NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Innovation and Institutional Ownership

Philippe Aghion, John Van Reenen, Luigi Zingales

NBER Working Paper No. 14769
Issued in March 2009
NBER Program(s):   CF   PR

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14769

Published: Philippe Aghion & John Van Reenen & Luigi Zingales, 2013. "Innovation and Institutional Ownership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 277-304, February. citation courtesy of

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