LAC Finance Workshop

Faculty at liberal arts colleges with teaching and/or research interests in financial economics are invited to join our community by emailing the organizer, Abigail Hornstein. While I identify as an applied micro-economist, this group is a sub-group of the Conference of Macroeconomists from Liberal Arts Colleges.


The Fall 2022 programming will be held on zoom, with the link emailed roughly a week prior to registered faculty. We have planned

  • Thursday October 27, 7:30-8:30pm EST – social hour


  • Friday December 16, 2-5:30pm EST – mini-conference featuring (with presenters listed in bold)
    • 2-2:30pm – Shannon Mudd, joint with a recent Haverford alum, “Access to College Funding”
    • 2:45-3:15pm – Ethan Struby and Michael Connolly, “The Fed’s Portfolio, Treasury Buybacks, and Changes in Local Supply”
      • Intuition (or abstract placeholder?) based on research thus far:
        The US Treasury has recently been discussing whether to revive its buyback program from 2000-2002.  We document facts about Federal Reserve System’s Open Market Account using previously unreleased data on the Fed’s security-level holdings at the weekly frequency during this period and examine how the Fed reacted to the original set of buybacks, and the interactions between auction participants and Treasury’s actions and the Fed’s holdings
    • 3:30-4pm – Yang Fan, Lubomir Litov, Mu-Jeung Yang, and Todd Zenger, “Technological Uniqueness and Competitive Advantage”
      • Abstract:
        Technological uniqueness, defined as the degree to which a firms patented technologies differ from its industry competitors, has an unclear relationship with firm performance. On the one hand, recent empirical work in economics suggests that technological uniqueness can act as a barrier to innovation spillovers and impede firm performance. Alternatively, technological uniqueness could be a strategic resource which confers competitive advantage and is costly to imitate. We empirically examine these competing arguments and find evidence that the strategic resource argument dominates in the data with technological uniqueness generating competitive advantage. At the same time, we show that pursuing technological uniqueness is costly, as unique firms are harder to understand by equity analysts and consequently have higher costs of equity capital
    • 4:15-4:45pm – Matthew Botsch and Isaiah West (Bowdoin ’19), “Are Foreign Buyers Making Housing Unaffordable? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Vancouver”
      • Abstract:
        Are out-of-town buyers contributing to a housing affordability crisis in major global cities? If so, can targeted policy interventions successfully alleviate this problem? A lack of data on foreign investment flows into real estate has made these questions hard to answer. This paper exploits three exogenous shocks to foreign investor demand in Metro Vancouver, B.C., and uses a “home-bias abroad” strategy to identify the causal effect of foreign buyer demand. To the first question: we find that out-of-town buyers significantly raise local house price growth. To the second: the imposition of a Foreign Buyers Tax had an immediate but limited impact on affordability. This is because some foreign buyers substituted into renting: rental vacancy rates tightened by more than one-half following the tax’s implementation. Moreover, we observe a dynamic supply response—new owner-occupied housing construction fell in foreign-buyer “destination” neighborhoods—so the long-run impact of the tax on affordability is likely to be attenuated.
    • 4:45-5:30pm – social hour with BYO drinks & snacks


The Spring 2022 workshop will be held on zoom, with the link emailed roughly a week prior to registered faculty. The tentative schedule is:

Friday January 14, 2-3 pm EST – social hour

Thursday February 24 (rescheduled), 7-8 pm EST – Dan Tortorice will present “A Theory of Social Impact Bonds”

Friday March 18, 1:30-3 pm EST – Steven Schmeiser will present “Board of Discord”

Thursday April 21, 7-8:30 pm EST – Tanseli Savaser will present “Does trade secret protection promote business entry rates in the US” (joint with Asli Leblebicioglu & Elif Sisli Ciamarra)

The schedule for May onwards will be determined in March/April; please contact Abigail if you’d like to present research (whether preliminary or advanced).