Unsere Forschungergebnisse unterstützen die gesellschaftliche Debatte rund um aktuelle finanzökonomische Fragestellungen. Durch die Veröffentlichung der Arbeiten in internationalen Fachzeitschriften und unserer Working Paper Series sollen diese für einen möglichst breiten Adressatenkreis zugänglich werden.

HFRC Working Paper Series

Unsere Arbeitspapiere fassen die neuesten Ergebnisse aus der Forschungsarbeit des Instituts zusammen. Die Papiere stellen Diskussionsbeiträge dar und sollen zur kritischen Kommentierung der Ergebnisse anregen.

Alle Working Papers

Working Paper

Entrepreneurial finance and sustainability: Do institutional investors impact the ESG performance of SMEs?

Wolfgang Drobetz, Sadok El Ghoul, Omrane Guedhami, Jan P. Hackmann, Paul P. Momtaz
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 05/2024
Institutional investors improve the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Our difference-in-differences framework shows that the backing from private equity and venture capital funds leads to an increase in SMEs' externally validated ESG scores compared to their matched non-investor-backed peers. Consistent with "ESG-as-insurance" theory, the ESG performance of SMEs with a higher probability of failure is more likely to benefit from the backing of institutional investors. This positive effect is heterogeneous; while SMEs with high ex-ante ESG performance tend to further improve their ESG performance following institutional investor backing, SMEs with low ex-ante ESG performance are unlikely to implement any improvements. Entrepreneurial finance seems to help sustainable entrepreneurs develop into "sustainability champions," while neglecting the betterment of non-sustainable SMEs.

Drawdowns in stock and crypto markets. What is the best bootstrapping method?

Hubert Dichtl, Wolfgang Drobetz, Tizian Otto, Tatjana Xenia Puhan
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 04/2024
This paper compares bootstrap simulation approaches in the context of the maximum drawdown (MDD) risk measure for stock market and cryptocurrency returns. Our comparisons are based on the complete distribution of the MDD using stochastic dominance tests. The standard Efron (1979) bootstrap severely underestimates the true MDD. The simulation results of the moving block bootstrap approach are reasonably good as long as the stationarity problem does not become striking. The stationary bootstrap approach of Politis and Romano (1994) provides the best results. Investment practitioners should choose the Politis and Romano (1994) method as their first choice to model MDD risk.

Financing decentralized digital platform growth: The role of crypto funds in blockchain-based startups

Douglas Cumming, Wolfgang Drobetz, Paul P. Momtaz, Niclas Schermann
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 04/2024
Coordination frictions may prevent the efficient adoption and governance of digital platforms. We document that crypto funds (CFs) create value, inter alia, by smoothing such frictions on blockchain-based decentralized digital platforms (DDPs). CF-backed DDPs obtain higher valuations in the primary market (i.e., in initial coin offerings, ICOs), outperform their peers post ICO, and benefit from token price appreciation around CF investment disclosure in the secondary market. In line with our theory, primary transaction data from the Ethereum ledger shows that the valuations of DDPs with meager adoption and relative centralization benefit more from CF backing. Moreover, the positive valuation and performance effects for CF-backed DDPs are higher for CFs with more central investor networks.

Institutional dual ownership and voluntary greenhouse gas emission disclosure

Johannes Barg, Wolfgang Drobetz, Sadok El Ghoul, Omrane Guedhami, Henning Schröder
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 11/2023
This paper shows evidence of a positive relationship between institutional dual holders, who hold both equity and debt in a firm, and voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) emission disclosure. Considering dual holders as particularly risk-sensitive institutional investors, we docu-ment that voluntary GHG emission disclosure improvements are motivated by not only cli-mate-conscious but also risk-related considerations. The positive effect of institutional dual ownership is more pronounced when firms face severe environmental risks, where disclosure enables explanations and prevents exaggerated stakeholder reactions. The impact of dual ownership is also stronger in firms with poor information environments, where dual holders exploit their salient monitoring capacity from gathering information from their public equity and private debt holdings. Supporting our risk-based explanation, voluntary GHG emission disclosure reduces the cost of equity and increases firm valuation in firms with higher dual ownership.

Team networks and venture success: Evidence from token-financed startups

Wolfgang Drobetz, Kathrin Rennertseder, Henning Schröder
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 05/2023
Evidence shows that social network structures drive important economic outcomes. Building on social network theory, this study is the first to analyse the impact of team networks on venture success. Using information about team affiliations for a sample of token-financed startups, we model networks based on team interlocks across firms. Ventures with well-connected teams exhibit higher market valuations and higher token market liquidity. These effects seem to be driven by network-induced information and communication advantages. Specifically, we show that networks matter most when publicly available information is limited. The findings remain robust after controlling for non-team networks and endogeneity.

The hurdle-rate effect on patents: Equity risk premium and corporate innovation by public firms in the U.S., 1977-2018

David B. Audretsch, Wolfgang Drobetz, Eva Elena Ernst, Paul P. Momtaz, Silvio Vismara
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 05/2023
We document high economy-wide correlations between the Equity Risk Premium (ERP) and the aggregate volume (rho=-0.69) and value (rho=-0.75) of patenting activity by public firms in the United States over the 1977-2018 period, contradicting Schumpeter's (1939) opportunity-costs hypothesis of countercyclical inventive productivity in a representative sample. We propose a ''hurdle-rate theory of inventive procyclicality'' and offer supportive evidence at the firm level. High-ERP periods stifle innovation because many R&D projects do not pass corporate budgeting decisions when discount rates are high. Consistent evidence suggests that the hurdle-rate effect is less pronounced in firms with financial slack, institutional ownership with long-term orientation, and weak product-market competition. In an attempt to reconcile the procyclical evidence with Schumpeter's countercyclical theory, we show that firms engaging in exploratory search suffer less during high-ERP episodes than those focusing on exploitative search, and patents developed during high-ERP periods have a higher technological impact and receive significantly more forward citations. Finally, we exploit the staggered variation in state-level R&D tax credits in difference-in-differences analyses to establish a causal link between the ERP and patent value.

Decentralized finance, crypto funds, and value creation in tokenized firms

Douglas Cumming, Wolfgang Drobetz, Paul P. Momtaz, Niclas Schermann
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 05/2022
Crypto Funds (CFs) represent a novel investor type in entrepreneurial finance. CFs intermediate Decentralized Finance (DeFi) markets by pooling contributions from crowd-investors and investing in tokenized startups, combining sophisticated venture- and hedge-style investment strategies. We compile a unique dataset combining token-based crowdfunding (or Initial Coin Offerings, ICOs) data with proprietary performance data of CFs. CF-backed startup ventures obtain higher ICO valuations, outperform their peers in the long run, and benefit from token price appreciation around CF investment disclosure in the secondary market. Moreover, CFs beat the market by roughly 2.5% per month. Their outperformance is persistent, suggesting that CFs deliver abnormal returns because of skill, rather than luck. These performance effects for CFs and CF-backed startups are driven by a fund’s investor network centrality. Overall, our study paves the way for research on what some refer to as the “crypto fund revolution” in entrepreneurial finance.

Institutional investment horizons, corporate governance, and credit ratings: International evidence

Hamdi Driss, Wolfgang Drobetz, Sadok El Ghoul, Omrane Guedhami
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 01/2021
Using a comprehensive set of firms from 57 countries over the 2000–2016 period, we examine the relation between institutional investor horizons and firm-level credit ratings. Controlling for firm- and country-specific factors, as well as for firm fixed effects, we find that larger long-term (short-term) institutional ownership is associated with higher (lower) credit ratings. This finding is robust to sample composition, alternative estimation methods, and endogeneity concerns. Long-term institutional ownership affects ratings more during times of higher expropriation risk, for firms with weaker internal governance, and for those in countries with lower-quality institutional environments. Additional analysis shows that long-term investors can facilitate access to debt markets for firms facing severe agency problems. These findings suggest that, unlike their short-term counterparts, long-term investors can improve a firm’s credit risk profile through effective monitoring.

Token offerings: A revolution in corporate finance?

Paul P. Momtaz, Kathrin Rennertseder, Henning Schröder
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 03/2019
Token offerings or initial coin offerings (ICOs) are smart contracts based on blockchain technology designed to raise external finance without an intermediary. The new technology might herald a revolution in entrepreneurial and corporate finance, with soaring market growth rates over the last two years. This paper surveys the market evolution, offering mechanisms, and token types. Stylized facts on the pricing and long-term performance of ICOs are presented, and practical implications for this young market to thrive are discussed.