Topics in Empirical Corporate Finance

FIN521 Topics in Empirical Corporate Finance

Autumn 2022

Spring 2023
  • Topics

    This intensive PhD course surveys important empirical regularities in corporate finance. There are four broad themes:

    (1) Performance econometrics and event studies: Event study design and portfolio performance evaluation procedures used to infer valuation impacts of corporate actions. Examples of performance estimation

    (2) Corporate funding policies and security design: What do funding policies imply for the horse-race between classical trade-off and pecking order theories? How does security design lower bankruptcy costs, and what constitute an optimal bankruptcy system?

    (3) Corporate takeovers: Valuation effects of takeover activity, sources of takeover gains, and empirical investigations of optimal bidding theories for competition preemption, the payment method (cash versus stock), bidder toeholds in the target.

    (4) Corporate governance and incentives: The international corporate governance debate. Self-dealing and the structure of boards. Optimal versus actual executive and director compensation policies.

  • Learning outcome

    The candidate should, on successfully completing the course, be able to:


    •Discuss and have an in-depth understanding of the current research frontier of the main topics of the course.

    •Explain corporate funding policies and security design.

    •Explain bidding and payment mechanisms in corporate take-overs.

    •Explain the international research debate on corporate governance and incentives.


    •Apply performance econometric event studies.

    •Formulate problems, plan and carry out research within the abovementioned topics.


    •Communicate and discuss research with a peer audience.

    •Do independent research on the topics of this course.

  • Teaching

    Lectures, student presentations, and classroom discussions.

  • Restricted access

    The course is open for PhD students only.

  • Required prerequisites

    It requires course participants to have at least a master-level knowledge of corporate financial economics.

  • Compulsory Activity

    Mandatory class attendance.

    Write-up of weekly homework assignments and active class participation.

    Satisfactory presentations of research papers.

    Submission of a satisfactory term paper.

  • Assessment

    The final course grade is based on the oral presentation of the student's term paper (100%).

  • Grading Scale


  • Computer tools

    Computer with standard statistics software (e.g. Stata)

  • Literature

    BEE-1: Eckbo, B. Espen (ed.), 2007, Handbook of Corporate Finance: Empirical corporate Finance, Volume 1, Elsevier/North-Holland Hand book of Finance Series, ISBN 978-0-444-50898-0.

    BEE-2: Eckbo, B. Espen (ed.), 2007, Handbook of Corporate Finance: Empirical corporate Finance, Volume 2, Elsevier/North-Holland Hand book of Finance Series, ISBN 978-0-444-53090-5.

    In addition, a number of articles will be assigned.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered spring 2022.

Course responsible

Adjunct Professor B. Espen Eckbo, Department of Finance, NHH.