Does Greater Public Scrutiny Hurt a Firm's Performance?

Does Greater Public Scrutiny Hurt a Firm's Performance?

Benjamin Bennett, René Stulz, Zexi Wang

Series number :

Serial Number: 

Date posted :

January 22 2023

Last revised :

January 22 2023
SSRN Share


  • Public Attention • 
  • S&P 500 index addition • 
  • analyst coverage • 
  • investment • 
  • dividends • 
  • share repurchases

Public attention to a firm may provide valuable monitoring, but it may also have a dark side by constraining management’s decisions and distracting it. We use inclusion in the S&P 500 index as a positive shock to public attention. Media coverage, Google searches, SEC downloads, SEC comment letters, shareholder proposals, analyst coverage, and lawsuits increase following inclusion.

Post-inclusion performance falls and is negatively related to the increase in attention. Included firms’ investment and payout policies become more similar to those of index peers and the increase in similarity is positively related to the size of the attention increase.


Real name:
Benjamin Bennett
Real name:
Zexi Wang