Julian Atanassov stood at the front of the classroom, attentively absorbing the audience's feedback and quickly jotting down notes. Atanassov, an assistant professor of finance, had just finished presenting his paper "Quiet Life or Managerial Myopia: The Impact of Antitakeover Legislation on Technological Innovation" at the Empirical Research in Corporate Finance Conference held at the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business, August 17-18.
Atanassov's study evaluated more than 14,000 technology companies in states that enacted legislation regulating hostile corporate takeovers. By analyzing the number and quality of patents that companies filed before and after antitakeover legislation took effect, the study concluded that such legislation appears to impede innovation. Atanassov's findings and analysis received accolades from conference attendees-which included more than 40 prominent empirical finance research scholars from around the country. The report on his research also sparked a lively feedback session, with Atanassov clearly welcoming the input.
"This is the first time I presented the paper at a conference," said Atanassov. "The comments from the audience were very thoughtful and insightful." Among the audience comments, Atanassov most valued the ideas about how to better position the paper to emphasize the relationship between innovation and firm value. For instance, Eric Zitzewitz, an assistant professor of economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business who served as Atanassov's discussant, suggested that the study could investigate the impact of antitakeover laws on companies' research and development spending in order to bolster its conclusion.
Atanassov was not the only person to benefit from the exchange of ideas at the conference. In fact, according to attendee David Dennis, the Burton Morgan Chair of Private Enterprise at Purdue University's Krannert School of Management, "Because the Lundquist College of Business's finance department is well known for empirical corporate finance, the event attracted a strong set of papers and participating individuals. It certainly benefited everyone's professional growth."
Engemann Professor of Finance Wayne Mikkelson, chair of the Department of Finance at the Lundquist College of Business, echoed that sentiment, elaborating that "the goal of the conference was to showcase some of the most recent research put into writing and give attendees the chance to make an impact on that research."
The conference was the second specialty forum hosted by the finance department. The department's first conference in 2004 focused on the faculty's expertise in mutual funds. Mikkelson noted that both events were a great success. He also extended his appreciation to the college's Finance Partners for sponsoring this year's event. Finance Partners is a group of donors that supports excellence in finance research and education at the Lundquist College of Business.