A paper by Sima Jannati (University of Miami), Alok Kumar (University of Miami), Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi (University of Mannheim), and Justin Wolfers was published in SSRN on December 24, 2016. The paper is entitled: "In-group bias in financial markets."
This paper investigates in-group bias in financial markets. Specifically, we argue that equity analysts may have less favorable opinions about firms that are not headed by CEOs of their own “group”. We define groups based on gender, ethnicity and political attitudes. Examining analysts’ earnings forecasts, we find that male analysts have lower assessments of firms headed by female CEOs than of firms headed by male CEOs. Results are very similar if in-groups are defined based on ethnicity or political attitudes: Earnings forecasts of domestic analysts are lower for firms headed by foreign CEOs and earnings forecasts of Republican analysts are lower for firms headed by Democrat CEOs. As a result, earnings surprises of firms headed by female, foreign, or Democrat CEOs are systematically upward biased. Overall, our results provide robust evidence for in-group bias in financial markets.