Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wang, Winton & Yu on IPO Fraud

Corporate Fraud and Business Conditions: Evidence from IPOs, by TRACY YUE WANG, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management, ANDREW WINTON, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management, and XIAOYUN YU, Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Finance, was recently posted on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Using a sample of firms that went public between 1995 and 2002, we examine whether a firm's incentive to commit fraud when raising external capital varies with investor beliefs about industry business conditions as predicted by Povel, Singh and Winton (2007). We document a concave relationship between fraud propensity and optimism in investor beliefs. A firm is more likely to commit fraud when investors are more optimistic about the firm's industry prospect. Nevertheless, the probability of fraud decreases in the presence of extreme investor optimism, as the firm is able to obtain funding without misrepresenting information to outside investors. We also find evidence that venture capitalists and underwriters have different monitoring incentives. When venture capitalists are present, fraud is less likely for low investor beliefs but more likely for high investor beliefs; this suggests that venture capitalists primarily monitor to seek good returns for their investment and thus take investor beliefs into account. By contrast, underwriters' monitoring choices appear to be more concerned with preventing fraud per se so as to protect their reputations. These findings are consistent with the predictions from Povel, Singh and Winton (2007). Our results suggest that regulators and auditors should be especially vigilant during booms.

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