This paper challenges the view that foreign investors lead firms to adopt a short-term orientation and forgo long-term investment. Using a comprehensive sample of publicly listed firms in 30 countries over the 2001-2010 period, we find instead that greater foreign institutional ownership fosters long-term investment in tangible, intangible, and human capital. Foreign institutional ownership also leads to significant increases in innovation output. We identify these effects by exploiting the exogenous variation in foreign institutional ownership that follows the addition of a firm to the MSCI indices. Our results suggest that foreign institutions exert a disciplinary role on entrenched corporate insiders worldwide.
David Burg Professor of Law
Harvard Law School
Professor of Finance
University of Naples Federico II
Professor of Business Law and Capital Markets Law