1. Pulling the Goalie: Hockey and Investment Implications by Clifford S. Asness (AQR Capital Management, LLC) and Aaron Brown (New York University (NYU) – Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences)
I am excited about research that is practical and helps us understand the way our financial system work, and maybe make them better. I typically do research in forensic finance–on things that are potentially, illegal, illicit, or immoral in financial markets.
Although there have credible allegations and evidence that LIBOR, FX, swaps, gold, silver, ect., seem to have been gamed, there is surprisingly extremely little academic work in these fields, perhaps because academics like to work in areas where others are working. But, the gaming of financial markets through financial sophistry is financial thievery and quite harmful to the trust that our financial system depends on.
I think academics can help shed light on markets features that allow gaming and those that do not. A credible and robust non-result can also be interesting and I have published work showing no questionable activity as well. The downloads are interesting because a top academic told me that he didn’t find the topic academically interesting or worthwhile. The paper elicited very different views from other academics–some many were quite interested, but it depends on one’s views about academic research. I think financial research should have applications and not just be useful for ivory-tower lunch discussions. I would like to encourage researchers to not just write papers to try to get tenure, but to pick areas they are passionate about, where one can hope to truly understand our world, and at least potentially, make a small difference. – John M. Griffin
5. How to Read a Legal Opinion: A Guide for New Law Students by Orin Kerr (The George Washington University Law School)
Like a lot of papers with tons of downloads, this paper has an audience outside academic specialists. It’s a paper for new law students on how to prepare to start law school. With around 40,000 new law students entering law schools every fall, it draws a lot of downloads every August. I’ve been told that a lot of law schools assign it as part of the first week of reading, too. Either way, it is by far my most read article. Go figure. – Orin Kerr