The effect of short sale constraints on analyst forecast quality: Evidence from a natural experiment in China

Hao Li, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law
Zhisheng Li, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law
Bingxuan Lin, University of Rhode Island
Xiaowei Xu, College of Business


We examine the effect of short selling on analyst forecast quality following the pilot program in China in 2010 that allows short selling for selected companies. We find that reduction in short sale constraints significantly improves analyst forecast quality for these pilot-firms when compared to non-pilot firms. Specifically, analyst forecast errors for pilot firms are smaller and forecast dispersions are narrower. Further, we show that the improvement of analyst forecast quality is more prominent for firms with lower prior price efficiencies and disclosure quality, and in locations with lower institutional development. Our findings suggest that short selling activities serve an important role in facilitating the speed of information incorporation and improving the information environment faced by firms.