Joost DriessenProfessor of Finance and Vice-Dean for Research
“I want to make sure that we can keep our focus on high-level academic research”
Apart from being Vice-Dean for Research, you are also Professor of Finance. What is your field of research?
My research focuses on various questions in finance. Questions like: How should long-term investors choose their financial portfolios? What information do financial derivatives, such as equity options, provide about how investors trade off risk and return?; How should investors deal with illiquidity of stocks and bonds in their decision making?
To give one example in this regard, we recently finished a paper that applies Cumulative Prospect Theory to financial derivative markets. We show that this theory from psychology, put forward by Kahneman and Tversky, gives us important insights into how options on the S&P 500 equity index are priced. In particular, the results suggest that option investors attach too much importance to extremely positive and extremely negative financial market outcomes.
What are your spearheads in your term of office as Vice-Dean? What in particular do you want to work towards realizing?
To put it briefly and succinctly, I want to make sure that we can keep our focus on high-level academic research, and see to it that we show the importance of our research to our stakeholders. Especially in a time where quick and sometimes fake news is prevalent, I think it is our job as researchers and as a university to conduct careful, well-executed research and show that this is valuable.
What is your main motivation?
I get inspired by the idea that, almost always, things are more multi-faceted and nuanced than they appear to be at first sight. Furthermore, I very much enjoy interacting with other people: colleagues, students, co-authors, practitioners. This gives me energy, some of which I hope I can pass on to others.
Who is your role model?
No one specific person. Almost everybody I have worked with has taught me “something”, in one way or another. In general, I do admire people that, figuratively speaking, take the road less traveled. Perhaps because secretly I’d like to be like them :-). To give one example, there is a Dutch biologist, Rob Bijlsma, who is self-educated and self-funded, and spends his life in the tops of trees examining the behavior of predatory birds.
Is there anything else you would like to say, any questions you would like to ask your colleagues, anything you would like to urge them to do?
In my first few months as Vice-Dean, I met many researchers from outside my own department. This was very inspiring. So I would recommend my colleagues to now and then meet with faculty members from other groups, sit in on a seminar by another group, or join a lunch meeting of another department.