Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Suchismita Mishra

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Özde Öztekin

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Qiang Kang

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Arun Upadhyay

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Clark M. Wheatley

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


governance, short selling, equity market timing, board independence, CEO duality

Date of Defense



The literature on short selling documents substantial evidence that short sellers are generally informed investors (e.g., Diamond and Verrecchia, 1987; Asquith and Muelbrook, 1996). This dissertation investigates three specific implications of informed short selling for a firm and its investors.

The first essay investigates if short selling discourages managers from pursuing over-optimistic projects by reducing equity market timing. By conditioning short selling on firm overvaluation, this essay shows that short selling reduces managerial equity market timing and increases leverage. This moderating impact of short selling is more pronounced in smaller firms and those with low institutional ownership or higher intangible assets. Furthermore, the results show that board independence facilitates the above effect of short selling which helps protect shareholder interests.

The second essay investigates if board independence reduces informed short selling prior to earnings announcements. This essay estimates short sellers’ correct prediction of the direction of unexpected quarterly earnings through Logistic regression and finds that short sellers’ correct prediction decreases in firms with independent boards relative to firms with non-independent boards. Furthermore, this effect is more pronounced in firms with CEO duality and large board size. The quasi-natural experiment using the exogenous shock to board independence from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, provides further support to our hypotheses.

The third essay provides Sell recommendations by examining pre-announcement short selling of firms ahead of their earnings announcements. The methodology makes Sell recommendations for firms with the highest short position prior to their quarterly earnings announcement. The post-announcement raw, excess, and abnormal returns of firms having the Sell recommendations are statistically and economically significant for multiple-holding periods showing the methodology’s significant trading strategy implication.

This dissertation significantly contributes to short selling, governance, capital structure, and investment literature.






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