Securities Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, January 23, 2015

Heese on SEC Enforcement

Jonas Heese has posted Government Preferences and SEC Enforcement on SSRN with the following abstract:

I examine whether political pressure by the government as a response to voters’ general interest in protecting employment is reflected in the enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Using labor intensity as a measure for a firm’s contribution to employment, I find that labor-intensive firms are less likely to be subject to an SEC enforcement action. Next, I show that labor-intensive firms are less likely to face an SEC enforcement action in presidential election years if they are located in politically important states. I also find evidence of a lower likelihood of SEC enforcement for labor-intensive firms that are headquartered in districts of senior congressmen that serve on committees that oversee the SEC. All of these results hold after controlling for firms’ accounting quality and two alternative explanations for firms’ favorable treatment by the SEC, i.e., firms’ location and political contributions. These findings suggest that voters’ interests drive political pressure on SEC enforcement — independent of firms’ lobbying for their special interests.

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