Friday, March 29, 2013

Competitive Parity, Status Disparity, and Mutual Forbearance: Securities Analysts' Competition for Investor Attention

BOWERS Anne H., GREVE Henrich, MITSUHASHI Hitoshi, BAUM Joel A. C.
Read the working paper
INSEAD Working Paper 2013/43/EFE

Most studies of responses to change in competitive environments focus on competitor-specific adaptations. However, rivals are often acutely aware of one another, and this awareness should influence their competitive behavior. In this study, we focus on three market structures that affect competitive behavior: competitive parity, status disparity, and multipoint contact. In particular, we examine how securities analysts responded to a regulatory discontinuity, Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg-FD), which promoted competitive parity by eliminating privileged access to proprietary firm information as a critical source of competitive advantage. We predict and find that Reg-FD activated mutual forbearance among analysts linked through multipoint contact. We also predict and find that high-status analysts forbear more strongly. Analysts’ responses to heterogeneity in competitive advantage thus depend importantly on their competitive overlap and status, with notable implications for their behavior and the information they provide to investors.