The Macbeth Factor: The Dark Side of Achievement-driving Analysts

K. Hung CHAN, Ray R. WANG*, Ruixin WANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


He et al. (2018) find achievement-striving analysts exert more effort and exhibit better performance. In this study, we also employ the facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) of analysts as a proxy for achievement drive to re-examine the performance of achievement-striving analysts. We argue that achievement-striving analysts’ superior performance can be alternatively explained by their opportunistic forecast issuances. We find analysts with greater fWHR tend to issue downwardly biased last forecasts before firms’ announcement of actual earnings to curry favour with corporate managers. We also find that analysts with greater fWHR issue more optimistic stock recommendations, especially to underwriting clients of their affiliated brokerage firms, and thus exhibit lower stock picking ability. High-fWHR analysts are also more likely to issue bold positive forecasts but less likely to convey bold negative news. The market shows its concern regarding such opportunistic forecasting behaviour and penalizes analysts with greater fWHR by reacting less to the forecast revisions they issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-361
Number of pages37
Issue number2
Early online date23 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Achievement drive
  • Analyst forecast
  • Facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR)
  • Forecast performance
  • Market reaction
  • Opportunistic forecast

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