Human Capital resource as cost or investment: A market-based analysis

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Human Capital resource as cost or investment: A market-based analysis

This study empirically investigates the myopic behavior of the stock market toward firms’ human capital resource investment, paying particular attention to two key proxies: human resource expenditure and the firm value added allocated to the employees. Focusing on human capital resource investment decisions’ alignment with near versus longer-term emphasis by investors, we examine firms listed in the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 over a five-year period using an established accounting-based valuation model. Our results show that human capital investment discourse leads to overweighting of the forecasted longer-term earnings in the apportionment of share price constituents, suggesting that investors consider investment in employees to generate more return in the longer-term. Additionally, our findings prove that investors respond to firm level human capital resource as an investment generating more return in the longer-term. This emphasises the importance of communicating human capital resource investment information that accurately reflects the firm value creation via employees in external financial reporting.

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