Song, Victor, Hasan Cavusoglu, Mary L. Z. Ma, Gene Moo Lee (2023) “IT Risk and Stock Price Crash Risk,” Under 2nd round review at Information Systems Research.
- Presented at UBC Cybersecurity 2018 (Vancouver, BC) and HICSS 2020 (Maui, HI)
- Based on Victor Song’s Master’s Thesis and HICSS 2020 Paper
IT risk, especially cybersecurity risk, has rapidly increased and become a top concern for researchers, regulators, firm managers, and investors. This study creates a novel firm-level IT risk measure applicable to all US-listed firms by applying the BERTopic topic modeling to risk factors reported in Item 1A of the 10-K annual reports. We validate the measure with multiple approaches including cross-validations, presenting illustrative excerpts of IT risk factors, conducting cross-sectional and over-time distribution analyses, and analyzing firm characteristics associated with IT risk. The measure is found to be heightened in IT-intensive industries and for firms with larger sizes, higher profits, and better growth potential, and it can predict future data breaches. Using this ex-ante IT risk measure, we examine the relation between IT risk and stock price crash risk, which reflects a firm’s propensity to stock price crashes. Our findings suggest that IT risk is positively associated with crash risk, and we also identify that downward operating risk and predictability for data breaches are two mechanisms for the crash risk effect of IT risk. By decomposing IT risk into cybersecurity risk and non-cybersecurity IT risk, we find that both types of IT risk increase crash risk, but the effect of cybersecurity risk is stronger than that of non-cybersecurity IT risk, consistent with their different risk natures. We further observe that the novelty and readability of IT risk factors strengthen the crash risk effects of IT risk, consistent with the notion that the novelty represents updated and increased IT risk, and readability improves the understanding of IT risk. Lastly, difference-in-differences analyses reveal that IT risk increases stock price crash risk, not the other way around. We conclude the paper by discussing academic contributions and practical implications in the context of the SEC’s directives on reporting and managing IT risk and cybersecurity risk.