Simon PhD Candidates win Trefftzs Award for Best Student Paper

Simon PhD candidates win Trefftzs Award for Best Student Paper

July 11, 2023 | By Bret Ellington

A paper co-authored by Rui (Ray) Gao ’19S (MS), ’24S (PhD) and Yifei Lu ’19S (MS), ’23S (PhD) from Simon Business School at the University of Rochester was recently recognized with the USC Marshall School of Business Trefftzs Award for best student paper. The two were presented with the award and $5,000 at the 2023 Western Finance Association (WFA) conference held June 25 – 28 in San Francisco.

Now in its 58th year, the annual event held by the WFA is considered one of the most prestigious finance conferences in the world. The winning paper, titled “Aggregated Compensation Peer Group Disclosure and Managerial Labor Market Competition: A Network Analysis,” was selected by the program committee from all student papers accepted for presentation this year.

Yifei Lu ’19S (MS), ’23S (PhD)
Yifei Lu ’19S (MS), ’23S (PhD)
Rui (Ray) Gao ’19S (MS), ’24S (PhD)
Rui (Ray) Gao ’19S (MS), ’24S (PhD)

“Many fantastic papers were eligible for this award, so {Gao and Lu} should be really proud of their achievement,” said WFA 2023 Program Chair Burton Hollifield.

In the paper, Gao and Lu studied the labor market competition for top management by answering two main questions: “who are the competitors?” and “how fierce is the competition?” They applied network methods to aggregated compensation peer group disclosure and developed labor market classifications and competition measures. By capturing the multidimensional and dynamic aspects of the managerial labor market, their methodology strongly predicts talent flow destinations, outperforming a comprehensive set of existing predictors.

The co-authors said their measures provide new tools for empirical investigation of labor theories on managerial labor markets.

Firms can now utilize their methodology to identify potential talent competitors and leverage this knowledge.

“We both felt very proud to represent Simon on stage at such a prestigious conference,” said Gao. “Many thanks to the WFA program committee and the USC Marshall School of Business for giving us this award. We are extremely honored.”

“I’d also like to say thank you to the Simon faculty for their incredible support,” said Lu. “I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to study at Simon, an institution which emphasizes independent research and economic thinking.”   

In addition to the Trefftzs Award, the paper was one of nine student papers to win the Brattle PhD Candidate Awards for Outstanding Research. As for the writers themselves, Gao will be starting the last year of his PhD at Simon Business School at the University of Rochester this fall. Lu graduated with a PhD in accounting last May and will begin this fall semester as an assistant professor of accounting at the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign.

Bret Ellington

Bret Ellington is a senior copywriter and content creator for the Simon Business School Marketing Department.

Follow Simon Business School News for the latest articles in this series at Simon News & Highlights.