School of Economics and Management

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Elisabeth Kempf wins KVS medal for best PhD thesis in economics

Dr. Elisabeth Kempf has won the KVS medal for the best PhD thesis in economics in the period 2014-2017. The prize was awarded by the Royal Netherlands Economic Association (KVS) for her thesis Essays in corporate finance and financial intermediation, with which she earned her PhD from Tilburg University in June 2016. Her PhD supervisor was Professor Olivier Spalt. Earlier this year, she also won the J.C. Ruigrok Award 2017.

Hao Liang, who also completed his PhD in Tilburg, was awarded an honorable mention for his PhD thesis, entitled Finance and Society: On the Foundations of Corporate Social.


Kempf’s research is about the ‘revolving door phenomenon’ on the job market for financial analysts, who alternately work for credit rating agencies and investment banks. In the wake of the financial crisis, restrictions were introduced for credit rating analysts who want to work for investment banks, given the possibility of a conflict of interest. Analysts at credit rating agencies estimate the risks that banks are open to, and it was suspected that analysts would be too positive about certain finance products in the hope of obtaining a lucrative job at an investment.

From the jury report

Elisabeth Kempf impressed the jury with various essays that bear witness to very innovative insights, creative data, and very smart ways to identify relevant effects. In the jury’s opinion, Kempf’s study offers new theoretical and empirical insight and provides policy recommendations to prevent conflicts of interest. The jury therefore expects that her work will have much social impact and that it will find its way into top economic journals.

About the KVS medal

The KVS medal is presented every three years to an academic who, in the past period, has written and defended the best PhD thesis in economics. The award was instituted in 1999 by the Royal Netherlands Economic Association in order to promote the study of economics. The award, which consists of a medal and a cash prize of € 4000, will be presented on November 3, 2017, at De Nederlandsche Bank.
At the moment, Elisabeth Kempf is working as an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.

(Foto: Jean Lachat)