Research Interests

My research interests are in empirical corporate finance, behavioral corporate finance, financial econometrics, and textual analysis.


  1. Dynamic Capital Structure Adjustment and the Impact of Fractional Dependent Variables, with Ralf Elsas (LMU Munich), Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 50 (5), 1105–1133, 2015.
  1. Heterogeneity in the Speed of Adjustment towards Target Leverage, with Ralf Elsas (LMU Munich), International Review of Finance 11 (2), 181–211, 2011.
  1. Empirical Capital Structure Research: New Ideas, Recent Evidence, and Methodological Issues, with Ralf Elsas (LMU Munich), Journal of Business Economics (Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft), Special Issue 6, 39–71, 2008.

Working Papers

  1. Capital Market Access and Cash Flow Allocation During the Financial Crisis, with Vidhan Goyal (HKUST Business School), February 2017.
    • Semi-finalist FMA (2016) Best Paper Award (Financial Markets and Institutions).
    • Download:
    • Keywords: Stock market access, private firms, financial constraints, short-termist pressures, cash flow allocation, financial crisis, bank-based vs. market-based financial markets.
To understand how a stock market listing influences corporate policies if external financing is restricted, we examine how European public and counterfactual private firms jointly adjust their investment, financing, payout policies during the global financial crisis - when bank lending tightened. Our findings suggest that a stock market listing provides better access to external debt financing during the crisis as public firms, on average, net issue more long-term debt. Excess debt financing is, however, not allocated to investments but mostly to payouts to shareholders. Thus, a stock market listing relaxes financial constraints but induces managers to cater to shareholders during the crisis. Independent of a country's financial market structure (bank-based vs. market based) in our European firm sample, a stock market listing always provides a firm with more long-term debt during the crisis. In bank-based economies, this excess debt is mostly allocated to maintain investments while in market-based economies, inducing higher short-termist pressures, a stock-listing leads to lower investments and excess debt is used to maintain payouts.
    1. Managerial Optimism and the Perception of Financial Constraints, with Tobias Heizer (LMU Munich), September 2015.
      • Download: Available upon request.
      • Keywords: Managerial optimism, perceived financing constraints, distinguishing behavioral and rational predictions, matched survey and financial statement data.
We find that optimistic managers are more likely to perceive financing constraints, which is a fundamental but previously untested prediction of behavioral corporate finance theory. However, this effect is statistically significant but relatively small compared to other previously identified determinants of perceived financing constraints. Moreover, the vast majority of optimistic managers actually do not perceive any financing constraints. Our findings have implications for both behavioral corporate finance and financial constraints research. We argue that previous findings relating optimism and corporate policies are probably driven by perceived financing constraints and not optimism. Apart from their potential usefulness, commonly applied financial constraint indices are likely to be biased by not accounting for managerial optimism. Our analysis is based on large survey panel data for high-level managers of 2,897 German firms for the period 1995 to 2010, which is matched with financial and non-financial firm-level information. The data enable us to implement a survey based measure of managerial optimism and to directly access the managers’ perception of financing constraints from survey answers.
    1. The Information Content of ICO White Papers, with Alexander Schandlbauer (University of Southern Denmark and Danish Finance Institute), June 2019.
White papers are likely the most important source of information provided to potential ICO investors in platform-based ventures issuing utility tokens. We use textual analysis to measure the information content of white paper documents as a proxy for information asymmetry between ICO issuers and investors. Our comprehensive empirical evidence suggests that good type ICO issuers signal through the provision of excess or new textual information not contained in recent and peer white papers. Signaling is impaired during the ICO process as investors include potentially biased expert ratings in their investment decision-making. This results in good and bad type ICO issuers successfully raising funds and exchange-listing their tokens. Once tokens trade in the secondary market, the informative white paper content signal helps to separate good and bad ICO issuers but the expert rating do not. This generates adverse selection costs as not all good ICO issuers receive funding or refrain from tapping the token markets.

Work in Progress

  1. An Autopsy of a Total Stock Market Failure, with Ioannis Floros (Iowa State) and Shane Johnson (Texas A&M), March 2018.
    We study a unique case in which a stock market experienced an Akerlof-type failure. We find that a relatively small fraction of ‘bad’ firms combined with high levels of asymmetric information led to a series of Akerlof-type spillovers onto good firms evident in increased trading costs and reduced liquidity and volume. As good firms suffered adverse pricing effects, they exited the market, leading to increases in the fraction of bad firms and further deterioration in the market. Regulators intervened attempting to rescue the market, but the problems accelerated; regulators ultimately shut down the market. Our work sheds light on how stock markets with low transparency and low listing requirements can fail with even just a small fraction of bad firms.
  2. Unionization, Spill-Over Effects, and Corporate Policies, with Nikolas Breitkopf (LMU Munich) and Harm Schütt (LMU Munich), June 2017.
    Labor unions influence firm decisions depending on how powerful they are. We develop a new measure of union power faced by individual firms. Our measure is based on annual 10-K filings and reflects the amount of union and labor related discourse in the narrative parts of the annual report. Thus, in contrast to traditional measures of unionization, the text-based measure allows researchers to analyze firm-specific, intra-industry variation of the degree of union influence over time for all listed US-firms. The measure correlates significantly with union elections, showing an increase in union influence before elections, and various other observable determinants of union power, such as industry unionization, labor laws, firm characteristics and the macroeconomic environment.
  3. Real Regulatory Spill-Over, Catharina Klepsch (LMU Munich) and Daniel Rettl (University of Georgia), June 2017.
  4. Peer Effects and the IPO Decision, with Daniel Rettl (University of Georgia), March 2016.
  5. Leverage and Credit Ratings Revisited: Evidence from High-Dimensional Estimation, with Martin Spindler (University of Hamburg), November 2015.


  • The Information Content of ICO White Papers
  • University of Munich (LMU) Workshop, 2019, Austria; Midwest Finance Association 2019, Chicago; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee 2019; Second Toronto FinTech Conference 2019, Toronto.
  • An Autopsy of a Total Stock Market Failure
  • French Finance Association (AFFI) 2018, Paris; WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management, Vallendar, 2018; University of Salzburg 2017, Austria; HKUST Business School 2017, Hong Kong.
  • Managerial Optimism and the Perception of Financial Constraints
  • Eastern Finance Association 2019, Miami; Financial Management Association 2018, San Diego; Behavioral Finance Working Group Conference at Queen Mary University 2018, London; French Finance Association (AFFI) 2018, Paris; Midwest Finance Association 2018, San Antonio; Asian Finance Association 2017, Seoul; German Academic Association for Business Research (VHB) 2016, Munich; Munich Finance Day 2016, Munich.
  • Capital Market Access and Cash Flow Allocation During the Financial Crisis
  • International Association for Applied Econometrics (IAAE) 2018, Montreal; Swiss Society for Financial Market Research (SGF) 2018, Zurich; Midwest Finance Association 2018, San Antonio; University of Hong Kong 2017, Hong Kong; ESCP Paris 2017, France; University of Southern Denmark 2017, Denmark; Financial Management Association 2016, Las Vegas; European Financial Management Association (EFMA) 2016, Basel; Munich Finance Day 2016, Munich; Rotterdam School of Management 2014, Rotterdam; Kühne Logistics University 2014, Hamburg; UCLA Anderson School of Management 2014, Los Angeles.
  • Dynamic Capital Structure Adjustment and the Impact of Fractional Dependent Variables
  • Financial Management Association 2011, Denver; Campus for Finance Research Conference 2011, Vallendar; Eastern Finance Association 2010, Miami Beach; Swiss Society for Financial Market Research (SGF) 2010, Zurich; Midwest Finance Association 2010, Las Vegas; Finance PhDWorkshop 2009, HKUST Business School, Hong Kong.
  • Heterogeneity in the Speed of Adjustment towards Target Leverage
  • Swiss Society for Financial Market Research (SGF) 2011, Zurich; Midwest Finance Association 2011, Chicago; Munich Finance Day 2011, Munich.
  • Discussions
  • 2nd SDU Finance Workshop 2017; Midwest Finance Association 2018; SDU Finance Workshop 2017; Asian Finance Association 2017; EFMA 2016; FMA 2011; Campus for Finance 2011; German Finance (DGF) 2010; Eastern Finance 2010; Midwest Finance 2010; Swiss Finance (SGF) 2010, 2011; Banken-Workshop 2007, Institut für Kreditwesen, University of Münster.

Grants and Awards

  • Scientific Network “Textual Analysis in Economics and Finance”, DFG
  • Principal Investigator, € 24,188, 2016–2017.
  • German Science Foundation (DFG) grant for conducting three workshops for network members and guest speakers (11 members from LMU Munich, Mannheim, HU Berlin, UT Austin, University of Hamburg, Georgia Tech, and Aalto University).
  • Research Collaboration Grant, BayCHINA
  • Principal Investigator, € 7,808, 2014–2016.
  • Travel funding for research collaboration from Bayerisches Hochschulzentrum für China for project “Capital Market Access and Cash Flow Allocation”.
  • Research Scholarship, DFG
  • German Science Foundation (DFG) scholarship for conducting research at UCLA Anderson School of Management, project “Leverage Adjustments: Evidence from European Private Firms”. 03/2013—02/2014 (12 months).

Doctoral Dissertation Prize, LMU Management Alumni, 2011.
Travel Grants, DAAD and LMU Management Alumni, 2010–2016.

Professional Service


    • Journal of Corporate Finance
    • Journal of Empirical Finance
    • Journal of Financial Econometrics
    • Research Grants Council (RGC) Hong Kong
    • European Journal of Finance
    • Journal of Commodity Markets
    • Empirical Economics
    • Journal of Business Economics (Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft)
    • International Journal of Financial Innovation in Banking

    Editorial Board Member

    International Journal of Financial Innovation in Banking, since 2014.