Many studies use research and development (R&D) intensity or R&D spending as a proxy for risk taking, but we have little evidence that either associates positively with firm risk. We analyze the relations between R&D intensity (R&D spending to sales) and R&D spending on the one hand and 11 different indicators of firm risk on the other, using data from 1,907 to 3,908 firms in various industries over 13 years. The analysis finds a general lack of consistent positive association between R&D and firm risk, making the use of R&D as an indicator of risk taking questionable. Furthermore, R&D intensity and spending do not correlate positively, suggesting they measure different constructs. We discuss potential reasons for these nonsignificant results. Our study demonstrates that researchers should avoid casual use of R&D as a proxy for risk taking without explicitly providing a clear definition and measurement model for risk.
Risk is a key construct in strategic management research. Many studies in this area measure risk taking by research and development (R&D) intensity (the ratio of R&D spending to sales) or R&D spending. However, since R&D intensity and spending have also been used to measure various other things such as information processing demands, this raises the question of whether R&D intensity and spending are valid indicators of firm risk. We examine this issue by considering the associations of R&D intensity and R&D spending with conventional measures of firm risk. We find a general lack of consistent positive association between R&D and firm risk, making the use of R&D as an indicator of risk taking questionable. Furthermore, R&D intensity and spending do not correlate positively, suggesting they measure different things.
For a long list of investment “biases,” including lack of diversification, excessive trading, and the disposition effect, we find that genetic differences explain up to 45% of the remaining variation across individual investors, after controlling for observable individual characteristics. The evidence is consistent with a view that investment biases are manifestations of innate and evolutionary ancient features of human behavior. We find that work experience with finance reduces genetic predispositions to investment biases. Finally, we find that even genetically identical investors, who grew up in the same family environment, often differ substantially in their investment behaviors due to individual-specific experiences or events.
We study the asset pricing implications of Tversky and Kahneman’s (1992) cumulative prospect theory, with a particular focus on its probability weighting component. Our main result, derived from a novel equilibrium with nonunique global optima, is that, in contrast to the prediction of a standard expected utility model, a security’s own skewness can be priced: a positively skewed security can be “overpriced” and can earn a negative average excess return. We argue that our analysis offers a unifying way of thinking about a number of seemingly unrelated financial phenomena.