Guosong Xu Assistant Professor of Finance

I am an Assistant Professor of Finance at Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University.

Research interests:
Primary: Corporate finance; Secondary: Climate, M&As, Political economics

Department of Finance, RSM

Mandeville Building, Burgemeester Oudlaan 50

3062 PA Rotterdam, Netherlands

Links to SSRN and RSM official page


Working Papers

Mega-Donors and Representation of the Wealthy in the Wake of Citizens United

with Ilona Babenko and Viktar Fedaseyeu

Conferences: CICF 2024


We document that in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which increased in the ability of the wealthy to finance political campaigns, the share of total electoral giving attributable to top 1% donors increased by 2.7 times. Further, we find that the voting by U.S. legislators became more responsive to the preferences of the wealthy post-Citizens United and less responsive to the preferences of the less affluent. The increase in legislators' alignment with the wealthy is most pronounced for the bills that deal with fiscal matters and for those bills on which the preferences of higher- and lower-income individuals diverge. Finally, it is the politicians who receive a larger share of their campaign funding from the top 1% donors that are more likely to shift their voting toward the preferences of the wealthy. Overall, our results highlight the importance of campaign finance in changing the nature of political representation in the United States.

Involuntarily Green? Corporate Donations to Politicians and Their Votes on Environmental Legislation

with Eliezer Fich

Media coverage: LSE Business Review; Corp-INTL; Luxury Advisor

Conferences: EFA 2022, Owners as Strategists, Paris December Finance Meeting


Involuntarily green firms—those whose environmental performance increases after mandatory environmental regulations pass—try to lessen their compliance burden by donating to “traditionalist” politicians who frequently vote against recommendations by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). To achieve this goal, involuntarily green firms target legislators staffing congressional committees overseeing the EPA or politicians with influence over local environmental agencies. Involuntarily green firms exhibit significantly higher market-adjusted abnormal stock returns when their supported politicians narrowly win congressional races. Moreover, a $1 gift by involuntarily green firms to traditionalist politicians is associated with a $900 market capitalization increase when LCV-opposed bills pass.

News Bias in Financial Journalists’ Social Networks

Revise & resubmit; Best Paper in Corporate Finance at the SFS Cavalcade North America 2021 (previously titled "Friends in Media")

Conferences: EFA, EFA Doctoral Tutorial, FIRS, SFS Cavalcade


Connected financial journalists—those with working relationships, common school ties, or social media connections to company management—show a marked favorable bias in their news stories. These journalists are more likely to quote connected executives, include more ambiguous language, and portray other firms in the same social network more positively. Journalists’ bias has implications for both capital market outcomes and the journalists’ careers. I find that articles by connected journalists are associated with higher market prices upon news announcement and long-term price reversion. Connected M&A articles are correlated with increased bid competition, deal premiums, and termination rates. Moreover, connected journalists are more likely to leave journalism and join their associated industries in the long run. Taken together, the evidence suggests that financial journalists’ personal networks promote news bias and hinder the efficient dissemination of information.

How Do Corporate Tax Hikes Affect Investment Allocation within Multinationals?

with Antonio De Vito, Martin Jacob, and Dirk Schindler

Revise & resubmit; Media coverage: LSE Business Review


This paper studies how corporate tax hikes transmit across countries through multinationals’ internal networks of subsidiaries. We build a parsimonious multicountry model to underscore two opposing spillover effects: While tax competition between countries generates positive investment spillover, intra-firm production linkages predict negative spillover. Using subsidiary-level data and exogenous corporate tax hikes, we find that local business units cut investment by 0.4% for a 1% increase in foreign corporate tax. This result highlights the importance of production linkages in propagating foreign tax shocks, as the supply-chain-induced negative spillover dominates the positive spillover effect suggested by the conventional wisdom of tax competition.

Do Salient Climatic Risks Affect Shareholder Voting?

with Eliezer Fich

Revise & resubmit; Selected media coverage: The FinReg Blog of Duke University; Forbes; Drexel News Blog

Conferences: AFA, SFS Cavalcade, Paris December Finance Meeting


Institutional shareholders affected by hurricanes subsequently support environmental proposals in non-affected firms even if they never voted for similar initiatives. Affected shareholders raise their holdings in firms where their pro-climate votes are consequential. More voting support after hurricanes has real effects as environmental proposals endorsed by more hurricane-afflicted shareholders are more likely to pass. Moreover, upon passing environmental proposals, firms exhibit non-trivial decreases in their market capitalization and downgrades by equity analysts. Our evidence indicates that by changing shareholders’ perceptions of the risks faced by their portfolio firms, disruptive life events ultimately shape environmental activism, corporate policies, and firm performance.

Picking Up the PACE: Loans for Residential Climate-Proofing

with Aymeric Bellon, Cameron LaPoint, and Francesco Mazzola

Draft will be available soon!


Board Reforms and M&A Performance: International Evidence [Open access]

Journal of International Business Studies, 2024, with Farooq Ahmad, Nihat Aktas, and Douglas Cumming


This research employs a difference-in-differences framework to study the impact of major board reforms on the performance of mergers and acquisitions (M&As). Using an international sample of board reforms implemented in 61 countries from 1985 to 2021, we document a drastic redistribution of wealth from target shareholders to acquirer shareholders after the board reforms in target countries. This effect is most pronounced in M&A transactions that involve the sale of controlling shares, thereby supporting the hypothesis that corporate board reforms mitigate the private benefits of control in the target firm. Furthermore, these reforms increase expected deal synergies, in that deal-level announcement returns are higher after the implementation of the reforms. When country-level institutional quality and legal protection of shareholders are greater, it reinforces the reform effects. Overall M&A activity remains unchanged following the reforms, yet financial bidders complete fewer transactions, implying a reform-induced squeeze-out of financial bidders from the M&A market in the target country. Collectively, these international results are consistent with the predictions of the private benefits of control theory and underscore the role of institutional quality and investor protection in reinforcing the effects of board reforms worldwide.

Assimilation Effects in Financial Markets [Open access]

Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 2023, with Eliezer Fich


An assimilation bias occurs when people’s evaluative judgement is positively influenced by a previously observed signal. We study this effect by examining investors’ appraisal of M&A deals announced one day after other firms in the same 1-digit SIC as the merging parties release earnings surprises. Consistent with assimilation effects, acquirers’ M&A announcement stock return initially correlates with the previous day’s earnings surprises. This effect reverses after one week. Assimilation generates other distortions as more positive surprises are related to increases in bid competition, takeover premiums, and withdrawn M&As. Evidence from IPOs corroborates the presence of assimilation effects in financial markets.

The Role of Internal M&A Teams in Takeovers [Open access]

Review of Finance, 2021, with Nihat Aktas, Audra Boone, Alexander Witkowski, and Burcin Yurtoglu


This paper provides insights into the inner workings of internal corporate M&A teams using survey evidence from 65 firms from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. We find that internal teams create value, especially relative to external advisors, by directing transaction rationales, screening targets, and employing performance metrics to assess post-merger success. Teams emphasizing economic rationales as a merger motive are associated with higher returns than those teams more apt to consider behavioral motives. We consider several team characteristics and find that financial experience is the most persistent and significant attribute in explaining the outcomes across various deal stages. Another key result from our survey-based evidence is that latent M&A team factors explain approximately 54% of the acquirer fixed effects in announcement return regressions.

Determinants and Value Effects of Early Announcements in Takeovers

Journal of Corporate Finance, 2018, with Nihat Aktas and Burcin Yurtoglu

Best AFFI 2017 Conference Paper; Media coverage: Les Echos 


Some bidders voluntarily announce a merger negotiation before the definitive agreement. We propose an “announce-to-signal” explanation to these early announcements: they allow bidders to signal to target shareholders high synergies so as to overcome negotiation frictions and improve success rates. Consistent with signaling, we show that negotiation frictions predict earlier announcements. Early announced transactions are associated with higher expected synergies, offer premium, completion rates, and public competition. Moreover, bidder announcement returns do not suggest overpayment and the existence of agency issues in these transactions. Taken collectively, our findings rule out alternative explanations such as managerial learning from investors and jump bidding.