Sam Kruger is an Assistant Professor of Finance at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. His research interests include financial intermediation, household finance, real estate, corporate finance, and asset pricing.
How Finance and Economics Research Increased During the Pandemic
As the coronavirus pandemic began, many corporate projects were halted. Meanwhile, academic research production in economics and finance increased by 29%.
As a finance professor, I wanted to understand how COVID-19 made an impact on research in these areas.
To assess the impact, my co-authors and I analyzed yet-to-be-published papers shared in an online repository. These working papers came from faculty at top-50 U.S. economics and finance departments. Our analysis included detailed professional and demographic data hand-collected from CVs and author websites.
So, who produced more research? Overall, researchers who are more central, with broader and more diverse professional networks, experienced higher production gains after the onset of COVID. These robust networks likely help researchers to quickly start projects on new topics.
We found that the pandemic led to several production increases across geographies, job titles, academic departments, and ages with larger increases in top departments and for people under the age of 35. Gender-wise, both men and women experienced production increases with the exception of women between the age of 35 and 49, who experienced no production gains despite large increases for men in the same age group. COVID increased reliance on past co-authorship networks, with larger production gains for authors that are more central to the network.
We can use these study findings as a template to look at how research production will be impacted in other subjects.