Short Selling: Implications for Corporate Governance and Capital Structure Dissertation

(2018). Short Selling: Implications for Corporate Governance and Capital Structure . 10.25148/etd.FIDC006905

thesis or dissertation chair


  • Rahman, Mohammad Anisur


  • 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.

publication date

  • June 19, 2018


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

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)