Academic journal article Quarterly Journal of Finance and Accounting

Differences in Academic Content, Placement, and Research Productivity among Doctoral Programs in Finance

Academic journal article Quarterly Journal of Finance and Accounting

Differences in Academic Content, Placement, and Research Productivity among Doctoral Programs in Finance

Article excerpt

Introduction

Doctoral programs in finance have been a topic of interest for many years. Early studies include the investigation of admission, residency, and dissertation requirements of the programs (Shin and Hubbard, 1988), differences in research productivity and influence across academic institutions (Borokhovich et al., 1995, 1998), and an examination of the labor mobility of finance graduates (Chan et al., 2002). More recent studies have examined the requirements for promotion and tenure (Griffiths and Winters, 2005) and the research contributions of finance graduates (Heck and Cooley, 2005).

One of the last contributions in this area shows that the academic content of a program has a significant impact on the publication records of its graduates (Brusa et al., 2006). More specifically, their results indicate that the number of courses in investments, macroeconomics, microeconomics, continuous time finance, and stochastic calculus has a positive influence on measures of research productivity. Their results also reveal that while the majority of programs require courses in investments (94.64 percent of programs), microeconomics (94.64 percent of programs), and macroeconomics (82.14 percent of the programs), only a few require courses in continuous time finance (17.86 percent of programs) and stochastic calculus (35.71 percent of programs).

The significant influence of these courses and the different requirements of the programs trigger an interesting question: Could we observe differences in terms of placement and research productivity between graduates from more mathematically-oriented programs (those requesting classes in continuous time finance and/or stochastic calculus) and graduates from programs without these requirements? Perhaps students graduating from the more mathematically-oriented programs have a different level of knowledge that provides the basis for a different level of productivity. In other words, the more mathematically-oriented programs may provide students with additional knowledge and technical skills that establish the foundations for higher levels of research productivity and better opportunities in the job market. The main objective of this investigation is to examine this issue.

The goals of this study are to:

1) identify the courses required by doctoral programs that are mathematically-oriented (those programs requiring classes in continuous time finance and/or stochastic calculus) versus the courses required by doctoral programs without these mathematical demands,

2) examine the placement and publication records of the graduates from these two types of programs, and

3) investigate whether differences in the academic content of the programs explain differences in placements and publication records.

To attain these goals, we examine the courses required by 56 doctoral programs in finance. Among these programs, 25 require continuous time finance and/or stochastic calculus and 31 do not. We assume that programs requiring continuous time finance and/or stochastic calculus are more mathematically-oriented than programs without these requirements. We hypothesize that the more mathematically-oriented programs may provide students with additional knowledge and technical skills that contribute to a higher level of research productivity and better job opportunities. To test this hypothesis and assess the influence of program content on placement and research productivity, we examine the placement and publications of 993 individuals who graduated from doctoral programs in finance between 1990 and 2004. The results indicate that, when compared to their counterparts, the graduates from programs requiring more mathematically-oriented courses have greater access to more prestigious institutions and publish more frequently in the leading finance journals.

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