"What's Hot in Finance?"

Utpal Bhattacharya
Indiana University
Kelley School of Business
Bloomington, IN 47405


To catalyze the students in my Ph.D. F798 class to think of finance ideas, I asked each one of them to read the abstracts of finance articles published in the last 5 years in JF, JFE, RFS, JFQA and Other Top Non-Finance Journals (QJE, JPE, AER and Management Science).

I attach their product which you may find useful.

Some general observations from the hard data above and the soft data generated from classroom discussions:

  1. Classification into sub-topics is becoming difficult because there are more papers published which are not only inter-topic, but also inter-disciplinary. Finance is very driven by the issues of the day (for example, papers on the crisis are now waning). Issues do not fit in neat silos.

  2. Theory papers remain steady between 20% to 30%, with an uptick in recent years, especially in JF (especially the Smith-Breeden prizes)

  3. Empirical corporate remains the most popular field.

  4. Market microstructure is dying. Or, to give it a positive spin, it has been so successful that it has been subsumed by the other fields.

  5. Finance journals have overtaken accounting journals in cite counts. Amongst finance journals, RFS has climbed steadily to become no 1.

  6. The Other Top Journals publish many finance papers (on an average 15%-20%). The finance papers in QJE and then JPE have very high cites.

Click here to see the PowerPoint slides in PDF format.


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