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Working Papers


Politically connected insiders, especially senior officers who hold a director position, are more likely to sell shares prior to negative abnormal returns. Politically connected insiders are also more likely to engage in other risky behavior: trading prior and closer to the earnings announcements, trading during periods that overlap with traditional blackout periods, and missing SEC timely reporting requirements. These finding are consistent with insiders perceiving their political connections as protection against SEC enforcement. Connections with senators matter more since they have more control over the SEC. Connections with a particular political party have a greater effect on insider trading when the party controls both the House and Senate.


  • Eastern Finance Association Annual Meeting, April 2019

  • The University of Arizona, October 2019

  • Finance Management Association Annual Meeting, October 2019 (scheduled)

  • Financial Management Association Doctoral Consortium, October 2019 (scheduled)

  • American Finance Association Ph.D. Student Poster Session, January 2020 (scheduled)


From 2000 to 2016, using the complete sample of all investment advisory firms registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), we find that the presence of state and municipal government clients for an investment advisory firm is strongly associated with past owner and officer contributions to state and local government officials. To establish a
causal link, we use the implementation of the SEC’s pay-to-play rules in 2011 as a quasi-shock. Post implementation of SEC pay-to-play rules for investment advisers, we find that this relationship weakens considerably. Further consistent with a pay-to-play explanation, the results are driven by the political contributions of individuals likely to be involved in marketing the firm including CEOs, owners, and sales executives. The results are most pronounced for advisers offering pension consulting services, institutional separate account managers, and advisory firms located in states with a high concentration of public pension plans and a culture of political corruption.


  • California Corporate Finance Annual Conference, September 2019


When firms conduct repurchases, the likelihood of institutional selling increases and institutional buying decreases, consistent firms repurchasing to provide liquidity to institutional traders. A negative relation between repurchase intensity and changes in institutional ownership before and during repurchase quarter, but not in the quarter after the events, suggests that firms buy back shares to provide liquidity to institutional selling and not vice versa. The results hold across all types of institutions and are stronger for illiquid stocks. Institutional trading adds value to repurchase signals: Repurchases with concurrent institutional buying are associated with significantly higher abnormal returns than those with net institutional selling in the quarter before and up to two quarters in the future around share repurchases. The relation between ex-post returns and institutional trading is stronger for active and transient institutions.


  • The University of Arizona, 2017

Work In Progress

"Industry Competitiveness and Tax Avoidance"

(with Maryam Fathollahi)


We provide evidence on the effect of market competition on firms’ tax aggressiveness. Using several firm-level and industry-level measures of competition, we find a positive relation between market competition and tax aggressiveness. This effect is concentrated in the industries with lower level of competition, consistent with IRS paying more attention to the largest and most dominant firms in the market, which are more visible to regulators and investors. We also adopt a quasi-natural experiment by examining industry level import tariff cuts as unexpected shocks to firms’ competing environment to address the endogeneity problem on the effect of market competition on tax avoidance. We find that following a tariff-cut, firms become more aggressive in tax avoidance activities.

"The Effectiveness of SEC Enforcement on Insider Trading"

(with Caleb Houston and Valeriya Posylnaya)

“Insider Trading Around Product Market Recalls”

(with Nam Le)

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