Politicians’ hometown favoritism and corporate investments

The role of social identity

Ping Guo, Guifeng Shi, Gary Gang Tian, Siqi Duan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We investigate the effects of governors’ hometown favoritism on the corporate investments of Chinese listed firms. Exploiting the exogenous distribution of governors’ tenure in a difference-in-differences research design, we find that firms in an incumbent governor's hometown make higher investments by 10.26%. This favoritism effect is more pronounced when any of the following are true about a governor's hometown: has a culture background of high collectivism, has strong clan culture, uses a minor local dialect, or if the governor has strong clan ties. Additional analyses rule out the social ties generated through living or working experiences as an alternative explanation. Neither political connections nor self-interest incentives explain the effects of hometown favoritism. Furthermore, the increased investments are overall detrimental for investment efficiency. Our study contributes to the literature by applying the social identity theory in corporate research and provides novel evidence on how politicians’ social identity affects corporate investment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106092
JournalJournal of Banking and Finance
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Feb 2021


  • Corporate investments
  • Social identity
  • Governors
  • Hometown favoritism
  • Investment efficiency

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