Adam Cobb, University of Texas

Investment Analyst Networks and the Similarity of Corporate Behavior
Adam Cobb


Fall 2022
Lecture Time: 
Friday, September 30, 2022 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Lecture Location: 

R0240, Ross School of Business, Lower Level

Introduced By: 
Zoe Schwingel-Sauer


In recent years, organizational scholars have documented the many ways in which contemporary organizations radically differ from their predecessors, thus rendering obsolete many of our existing ways of categorizing firms. We attempt to overcome this challenge by introducing a new measure to assess the degree of similarity between firms: analyst-based similarity. Publicly- traded firms are routinely covered by one or more sell-side stock analysts. Embedded in these coverage patterns are analyst assignment decisions made by investment banks that consciously aim to reduce information acquisitions costs by assigning analysts to similar sets of firms. Thus, analyst coverage patterns reflect underlying similarities among firms in the eyes of a key audience for corporate organizations: investment banks and the broader investment community. Leveraging the overlapping coverage patterns of sell-side market analysts, we create a network- based, dyadic annual measure of similarity among all publicly traded firms from 1990-2020. We use this measure to predict similarity among a set of corporate decisions and outcomes, including corporate time horizons, corporate political activity, and measures of stakeholder performance.

Recording & Additional Notes

Adam Cobb is an Associate Professor in the Business, Government, and Society Department in
the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin. As an organizational scholar,
he primarily studies how firms mediate labor market outcomes. In particular, his research is
motivated heavily by the fact that over the last several decades, significant changes in the
relationships between firms and workers have had direct implications for workers and for
society. He studies the causes and consequences of these and other changes in order to better
understand the various ways in which the actions of corporate decision-makers influence the
world around them. He also studies questions of corporate governance, with a focus on how
issues of governance affect other stakeholder groups. His research has been published in top
journals, including Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review,
American Journal of Sociology, and Organization Science.