"What's Hot in Finance (2008-2012)?"

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

As in years past, 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 and JFQA.

I attach their product which you may find useful as an editor. If not, apologies for cluttering your inbox.

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

  1. Classification into sub-topics is even more difficult than last year. There are more papers published which are not only intra-discipline but also inter-disciplinary. Law and finance is the hottest inter-disciplinary topic. Papers on the crisis are trending down.
  2. The ratio between empirical to theory remains steady at 4:1. Theory is trending up in corporate finance, but trending down in asset pricing.
  3. In corporate finance, the dominance of the old chestnuts - capital structure and corporate governance -- is trending up.
  4. In asset pricing, the analysis of pricing of specific assets is trending up.
  5. In investments, the number of hedge fund papers is increasing.
  6. The death of market microstructure has been exaggerated. Liquidity remains popular.
  7. There is a small but steady fraction of banking papers published.
  8. Finance journals dominate. Amongst finance journals, JF has regained its position as No 1.
  9. Top non-finance journals publish many finance papers. With the notable exception of QJE, these journals have similar impact factors as the top 3 finance journals.

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