Published Articles


Hiring Lucky CEOs Journal of Law, Economics and Organization (with Schwenen S.)

We explore how luck affects CEOs’ employment opportunities, and the performance of firms that hire lucky CEOs. Using a sample of US firms, we find that luck increases the likelihood to get a CEO job at new companies and obtain a higher pay. Yet, the appointment of lucky CEOs leads to a substantial decline in firm performance.

Dispositional Optimism and Business Recovery During a Pandemic PLoS One (with Garofalo O., Martin-Sanchez V.)

We show a positive association between dispositional optimism and the ability of entrepreneurs to innovate and implement organizational changes to their ventures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

How do Leaders Influence (Un)ethical Behavior Within Organizations: A Lab Experiment on Reporting Choices Journal of Business Ethics (with Garofalo O., Guerra A.)

We use a lab experiment to examine whether and how leaders influence workers’ (un)ethical behavior. We find that workers behave more ethically if their leader makes ethical choices, but often leaders do not make ethical choices in the first place. This suggests a dual role of leadership in spurring ethical behaviors in organizations.

Technological Entry, Redeployability and Firm Value Journal of Management Studies (with Mastrogiorgio M.)

In this paper, we analyze how a firm’s technology base – by radiating into new domains that potentially reveal new uses and resource redeployment options – can spur firm value. We conduct the analysis on a sample of US firms and a new measure of technological entry. 

Family Ownership during the Covid-19 Pandemic Journal of Banking & Finance (with Pelucco V., Quarato F.)

The Covid-19 pandemic hit hard many companies. Does corporate ownership trigger a different response to the shock? We find that firms controlled by families performed better than other firms during the pandemic period. This result is largely attributable to a more productive use of labor resources.

Corporate Ownership and Antitrust Violations Journal of Law & Economics (with Marzano R.)

We study the relationship between corporate ownership and anticompetitive actions. Our results indicate that family firms are less likely than other firms to be involved in antitrust indictments. Family control reduces the likelihood of antitrust indictments especially among larger companies, which are generally more likely to be prosecuted. However, conditional on being prosecuted, family firms face the same likelihood of monetary sanctions than nonfamily firms.


Pay Inequality and Gender Dynamics in Top Executive Positions Corporate Governance: An International Review (with Garofalo O.)

What is the relationship between executives’ gender and pay inequality within the top executive team? A greater inequality in executive pay is positively associated with the exit of female executives from the firm’s top executive team. This effect is larger when the starting level of female executives is low, when the firm uses more variable compensation and it operates in areas with stronger aversion toward income inequality.

Political Elections and Corporate Investment: International Evidence Journal of International Business Studies (with Corina M.)

What is the role of political institutions for firms’ investment decisions? During an election period firms in countries with a plurality system reduce investment less than firms in other countries. Additionally, multinationals’ foreign investment is affected by elections abroad: their investment in a host country declines during an election in that country, though to a lesser extent if the election is held with a plurality system.

Back to the Future: The Effect of Returning Family Successions on Firm Performance Strategic Management Journal (with Bennedsen M., Miller D., Le Breton-Miller I.)

How does CEO succession affect family business performance? When a family CEO returns to lead the company after a period of professional leadership, the firm exhibits an 18% advantage in profitability. Family leadership can enhance performance in companies that have already professionalized their governance, and thus have learned to reconcile meritocratic principles with family‐based assets.

Failing to Learn from Failure: How Optimism Impedes Entrepreneurial Innovation Organization Science (with Garofalo O., Martin – Sanchez V.)

How does dispositional optimism affect entrepreneurs’ expectations after they receive negative feedback on their performance? Dispositional optimism is negatively associated with both the likelihood and extent of belief updating in response to negative feedback. Furthermore, dispositional optimism triggers a discrepancy – between innovation inputs and outputs – that reduces a firm’s innovation effectiveness.

Riding out of a Financial Crisis: The Joint Effect of Trust and Corporate Ownership Journal of Comparative Economics (with Epure M.)

How does trust shape the ability to obtain financing and perform during a financial crisis? Trust alleviates the negative effect of a crisis for non-family firms, while it aggravates the negative effect for family firms. This latter result depends on a firm’s corporate governance: trust does not harm family firms whose board is open to non-family directors.

Tobit Models in Strategy Research: Critical Issues and Applications Global Strategy Journal (with Murtinu S.)

We compare different econometric models to deal with censored data in strategic management showing the strengths and weaknesses of each model. We also conduct an application to the context of import penetration and industry diversification to highlight how their relationship changes depending on the econometric model used for the analysis. Finally, we provide a set of recommendations for scholars interested in censored data.


Innovation Disclosure in Times of Uncertainty Journal of Economics & Management Strategy

How policy uncertainty affects the decision to disclose innovation‐related information? Policy uncertainty reduces the likelihood to disclose innovation-related information and the result is stronger for firms that enjoy a leadership position, firms subject to a weaker legal protection of internal knowledge, and firms that rely more on government demand. When uncertainty is high, firms file patents with greater textual vagueness.

Natural Disasters as a Source of Entrepreneurial Opportunity: Family Business Resilience after an Earthquake Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal (with Salvato C., Sargiacomo M., Minichilli A.)

What type of firms are more likely to survive or even thrive in disaster events? We study the performance of family and nonfamily firms around a disastrous earthquake in 2009. Following the earthquake, family firms performed better than nonfamily firms. Family ownership is also beneficial in industries highly dependent on the public sector.

Pay Dispersion and Executive Behavior: Evidence from Innovation British Journal of Management (with Failla V.)

How does pay dispersion affect innovation behavior of executives? Executive pay dispersion acts as a double‐edged sword. On the one hand, the higher the dispersion in variable pay, the higher the innovation. On the other hand, the larger the dispersion in fixed pay, the lower the innovation.

Assortative Ownership Matching and M&A Behavior Strategic Organization (with Bettinazzi E., Miller D., Corbetta G.)

Are firms with similar ownership more likely to match in the M&A market? Our evidence from a large sample of Italian firms indicates that acquisitions are much more likely to occur among firms with similar owners.


CEO Education and Corporate Environmental Footprint Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (with Bennedsen M., Larsen B., Rosenbaum P.) 

Does education shape managerial styles giving rise to greater sustainability? Highly educated CEOs significantly improve firms’ energy efficiency and have greater environmental awareness. Indeed, the hospitalization of highly educated CEOs induces a drop in energy efficiency, highly educated CEOs exhibit greater concerns for climate change and drive more environmentally efficient cars.


The Courage to Choose! Primogeniture and Leadership Succession in Family Firms Strategic Management Journal (with Calabrò A., Minichilli A., Brogi M.)

What are the performance implications of each succession choice? Having a family intensive governance structure fosters primogeniture as the main succession logic, even when the family firm is experiencing lower profitability. Family firms that have the courage to disregard primogeniture and choose wisely the family successor are the ones experiencing higher post‐succession performance.

Peer Firms and Board Appointments in Family Firms Regional Studies

How does neighbouring companies affect family firms’ decision to appoint non-family directors? Being geographically close to firms with non-family directors increases a family firm’s likelihood of having non-family members in its own board. The finding is stronger when the firm is smaller and when the firm is located in areas that are densely populated or that feature strong attachment to the local community.

Local Political Uncertainty, Family Ownership and Investment Behavior Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis (with Minichilli A.)

Does political uncertainty affect firm investment? Local political uncertainty leads to declining investment but family control neutralizes this effect: Family firms are more likely to invest during politically uncertain times, especially when dependent on public spending and/or managed by family members. This investment resilience of family firms under political uncertainty translates into significantly greater profitability and growth.

Strategic Distinctiveness in Family Firms: Firm Institutional Heterogeneity and Configurational Multidimensionality Journal of Family Business Strategy (with Miller D., Le Breton-Miller I., Minichilli A., Quarato F.) 

We show that public firms conform more to industry financial norms than private firms. Although conformity aids public firm performance, high or low levels of distinctiveness work best for private firms. We also find that non-family leaders outperform under these extreme levels of distinctiveness.


Social Capital and Family Control Explorations in Economic History

What is the effect of social capital on family control? Exploiting historically-driven variations in social capital provided by the experience of self-government during the Middle Ages, I find that when social capital is weak, family control and management of companies are more prevalent. These results provide novel evidence on the pervasive influence of culture on organizational structures.

Institutional Logics, Family Firm Governance and Performance Journal of Business Venturing (with Miller D., Le Breton-Miller I., Minichilli A., Corbetta G.)

Does cultural environment affect firms governance and performance? Family-intensive governance is more common where family culture predominates in a region, and does best when this culture remains at modest levels or is countered by market logic.

For Love and Money: Marital Leadership in Family Firms  Journal of Corporate Finance (with Miller D., Le-Breton Miller I., Corbetta G.) 

How leadership by married couples affects the profitability of family firms? Family firms led by married couples perform significantly better than other family firms. The presence of couples at the top of the firm enhances the willingness to invest during uncertain times, reduces employee turnover, and improves labor productivity.


Corporate Governance and Green Innovation  Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (with Bennedsen M.)

How does corporate governance affect and firms׳ environmental innovation? Worse governed firms generate fewer green patents relative to all their innovations and effects are more pronounced for firms operating in states with lower anti-pollution regulation and in sectors less dependent on energy inputs. Overall, ineffective corporate governance may constitute a major obstacle to environmental efficiency.

Executive Gender, Competitive Pressures, and Corporate Performance  Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (with Garofalo O.)

Does the gender of top executives influence a firm’s reaction to competitive pressures? While banks with female executives experience significantly higher financial performance under low competition, they tend to underperform when competition increases. At the same time, we find that the presence of female leaders improves the capital stability of banks subject to greater competition.


Companies Learning to Innovate in Recessions Research Policy

Can innovating in downturns affect corporate success? Firms innovating during downturns have more success since innovation improves a firm’s position relative to competitors during the recovery period. Moreover, past experience with innovation during recessions improves a firm’s ability to invest in R&D when a new downturn hits and is beneficial to patent outcomes after a new recession.


Gender Interactions within the Family Firm  Management Science (with Garofalo O., Minichilli A.)

Do gender interactions at the top of the corporate hierarchy affect corporate performance? Female directors significantly improve the operating profitability of female-led companies. The positive effect of female interactions on profitability is reduced when the firm is located in geographic areas characterized by gender prejudices and when the firm is large.

CEO Succession Mechanisms, Organizational Context and Performance: A Socio-Emotional Wealth Perspective on Family-Controlled Firms  Journal of Management Studies (with Minichilli A., Nordqvist M., Corbetta G.). 

We find that implementing specific succession mechanisms reduces the negative impact that typically characterizes CEO transitions in family firms. Yet, the presence of family membersin the board of directors offsets the benefits of these balancing succession mechanisms.


The Value of Local Political Connections in a Low-Corruption Environment  Journal of Financial Economics (with Bennedsen M.)

Does political power affect profitability of firms related to politicians in low-corruption environment? Even in the world’s least corrupt country (Denmark), political power largely affects the profitability of firms related by family to local politicians. Increasing power boosts firms’ operating returns, especially in industries relying heavily on public demand.

Credit Supply and Corporate Innovation  Journal of Financial Economics (with Schneider C., Zaldokas A.). 

We find that interstate banking deregulation that occurred in the 80s in the US had significant beneficial effects on the quantity and quality of innovation activities, especially for firms highly dependent on external capital and located closer to entering banks. These results are driven by a greater ability of deregulated banks to geographically diversify credit risk.


How do Managerial Successions Shape Corporate Financial Policies in Family Firms?  Journal of Corporate Finance (with Minichilli A., Corbetta G.)

What is the different impact of family and professional CEO succession on financial policies? The appointment of non-family professional CEOs leads to a significant increase in the use of debt. Examining the importance of financial flexibility, the increase in debt occurs primarily when firms are cash-poor, and when incoming CEOs can exploit spare borrowing capacity.

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