conclude that MRPs represent an effective form of governance designed to mitigate the underperformance of older CEOs.

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Corporate Governance
Trust and the Regulation of Corporate Self-dealing

Brandon N. Cline and Claudia R. Williamson
Journal of Corporate Finance, 2016

We examine the influence of trust on shareholder protection. Trust may complement existing formal regulation. Alternatively, trust and formal regulation can act as substitutes. To test these hypotheses, we examine the association between a country's anti-self-dealing index and anonymous trust. We find that anonymous trust inversely relates to formal self-dealing regulation. We further find that anonymous trust positively relates to financial market development. Collectively, this evidence suggests that trust substitutes for formal self-dealing regulation, providing an alternative mechanism for shareholder protection.   

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Corporate Governance
Outside Director Stock Options and Dividend Policy

Anwar Boumosleh and Brandon N. Cline
Journal of Financial Services Research, 2015

Agency theory suggests that dividends can be used to mitigate agency problems between shareholders and managers. If director stock options are granted to align the interests of directors with shareholders, we anticipate less need for external governance mechanisms such as dividends. Our results suggest that incentivizing outside directors reduces the need for external market monitoring through dividends.

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Corporate Governance
Exploitation of the Internal Capital Market and the Avoidance of Outside Monitoring

Brandon N. Cline, Jacqueline Garner and Adam S. Yore
Journal of Corporate Finance, 2014

Internal capital markets provide firms an alternative to costly external financing; however, they also provide an avenue to avoid the monitoring associated with external capital. We argue that firms operating inefficient internal capital markets will avoid outside financing. Consistent with this view, conglomerates that cross-subsidize divisions or engage in value-destroying investment avoid external capital market oversight by refraining from issuing both debt and equity.

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Corporate Governance
Optimal CEO Incentive Contracts: A Prospect Theory Explanation

Joshua R. Aaron, Michael L. Harris, William C. McDowell, and Brandon N. Cline
Journal of Business Strategies, 2014 

This study examines the association between CEO incentive-based compensation and firm performance. Our results indicate moderate levels of performance-based CEO compensation are generally optimal. When an executive’s total compensation package is based more on firm performance there is an increase in performance, but returns are diminishing.

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Corporate Governance
Underperformance of Founder‑Led Firms: An Examination of Compensation Contracting Theories during the Executive Stock Options Backdating Scandal

Brian Carver, Brandon N. Cline and Matthew L. Hoag
Journal of Corporate Finance, 2013

This paper examines whether compensation committees can effectively set executive compensation contracts in the presence of a founding CEO. We find evidence suggesting that managerial power influences the decision to backdate options. We further find that founder-led firms strongly underperform a matched sample of non-backdating firms. This finding contrasts a number of studies that document superior operating and stock return performance for founder-led firms.

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Corporate Governance
Incentive-Based Compensation for CEOs in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: Does Pay for Performance Matter?

Joshua Aaron, William C. McDowell, Michael L. Harris, and Brandon N. Cline
Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, 2013

This study assesses the impact of incentive-based compensation for CEOs of small and medium-sized enterprises. The results indicate support for a greater use of incentive-based pay for small and medium-sized firms and younger organizations.

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Corporate Governance
CEO Power and Incentive Pay Under Competition

Anwar Boumosleh, Brandon N. Cline and Rola Saleh
Journal of Academy of Business and Economics, 2009

We examine the struggle of power between the CEO and board in their endeavor to determine optimal CEO compensation under market competition. The findings indicate that firms contract their CEO with greater incentive pay the higher the competition within the industry. The results are consistent with the argument that boards have the upper hand in negotiating CEO pay.

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Corporate Governance
Structuring Executive Compensation in Entrepreneurial Firms: An Optimal Incentives Perspective

Joshua Aaron, Louis Marino, and Brandon N. Cline
Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, 2007

This study proposes that the level of incentive-based compensation of CEOs has a nonlinear (concave) relationship with firm performance. 

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Economic Freedom
Aiding Economic Freedom: Exploring the Role of Political Institutions

Nabamita Dutta and Claudia R. Williamson
European Journal of Political Economy, 2016

 

Can foreign aid promote economic freedom? We provide insight to this discussion by examining aid's impact on economic freedom conditional on the quality of political institutions. We find some evidence suggesting that aid can improve economic freedom when given to democracies, but it may decrease it in autocracies. Our results have important policy implications. Most countries that ‘need’ aid do not have healthy political institutions. As such, aid is less likely to have a positive impact on economic freedom, partially explaining the contradictory findings in the literature. This also highlights the difficulty of finding a top-down solution to institutional improvements.

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Economic Freedom
Is Human Trafficking the Dark Side of Economic Freedom?

Lauren Heller, Robert Lawson, Ryan Murphy, and Claudia R. Williamson
Defense and Peace Economics, 2016

 

This paper uses data on human trafficking and anti-trafficking policies, in conjunction with a measure of economic freedom, to examine whether free markets exacerbate or attenuate the incidence of human trafficking and policies designed to combat it. We do not find evidence suggesting that economic freedom is associated with human trafficking. In addition, our results suggest that economically free countries are more likely to enact and enforce policies to fight human trafficking.

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Economic Freedom
The Relationship between Income, Economic Freedom, and BMI

Robert Lawson, Ryan Murphy and Claudia R. Williamson
Public Health, 2016

We find that controlling for fixed effects siphons off much of the relationship previously documented between economic freedom and BMI. Only in the case for men in developing countries is economic freedom associated with slightly higher BMIs. We also show that economic freedom increases life expectancy for both men and women in developing countries. 

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Economic Freedom
Economic Freedom and Growth in US State-Level Market Incomes at the Top and Bottom

Travis Wiseman
Contemporary Economic Policy, 2016

How are the benefits of economic freedom distributed across income groups? This paper examines the relationship between economic freedom, income growth and income inequality. Results suggest that, while freedom is positively related to average income growth, an increase in economic freedom is associated with faster income growth in the bottom 90% of the income distribution, relative to the top. Freedom is also related to lower income inequality. 

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Economic Freedom
Economic Freedom, Culture and Growth

Claudia R. Williamson and Rachel Mathers
Public Choice, 2011

How do economic freedom and culture impact economic growth? Our results indicate that economic freedom is more important than culture for growth outcomes, suggesting substitutability between the two. We posit that culture is important for growth when economic freedom is absent, diminishing in significance once economic freedom is established.

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Economic Freedom
Cultural Context: The Productivity of Capitalism

Rachel Mathers and Claudia R. Williamson
Kyklos, 2011

Does capitalism perform better when embedded in certain cultures? This paper argues that culture matters for the success of capitalist institutions, specifically economic freedom. Our results suggest that culture does, indeed, enhance the effectiveness of capitalism and its subsequent impact on growth.

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Entrepreneurship
US Shadow Economies, Corruption, and Entrepreneurship: State-level Spatial Relations

Travis Wiseman
Journal of Regional Analysis & Policy, 2016

This paper revisits the corruption, shadow economy and entrepreneurship relationships, and investigates spatial dependence among them. Results suggest that corruption and shadow economy size are positively related, and both contagious and cross-contagious in the U.S. states. Productive entrepreneurship, too, is contagious across states. 

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Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship, Corruption and the size of US Underground Economies

Travis Wiseman
Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, 2015

Using state-level data on productive and unproductive entrepreneurship, shadow economy size, and public official corruption, this paper examines whether formal sector productive (unproductive) entrepreneurial activity is associated with lower (higher) levels of informal economic activity. Results suggest that corruption and the shadow economy share a strong tie, and that corruptions affects entrepreneurial outcomes primarily through its effects on the shadow economy.

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Entrepreneurship
U.S. Shadow Economies: A State-Level Study

Travis Wiseman
Constitutional Political Economy, 2013

This study provides the first-ever index of state-level shadow economy size for all 50 U.S. states across the years 1997 to 2008. Using a Multiple-Indicators-Multiple-Causes (MIMIC) model approach – a system of equations designed to measure unobserved phenomena using observed variables’ covariance information, the study documents tax and social welfare burdens, labor market regulations, and intensity of regulation enforcement as statistically significant determinants of the underground economy.

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Entrepreneurship
Trade Openness and Cultural Creative Destruction

Christopher J. Coyne and Claudia R. Williamson
Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, 2012

The central finding of the study is that a society's openness to international trade generates, on net, positive effects on economic culture. The more open a country is to trade, the more likely it is to possess culture conducive to economic interaction and entrepreneurship.

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Insider Trading
The Persistence of Opportunistic Insider Trading

Brandon N. Cline, Sinan Gokkaya and Xi Liu. Financial Management, Forthcoming

We study the drivers of persistent insider trading profitability by examining the trades of insiders whose past trades have been profitable. We find that the current transactions of these persistently profitable (PP) insiders better predict firm performance than those of other insiders. The relative abnormal performance is more pronounced for trades of insiders who are managers rather than large shareholders or unaffiliated insiders and for trades in firms with weaker governance and greater information asymmetry. The trades of PP insiders also better predict earnings surprises, major corporate news, and analyst revisions. Collectively, these results indicate that PP insider transactions provide valid signals regarding future firm performance and that persistence in profitability is driven by informational advantages.

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Insider Trading
Insider Trading in REITs: Evidence from Informed Stock Option Exercise Around Seasoned Equity Offerings

Brandon N. Cline, Xudong Fu, Thomas M. Springer, and Tian Tang
Journal of Real Estate Research, 2014

This study investigates insider trading around REIT SEOs. Results show persistent negative long-run abnormal returns following SEOs. Consistent with REIT executives acting on insider information that the REIT is overvalued at the SEO, we find enhanced exercise activity of REIT insiders. However, when exercise activity is linked to long-term performance, the results show that these insiders are not especially skilled in identifying which SEOs will underperform.

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Insider Trading
Class Action Lawsuits and Executive Option Exercise Behavior

Daniel Bradley, Brandon N. Cline and Qin Lian
Journal of Corporate Finance, 2014

We document a significant increase in informed insider option exercises during class action periods, and that this change is positively related to the probability of litigation. The market reaction to the announcement of lawsuits is negatively related to abnormal informed option exercises, but positively related to suits that ultimately get dismissed. These results suggest that the market can anticipate the merits and severity of the suit. Collectively, our results indicate that insiders knowingly trade on their private information.

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Insider Trading
Private Information and the Exercise of Executive Stock Options

Don M. Chance, Brandon N. Cline and Robert Brooks
Financial Management, 2012

This article documents that executives use private information when exercising their stock options. The most informed executives tend to exercise early, do not exercise on the vest date, do not exercise to capture dividends, exercise a high percentage of their options, and exercise when the option is the least in-the-money. We also find that exercises around resignation and retirement are followed by significant negative abnormal returns.

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Insider Trading
Do Insiders Practice what They Preach? Informed Option Exercises Around Mergers and Acquisitions

Daniel Bradley, Brandon N. Cline and Qin Lian
The Journal of Financial Research, 2012

We examine executive stock option exercises around a sample of merger and acquisition announcements between 1996 and 2006, focusing on a subset we identify as potentially informed. For stock-financed acquisitions, we find a surge in informed exercises by acquirer insiders in the year leading up to the acquisition announcement, but target insiders display no similar increase. We find the market reaction upon the announcement for acquirers is negatively related to extreme early exercises and find some evidence of long-run underperformance. Overall, our evidence indicates that insiders knowingly bid for firms when they personally believe their own firm is overvalued.

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Insider Trading
Executive Stock Option Exercise and Seasoned Equity Offerings

Brandon N. Cline and Xudong Fu
Financial Management, 2010

We examine executive stock option exercises around seasoned equity offerings (SEOs), focusing on a subset of exercises we identify as potentially informed. Consistent with the theory that firms issue equity when stock is overvalued, we document a surge in informed exercise in the months surrounding the SEO. Interestingly, we find a positive association between informed option exercises and long-run performance. Overall, our evidence indicates that insiders are not particularly good at timing exercises around SEOs.

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International Development
Praise for Property

Claudia R. Williamson. Journal of Private Enterprise, forthcoming. 

McCloskey’s Bourgeois Deal, the process of profit seeking and competition, leads to widely shared prosperity. Free and dignified people living under a system of private property promote exchange, innovation, and wealth. This Bourgeois Deal can be offered in poor countries today: establish property rights and praise private property and profits generated from such a system. Ideas—ideas in favor of free markets— make us rich, and these ideas should be reasserted in development economics.

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International Development
Culture and the Regulation of Entry

Lewis S. Davis and Claudia R. Williamson, Journal of Comparative Economics, 2016

Does culture affect the manner in which a society regulates the entry of new firms? Our results suggest it does. We find more individualistic countries regulate entry more lightly. We investigate how culture matters presenting evidence of significant interactions between individualism and formal legal and political institutions. Individualism has a greater impact on entry regulation in societies with democratic political institutions or a common law tradition. This outcome is consistent with the idea that culture influences social preference for regulation, and political and legal institutions determine the degree to which those preferences are expressed as policy outcomes.

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International Development
Can Foreign Aid Free the Press?

Nabamita Dutta and Claudia R. Williamson
Journal of Institutional Economics, 2016

We find evidence suggesting that aid significantly increases press freedom in democracies but insignificantly relates to press freedom in autocracies. This suggest that donors should be cautious as most aid recipients are not democratic, and aid leads to only relatively small marginal improvements in press freedom in democracies.

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International Development
Do Legal Origins Affect Cross-Country Incarceration Rates?

Daniel J. D’Amico and Claudia R. Williamson
Journal of Comparative Economics, 2015

Prison populations vary tremendously across countries. We find countries with civil legal origins have lower prison populations. To explain these results, we conjecture that imprisonment is a lower cost mechanism for enforcing social order in common law countries. In civil law countries, bureaucratic infrastructures allow for methods such as day-fines, community service, seizure of property, and probation as more affordable alternatives to imprisonment.

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International Development
Is Foreign Aid a Pure Public Good for Donor Country Citizens?

Travis Wiseman and Andrew Young
Constitutional Political Economy, 2015

Based on a panel of 24 development assistance committee (DAC) countries, across two decades, we present evidence that foreign aid (or its effects) are not perceived to be nonrivalrous by the citizens of donor countries. Using an empirical specification based on the median-voter model and the provision of Samuelsonian public goods, we find that aid is perceived to be a purely private good. Our findings suggest that private interests may be an important determinant of foreign aid flow decisions relative to humanitarian concerns.

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International Development
Foreign Aid and the Culture of Contracting

Christopher J. Coyne and Claudia R. Williamson
Eastern Economic Journal, 2015

We analyze the relationship between foreign aid and the “culture of contracting.” Contracting culture refers to cultural characteristics — trust, respect, level of self-determination, and level of obedience — which allow for impersonal exchange. We find that the less aid a country receives, the more likely it is to possess a stronger contracting culture. 

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International Development
(Non) Profits to the Rescue

Claudia R. Williamson
Studies in Emergent Order, 2014

Evidence strongly suggests that state-led humanitarian interventions are a failure. As an alternative, most point to civil society (non-government) to fill this void in providing relief. Left out of the discussion is the possibility that profit seeking firms can and often do provide additional humanitarian benefits. This paper concludes that the profit motive not only creates economic but also social value.

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International Development
Religion: Productive or Unproductive?

Travis Wiseman and Andrew Young
Journal of Institutional Economics, 2014

We explore the relationships between religious belief and belonging variables, and productive and unproductive entrepreneurial activity. We find that measures of both religious belief and belonging tend to correlate negatively and significantly with states’ productive entrepreneurship scores. 

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International Development
The Amplification Effect: Foreign Aid’s Impact on Political Institutions

Nabamita Dutta, Peter T. Leeson and Claudia R. Williamson
Kyklos, 2013

How does foreign aid affect recipient countries' political institutions? We argue that foreign aid has neither the power to make dictatorships more democratic nor to make democracies more dictatorial. It only amplifies recipients' existing political institutions. Our findings support the amplification effect. Aid strengthens democracy in already democratic countries and dictatorship in already dictatorial regimes.

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International Development
Dignity and Development

Claudia R. Williamson
Journal of Socio-Economics, 2012

This paper explores how expanding the notion of informal institutions in the broader institutional framework provides a more complete explanation for development. Specifically, I incorporate McCloskey's notion of ‘dignity and liberty’ as part of the institutional nexus. 

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International Development
Securing Private Property: Formal versus Informal Institutions

Claudia R. Williamson and Carrie Kerekes
Journal of Law and Economics, 2011

This paper is a first step toward unbundling the black box of property rights into a formal and an informal component. We find that when both components are included in the analysis, the impact of formal constraints is greatly diminished, while informal constraints are highly significant in explaining the security of property. 

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International Development
Civilizing Society

Claudia R. Williamson
Journal of Private Enterprise, 2011

This paper argues that trust, respect, and individual motivation encourage and support economic freedom, and the source of these determinants can be found through the act of economic exchange.

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International Development
Rhetoric versus Reality: The Best and Worst of Aid Agency Practices

William R. Easterly and Claudia R. Williamson
World Development, 2011

Foreign aid critics, supporters, recipients, and donors have produced eloquent rhetoric on the need for better aid practices—has this translated into reality? This paper monitors the best and worst of aid practices among bilateral, multilateral, and UN agencies. The paper also assesses trends in best practices over time.

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International Development
Exploring the Failure of Foreign Aid: The Role of Incentives and Information

Claudia R. Williamson
Review of Austrian Economics, 2010

This paper explores the failure of foreign aid relying on the role of both incentives and information. The success of aid depends on incentives faced by all parties in donor and recipient countries. In addition, both donors and recipients must obtain the necessary information to actually target and achieve desired goals. 

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International Development
Informal Institutions Rule: Institutional Arrangements and Economic Performance

Claudia R. Williamson
Public Choice, 2009

The findings suggest that the presence of informal institutions is a strong determinant of development. In contrast, formal institutions are only successful when embedded in informal constraints, and codifying informal rules can lead to negative unintended consequences. 

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International Development
Unveiling de Soto’s Mystery: Property Rights, Capital, and Development

Carrie B. Kerekes and Claudia R. Williamson
Journal of Institutional Economics, 2008

Hernando de Soto attributes the poor economic performance of developing countries to insecure property rights. This paper tests de Soto's hypothesis empirically, and our results suggest that better defined property rights would result in substantial improvements in capital formation and economic growth in developing countries.

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International Development
Foreign Aid and Human Development: The Impact of Foreign Aid to the Health Sector

Claudia R. Williamson
Southern Economic Journal, 2008

The results indicate that foreign aid is ineffective at increasing overall health and is an unsuccessful human development tool. 

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Market Efficiency
Do Investors Value SEO Lockup Agreements?

Brandon N. Cline and Xudong Fu
Journal of Business Research, 2015

The lockup is an agreement between issuing firms and underwriting investment bankers that prohibits firm insiders from selling shares prior to lockup expiry. Reported evidence shows that announcement day returns increase with the presence and length of lockup, which suggests that secondary market investors value lockups positively. Tests on the SEO discount provide no evidence that primary market investors value lockups. Long-term performance tests also reveal no evidence that lockup SEOs have superior quality. These findings are consistent with the commitment device hypothesis, stating that lockups serve as a commitment mechanism to ameliorate moral hazard issues.

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Market Efficiency
A Comparison of the Information in the LIBOR and CMT Term Structures of Interest Rates

Brooks, Brandon N. Cline and Walt Enders
Journal of Banking and Finance, 2015

This study examines the information contained in the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the U.S. Constant Maturity Treasury (CMT) term structure of interest rates. We document that the information contained in term structures are significantly different from one another and provide evidence of a significant change in the nature of this difference as the financial crisis began.

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Market Efficiency
Spread Options and Risk Management: Lognormal Versus Normal Distribution Approach

Robert Brooks and Brandon Cline
Financial Services Review, 2015

We investigate the spread option valuation model where both underlying instruments follow geometric Brownian motion, and one where both underlying instruments are assumed to follow arithmetic Brownian motion. We show that the risk parameters are often materially different. These results are important in practical applications of risk management for individual investors as well as financial institutions.

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Market Efficiency
Stock Buyback Programs and Stock Option Plans: A Theoretical Framework

Robert Brooks and Brandon Cline
Advances in Quantitative Analysis of Finance and Accounting, 2013

Firms often use stock buyback programs as a tool to manage the enterprise risk of corporate stock option plans. We introduce a framework for assessing the merit of this strategy. The framework features simplicity, scalability, and flexibility regarding risk measures.

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Market Efficiency
What Determines SEO Offer Day Returns?

Brandon N. Cline, Xudong Fu, Tian Tang, and Jonathan A. Wiley
The Journal of Financial Research, 2012

We examine seasoned equity offering (SEO) initial-day returns after controlling for the dilution effect from the SEO discount and new shares offered. Contrary to the existing literature that ignores the effect of dilution, we find that initial-day returns are not consistently positive. Modeling adjusted initial-day returns, we show that dilution-adjusted initial-day returns respond to partial price adjustments reflecting both private and public information. Additional determinants of SEO offer-day returns include lockup length, discount reversal, prior operating performance, and underwriter reputation. Long-run tests reveal that adjusted initial-day returns are not predictive of post-issuance long-term performance.

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Market Efficiency
Valuation Effects for Asset Sales

Brandon N. Cline, Jonathan A. Wiley, Xudong Fu, and Tilan Tang
Journal of Financial Services Research, 2012

This study provides evidence that the outcome for shareholders resulting from asset sales is determined at the time of transaction by the value for the asset sold. Assets sold above market value are followed by positive and significant abnormal returns over the following three months; these returns are magnified in firms where the balance of power in corporate governance favors shareholders. Abnormal returns following undervalued asset sales are insignificant from zero, indicating value-preservation. 

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Market Efficiency
Information in the U.S. Treasury Term Structure of Interest Rates

Robert Brooks, Brandon N. Cline and Walter Enders
The Financial Review, 2012

We provide evidence of a significant change in the information content of the U.S. Treasury term structure of interest rates over the last 20 years. We find more information in the recent U.S. Treasury term structure about future interest rates than about expected holding period returns. These results document a significant departure from prior empirical findings.

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Market Efficiency
Embedded Options in Enhanced Certificates of Deposit

Brandon N. Cline and Robert Brooks
Financial Services Review, 2004

Deregulation and competition have led to the introduction of many new esoteric investment products in the financial industry. One such product is the enhanced certificate of deposit, which contains embedded interest rate options. We find that these products are priced in a peculiar manner. A discussion of the breakdown of options embedded in the certificate of deposit is given. We also consider why banks are willing to give away valuable interest rate options.

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Public Policy
Differences in Consumer Credit Choices Made by Banked and Unbanked Mississippians

Thomas W. Miller, Jr.
Journal of Law, Economics, and Policy, 2015

This paper presents the results of a 2011 survey of a random sample of 400 Mississippians. The survey questions center on the use of non-bank supplied consumer credit products. Evidence from the survey suggests that consumers used installment loans much more often than any non-installment loan product.

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Public Policy
Think Tanks

Peter Leeson, Matt Ryan and Claudia R. Williamson
Journal of Comparative Economics, 2012

We investigate think tanks’ relationship to economic policy. We find that think tanks aren’t associated with more “pro-market” policies, but they are associated with more “pro-market” citizen attitudes about policy. Political lobby groups are more important for policy than think tanks.

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Public Policy
Incentive-Based Executive Compensation and Economic Growth in the Southeast: Encouragement or Disincentive?

Brandon N. Cline and Justin D. Benefield, 
The Southern Business and Economic Journal, 2010

Southeastern states rank poorly across many economic variables. This study identifies an obstacle to economic growth in Southeastern states that has received little prior attention. Namely, firms headquartered in the Southeast do not emphasize incentive-based executive compensation as heavily as similar firms headquartered elsewhere. Evidence is provided of a positive relationship between pay-for-performance utilization and gross state product.

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Public Policy
Propertyless in Peru, Even With a Government Land Title

Claudia R. Williamson and Carrie B. Kerekes
American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 2010

This article investigates the ability and process of government land titling as a method to achieve secure property rights institutions in rural Peru. Our findings suggest that land titling does not achieve the positive benefits associated with secure property, such as access to credit. 

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Public Policy
Open for Business? An Examination of Incentive-Based Executive Compensation in West Virginia

Brandon N. Cline and Nima Mohebbi
Public Affairs Reporter, 2008

This study illuminates a problem with executive compensation in West Virginia. Results show that firms headquartered in the state fail to compensate executives with incentive-based pay comparable to firms in other states. While we do not claim that increasing incentive pay will be a panacea for all the economic challenges facing the state, the results suggest that these changes may lead to economic development.

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