Pat Akey

IMI faculty member rewarded for early-career achievement

Sarah Jane Silva

Pat Akey, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Toronto’s Institute for Management & Innovation (IMI) and the Rotman School of Management, has been selected to receive the 2016 Rising Scholar Award.

This highly competitive award (among the 9,800 submitting authors, 446 were eligible for the 2015 award), administered by the Review of Financial Studies and previously sponsored by Research Affiliates, Society for Financial Studies and JPMorgan, encourages the pursuit of new ideas among junior university professors, giving them the opportunity to interact with their peers.

Akey received the award for his paper, “Valuing Changes in Political Networks: Evidence from Campaign Contributions to Close Congressional Elections," which studies campaign financing in the United States and shows how firms benefit from political connections.

“It’s nice to get recognition and it’s also nice to have some external validation beyond the small set of people that you talk to everyday,” said Akey.

“The research becomes interesting to a broader set of people.”

In its ninth year, the Rising Scholar Award (formerly Young Researcher Prize/Rising Researcher Prize) recognizes early-career academics whose achievements identify them as leaders of the next generation.

In addition to the honour, the recipient receives $5,000. To be eligible for such an award authors must have submitted their paper within three years of the awarding of their PhD.

The winning paper was selected by the board of editors.

“What I think the editorial team really valued in Akey’s work is the relevance and timeliness of the topic in putting an economic value on political connections via lobbying and contributions, and on the rigour of the analysis in using regression discontinuity design techniques on margins of victory in off-cycle U.S. congressional elections,” said Andrew Karolyi, executive editor of the Review of Financial Studies, one of the top-tier journals in finance.

Akey, along with other award recipients, will be honoured at the SFS Finance Cavalcade - a three-day conference covering all areas of finance.

The conference is a joint project of the Review of Financial Studies, the Review of Corporate Finance Studies, and the Review of Asset Pricing Studies.

This year’s SFS Finance Cavalcade (May 15-18) will be hosted by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. For more information, please see Cavalcade 2016.

Akey, whose research focuses on empirical corporate finance and the interaction between law, politics and corporate behaviours, joined the University of Toronto’s faculty in 2014.

He earned a bachelor of commerce in finance from McGill in 2009, his master of research in 2011 and his doctorate in 2014, both in finance from the London Business School. 

Akey was also the recipient of the 2013 Best Paper Award at the University of Southern California Finance PhD conference.