Topics in Empirical Corporate Finance

FIN521 Topics in Empirical Corporate Finance

Autumn 2024

  • 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:

    • is knowledgeable of the important topics on the research frontier of empirical corporate finance
    • can evaluate and critique various methods and approaches to conducting empirical research in this area


    The candidate:

    • can formulate hypotheses, plan and carry out empirical research within empirical corporate finance
    • can carry out research and scholarly research work at a high international standard and be able to publish in international peer reviewed finance journals

    General competence

    The candidate:

    • can communicate research within empirical corporate finance, actively participate in debates about the field in national and international scholarly forums, and present his or her own research.

  • Teaching

    The course takes place over four days. Each day covers a mix of lectures and student presentations.

  • Restricted access

    • PhD candidates at NHH
    • PhD candidates at Norwegian institutions
    • PhD candidates at other institutions
    • PhD candidates from the ENGAGE.EU alliance

  • Required prerequisites

    Master-level knowledge of corporate financial economics.

  • Compulsory Activity

    Mandatory class attendance; Write-up of weekly homework assignments; Active class participation. Compulsory activities (work requirements) are valid for one semester after the semester they were obtained.

  • Assessment

    The final course grade is based on an individual written term paper (100%).

    Re-take is offered the semester after the course was offered for students with valid compulsory activities (work requirements).

  • Grading Scale


  • Computer tools

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

  • Literature

    Selected articles from the following volumes:

    Eckbo, B. Espen (ed.), 2007, Handbook of Corporate Finance: Empirical Corporate Finance, Volume 1, (Elsevier/North-Holland Handbook of Finance Series), ISBN: 978-0-44-4508980.

    Eckbo, B. Espen (ed.), 2008, Handbook of Corporate Finance: Empirical Corporate Finance, Volume 2, (Elsevier/North-Holland Handbook of Finance Series), ISBN: 978-0-44-4530905.

    Constantinides, Geaorge M, Milton Harris and Rene Stulz (eds.), 2013, Handbook of the Economics of Finance, Volume 2A, (North-Holland Handbooks of Economics Series). ISBN: 978-0-44-453594-8.

    Lo, Andrew W. and Robert C. Merton (eds.), Annual Review of Financial Economics, Vol. 1 - 15. (Annual Reviews, Palo Alto, Calif.)

    Foundations and Trends in Finance, Vol. 1-14. (NOW Publishers, Inc.)

  • This is an ENGAGE-course

    This course is offered to PhD candidates from the ENGAGE.EU alliance.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered Spring 2024.

Course responsible

Professor B. Espen Eckbo, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College (USA) and Adjuct Professor, Department of Finance, NHH

Internal NHH contact person, Associate Professor Konrad Raff