Skip to content


Peer Reviewed Publications | Working Papers | Law Review Publications | Blog Posts | Roundtables, Panels & Legal Symposia | Conference Participation

Broadly speaking, Josh White’s research examines how information asymmetries and divergent incentives between managers and capital market participants influence corporate actions and value. Professor White’s research agenda, significantly shaped by his postdoctoral experience as a financial economist with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), focuses on the role of corporate governance, disclosure, and securities regulation in balancing the SEC’s often competing missions of protecting investors and helping companies raise capital. Since these issues occur at the intersection of finance, law, and accounting, Joshua T. White’s research agenda is highly interdisciplinary. Professor Josh White split this page into four sections: 1) Peer Reviewed Publications, 2) Working Papers (papers undergoing peer-review), 3) Law Review Publications, and 4) Policy White Papers (studies that seek to inform regulators and lawmakers on proposed SEC rulemaking).

Peer Reviewed Publications

      1. Proxy advisory firms and corporate shareholder engagement,” with Aiyesha Dey and Austin Starkweather. Review of Financial Studies, conditionally accepted, 2024. [Appendix] [Blog] 

        This study investigates the impact of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) on firms’ shareholder engagement using a quasi-natural experiment. Firms receiving treatment exhibit swift and substantive increases in engagement, especially when their boards have higher agency conflicts and directors are more likely to lose voting support from ISS. Increases in engagement persist over time, which shareholders appear to value. Our analysis sheds light on an unexplored channel through which ISS positively influences firms’ governance and information environments.

      2. The saliency of the CEO pay ratio,” with Audra Boone and Austin Starkweather. Review of Finance, 28(3), 1059-1104, 2024. [Appendix] [Blog] [Data] [Journal]

        The SEC’s CEO pay ratio disclosure rule can impact employee perceptions of their pay and the CEO, even if it does not offer new information. We find that reporting a high ratio lowers employee pay satisfaction and views of the CEO and hinders productivity growth. These results occur even when the CEO and employee pay information was previously known. Companies with high ratios often use discretionary choices in pay ratio disclosures and receive more media attention, but neither influence employee reactions to reporting a high ratio. This suggests that mandating simple disclosures on complex ESG issues can have unintended negative effects on employees due to the saliency of the information.

      3. Reproducibility in Management Science,” with Miloš Fišar, Christoph Huber, Elena Katok, Ali Ozkes, and the Management Science Reproducibility Collaboration, Management Science, 70(3), 1343-1356, 2023. (Member of the MSRC[Journal]

        We evaluate the reproducibility of nearly 500 articles in Management Science before and after the 2019 Data and Code Disclosure policy. The reproducibility rate soared to 95% for articles with accessible data under the new policy, a leap from the 12% voluntary compliance rate and 55% reproducibility before the policy.

      4. Deregulating innovation capital: The effects of the JOBS Act on biotech startups,” with Craig Lewis. Review of Corporate Finance Studies, 12(2), 240-290, 2023. [Appendix] [Blog] [Data] [Journal]

        We show that the JOBS Act led to increased innovation and capital formation in biotech startups, with more IPOs and a focus on rare diseases and cancer. This legislation also contributed to greater biopharma R&D investment, resulting in more patents, clinical trials, and improved success rates, ultimately providing economic and societal benefits without compromising financial reporting quality. 

      5. Labor mobility and antitakeover provisions,” with Aiyesha Dey,  Journal of Accounting and Economics, 71(2-3), 101388, 2021. [Appendix] [Blog] [Journal]

        We find that firms facing increased acquisition threats strengthen their antitakeover provisions (ATPs) to bond with employees and protect their human capital. This response is especially notable when firms have high ex-ante employee mobility and human capital, and prioritize employee relations, ultimately using ATPs to safeguard long-term value creation incentives for employees.

      6. Ongoing SEC disclosures by foreign firms,” with Audra Boone and Kathryn Schumann-Foster, The Accounting Review, 96(3), 91-120, 2021. [Appendix 1]  [Appendix 2] [Blog] [Journal]

        This study shows a trend of U.S.-listed foreign firms incorporating in disclosure havens that have fewer event-driven disclosure obligations, leading to fewer SEC Form 6-K filings, yet they experience heightened investor interest and market response for each filing. We argue that the SEC’s one-size-fits-all approach to foreign private issuer disclosure has resulted in an increasing disparity in information flow, despite strong demand for and reaction to disclosures from firms in weaker home market regimes.

      7. Qualified residential mortgages and default risk,” with Ioannis Floros, Journal of Banking and Finance, 70, 86-104, 2016. [Appendix] [Journal]

        The Dodd-Frank Act requires regulators to define a Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) considering factors that result in lower default levels. We show that credit scores and loan-to-value ratios are significant predictors of default and effectively balance reduced default risk with capital access, but are not included in the final QRM equals Qualified Mortgage (QM) definition, impacting residential mortgage securitization, risk retention, and disclosure policies.

      8. The effect of institutional ownership on firm transparency and information production,” with Audra Boone, Journal of Financial Economics, 117, 508-533, 2015. [Journal]

        This study explores the causal effects of institutional ownership on firms’ information and trading environments using a shock to passive index ownership. Higher institutional ownership is linked to increased management disclosure, analyst following, and liquidity, which in turn lowers information asymmetry, improves monitoring, and reduces trading costs.

      9. Differences in the information environment prior to seasoned equity offerings under relaxed disclosure regulation,” with Sarah Clinton and Tracie Woidtke, Journal of Accounting and Economics, 58, 59-78, 2014. [Journal]

        The SEC’s Securities Offering Reform (SOR) of 2005 aimed to improve the information environment and capital formation efficiency by easing disclosure restrictions prior to follow-on equity offerings. The study found that SOR led to increased disclosure before seasoned equity offerings, resulting in a richer information environment with capital formation benefits, including more frequent and accurate management earnings forecasts and more positive stock returns without reversals.

      10. Appointments of academic directors,” with Tracie Woidtke, Harold Black, and Robert Schweitzer, Journal of Corporate Finance, 28, 135-151, 2014. [Journal]

        The study examines the appointment of academics (professors, deans, etc.) to corporate boards of directors and finds that they are typically selected by small- and mid-cap firms expanding their boards. The market reacts favorably to board appointment of academics in science, medicine, and engineering for their expertise, as well as business school administrators for their networks, but shows little reaction to business or law professors, emphasizing the importance of recognizing heterogeneity in the director selection process.

Working Papers

      1. Human capital disclosure and workforce turnover,” with Aiyesha Dey, Peter Haslag, and Berk Sensoy. [Blog]
        • We find that human capital disclosures are informative and responsive to changes in the stock and flow of the workforce. Two SEC rule changes encouraged firms to provide more human capital information, especially firms that had previously under-disclosed.

        • Presented at 2023 FARS Midyear Meeting, 2023 Bretton Woods Conference, 2022 FMA Annual Meeting, 2022 Hawai’i Accounting Research Conference
      1. The SEC’s pay versus performance disclosure: Do investors Care?” with Aiyesha Dey, Berk Sensoy, and Austin Starkweather.
        • We study how investors initially reacted and voted in response to the SEC’s new Pay Versus Performance (PVP) rules on executive compensation. Our findings show positive market reactions, especially in firms with less sophisticated investors and longer proxy statements. Investors favored disclosures where executive pay matched performance, significantly influencing their votes on Say-On-Pay and compensation committee director elections. The evidence suggests that the PVP rule’s disclosures simplified the interpretation of executive compensation information, making it more understandable and accessible.
        • Presented at University of South Carolina, University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University, Wayne State University, 2024 Drexel Corporate Governance Governance, 2024 Delaware Weinberg Center-ECGI Corporate Governance Symposium, 2024 INSEAD Accounting Symposium, 4th Annual Boca-ECGI Corporate Finance and Governance Conference, 
      2. The role of the media in speculative markets: Evidence from non-fungible tokens (NFTs),” with Sean Wilkoff and Serhat Yildiz.
        • Prior work shows that news media can have both positive and negative effects on speculative markets. In the case of NFTs, we show that news coverage increases market activity but also reduces seller returns and volatility. This suggests that the media plays an information gatekeeper role by educating readers on the risks of NFTs.
        • Presented at 2023 ASSA Annual Meeting, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 8th ICGS Governance Conf., 6th Shanghai-Edinburgh Fintech Conf.,  5th UWA Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Conf., Economics of Financial Technology Conf. 2023.
      3. The effect of celebrity endorsements on crypto,” with Sean Wilkoff. [Appendix]
        • This study examines the relation between celebrity endorsements and cryptocurrency outcomes, finding that such endorsements increase initial coin offering (ICO) initial success but do not guarantee long-term success due to the loss of price informativeness from their substitute role of pre-sales. The study also associates celebrity-endorsed ICOs with higher scam likelihood and identifies properties of social media endorsements leading to scams, emphasizing the need for thorough due diligence before endorsing or investing in digital assets.
        • Presented at U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Cryptocurrency Research Conference 2023, Web3 Financing and Inclusivity Virtual Symposium, 2023 FMA Annual Meeting
      4. Local policy uncertainty and firm disclosure,” with Audra Boone and Y. Abby Kim. [Blog]
        • Managers adjust voluntary disclosure in response to local policy uncertainty created by gubernatorial elections, providing more frequent and informative disclosures without reducing real activities. This increase in voluntary disclosure is more pronounced for firms with higher external information demand, more investment, and lower disclosure costs.
        • Best paper award finalist: FMA Annual Meeting, FMA European Conference
        • Presented at U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, 2017 FMA Annual Meeting, 2018 FMA European Conference
      5. Is the bottom line the top priority? A choice model of revenue and earnings guidance.” with Audra Boone, Craig Lewis, and Austin Starkweather.
        • Managers have been providing 30% more revenue than earnings forecasts, leading to a joint exploration of the decision to provide or forego revenue and/or earnings guidance. A model that combines a random effects multinomial logit model, instrumental variables, and selection bias correction reveals that predictable guidance policies increase forecast credibility, with the market response driven more by managerial guidance than analyst revisions, and non-guiders switching to guidance when it is the expected choice.
        • Presented at Bocconi University, University of Mississippi, University of Wyoming
      6. “Exogenous changes in analyst coverage prior to seasoned equity offerings,” with Tracie Woidtke.

† scheduled

Law Review Publications

      1. Quantified cost-benefit analysis at the SEC,” Administrative Law Review Accord, 2, 53-79, 2016. [Data][Blog]
        • The SEC has faced criticism for its economic analyses in rulemaking, with Schwartz and Nelson (2016) arguing that the SEC’s cost estimate for the Conflict Minerals Rule was poorly constructed and inaccurate. In response, I review these criticisms, discusses the SEC’s adherence to its own best practices, and suggests pragmatic approaches to improve economic analysis and quantified cost-benefit analysis in general.
      2. The evolving role of economic analysis in SEC rulemaking,” Georgia Law Review, 50, 293-325, 2015. [Data][Blog]
        • Following judicial setbacks in the early 2010s, the SEC significantly increased resources allocated to its Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (DERA), which experienced a 70% growth in proportional net program costs and doubled its staff of Ph.D. financial economists. Examining the risk retention rulemaking from the Dodd-Frank Act, I find that new guidance introduced by DERA has led to more rigorous and responsive economic analysis. I emphasize the importance of a well-defined economic baseline in cost-benefit analysis.

Invited Blog Posts

Professor Joshua White has also contributed invited blog posts to the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance Financial Regulation and the Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog.

      1. Human capital disclosure, (with Peter Haslag, Berk Sensoy),  Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, January 19, 2022.
      2. Corporate liquidity provision and share repurchase programs,” (with Craig Lewis),  Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, October 8, 2021.
      3. Proxy Advisory Firms and Corporate Shareholder Engagement,” (with Aiyesha Dey, Austin Starkweather), Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, July 8, 2021.
      4. Deregulating innovation capital: The effects of the JOBS Act on biotech startups,” (with Craig Lewis), Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog, September 17, 2020.
      5. Spinning the CEO pay ratio disclosure” (with Audra Boone, Austin Starkweather), Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog, November 25, 2019.
      6. Trade secrets protection and antitakeover provisions,” (with Aiesha Dey), Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, June 27, 2018.
      7. Political uncertainty and firm disclosure,” (with Audra Boone, Abby Kim), Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, September 1, 2017.
      8. Quantified cost-benefit analysis at the SEC,” Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog, September 13, 2016.
      9. SEC disclosures by foreign firms” (with Audra Boone, Kathryn Schumann), Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, November 10, 2015.
      10. The evolving role of economic analysis in SEC rulemaking,” Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog, September 23, 2015.

Roundtables, Panels & Legal Symposia

Josh White has been an invited plenary panelist, moderator, organizer, and discussant at numerous roundtables, panels, and law symposia that focus on securities regulation. 

      1. Moderator and Organizer, “AI and the Future of Finance,” Hans Stoll Financial Markets Research Center Conference, Nashville, TN, April 2024.
      2. Panelist, “De-Fi and Ce-Fi Regulatory Climate,” Financial Management Association, Annual Meeting, Chicago IL, October 2023. 
      3. Moderator and Organizer, “Regulating Digital Assets,” Crypto and Blockchain Economic Forum (CBER), Virtual Symposium, March 2023.
      4. Discussant, “Emerging Corporate Law Issues,” 22nd Annual Law & Business Conference, Vanderbilt Law School, Virtual Event, September 2020.
      5. Panelist, “How Policy-Makers Use Academic Research—Disclosure and Governance,” Financial Market Policy Development & Research, PhD Student Symposium, University of Texas-Austin, Virtual Event, August 2020.
      6. Discussant, “The Future of Corporate Governance: Tenure Voting,” 21st Annual Law & Business Conference, Vanderbilt Law School, Nashville TN, May 2019.
      7. Discussant, “Roundtable on Transformational Financial Reform,” Vanderbilt University Law School, Nashville TN, June 2018.
      8. Presenter, “SEC 2017 Thomas A. Biolsi International Institute for Compliance and Examination,” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington DC, July 2017.
      9. Presenter, “NASAA Capital Formation Roundtable,” North American Securities Administrators Association, Washington DC, March 2017.
      10. Presenter, “Outcomes of Investing in OTC Stock,” Microcap Fraud Task Force Bootcamp, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, New York Regional Office, June 2016.
      11. Plenary Panelist, “The Extraterritorial Application of Federal Financial Markets Regulations,” National Business Law Scholars Conference, Seton Hall School of Law, June 2015.
      12. Plenary Panelist, “Financial Regulation: Reflections and Projections,” Georgia Law Review Symposium, University of Georgia School of Law, March 2015.
      13. Presenter, “Trends in Capital Markets: Going, Public, Staying Private, & Everything In-between,” U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, Washington DC, April 2013.

Conference Participation

Professor Joshua White has served in various roles such as presenter, discussant, moderator, and program committee member at multiple conferences. Below is a list in reverse chronological order over the past five years.

      • 2024
        • SFS Cavalcade (Discussant)†
        • 4th CBER Annual Conference (Session Chair)†
        • Drexel Corporate Governance Conference (Presenter*)
        • INSEAD Accounting Symposium (Presenter*)
        • Delaware Weinberg Center-ECGI Corporate Governance Symposium (Presenter*)
      •  2023
        • Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) Annual Meeting (Presenter)
        • American Finance Association (AFA) Annual Meeting (Presenter*)
        • NBER Corporate Finance Fall Meeting (Discussant) [Slides]
        • 4th Boca-ECGI Corporate Finance and Governance Conference (Presenter*)
        • Bretton Woods Conference (Presenter*)
        • AAA Financial Accounting and Reporting Section (FARS) Mid-Year Meeting (Presenter)
        • Financial Management Association (FMA) Annual Meeting (Panelist, Presenter*)
        • Web3 Financing and Inclusivity Symposium (Presenter)
        • Economics of Financial Technology Conference (Presenter*)
        • Cryptocurrency Research Conference 2023 (Presenter*)
      • 2022
        • American Finance Association (AFA) Annual Meeting (Discussant)
        • Delaware Weinberg-ECGI Governance Symposium (Presenter)
        • European Finance Association (EFA) Annual Meeting (Presenter*)
        • AAA Financial Accounting and Reporting Section (FARS) Mid-Year Meeting (Presenter, Discussant, Program Committee)
        • Financial Management Association (FMA) European Conference (Presenter*)
        • Financial Management Association (FMA) Annual Meeting (Presenter*)
        • Midwestern Finance Association (MFA) Annual Meeting (Program Committee)
        • Eastern Finance Association Annual Meeting (Presenter*, Executive Program Committee, Best Paper Award Reviewer)
        • Hawai’i Accounting Research Conference (Presenter*)
        • 30th PBFEAM Conference (Presenter*)
        • 15th ABF&E Annual Meeting (Presenter*)
        • 6th Shanghai-Edinburgh Fintech Conference (Presenter*)
        • 8th International Corporate Governance Society Conference (Presenter*, Program Committee)
        • 5th UWA Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference (Presenter*)
        • 2022 New Zealand Finance Meeting (Presenter*)
      • 2021
        • American Finance Association (AFA) Annual Meeting (Discussant)
        • 22nd Annual Conference in Financial Economics and Accounting (CFEA) (Discussant)
        • Eastern Finance Association Annual Meeting (Presenter, Discussant, Program Committee)
        • AAA Financial Accounting and Reporting Section (FARS) Mid-Year Meeting (Program Committee)
        • Financial Management Association (FMA) Annual Meeting (Program Committee, Session Organizer)
      • 2020
        • Drexel Corporate Governance Academic Conference (Presenter)
        • 17th Wells Fargo Advisors Center for Finance and Accounting Research (WFA-CFAR) at Washington University in St. Louis (Presenter)
        • 7th SEC Conference on Financial Market Regulation (Presenter)
        • AAA Financial Accounting and Reporting Section (FARS) Mid-Year Meeting (Discussant, Moderator, Program Committee)
        • American Accounting Association (AAA) Annual Meeting (Presenter*)
        • Financial Management Association (FMA) Annual Meeting (Presenter*, Program Committee, Session Organizer)
        • Midwestern Finance Association (MFA) Annual Meeting (Program Committee)
        • University of Texas-Austin PhD Symposium (Panelist)
        • 22nd Law & Business Conference (Discussant)
      • 2019
        • Finance Down Under Conference (Presenter)
        • American Accounting Association (AAA) Financial Accounting and Reporting Section (FARS) Mid-Year Meeting (Presenter)
        • 21st Law & Business Conference (Discussant)
        • Financial Management Association (FMA) European Conference (Presenter, Discussant)
        • Financial Management Association (FMA) Annual Meeting (Discussant, Program Committee, Session Organizer)
        • 10th Emerging Markets Finance Conference (Presenter)

† scheduled, * coauthor