SSRN’s Top Papers of 2018

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)

2. A Brief Introduction to the Basics of Game Theory by Matthew O. Jackson ( Stanford University – Department of Economics)

3. Psychopathy by U.S. State by Ryan Murphy (Southern Methodist University (SMU))

4. Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered? by John M. Griffin (University of Texas at Austin – Department of Finance) and Amin Shams (University of Texas at Austin – Department of Finance)

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

5A Quantitative Approach to Tactical Asset Allocation by Meb Faber (Cambria Investment Management)

6. Some Simple Economics of the Blockchain by Christian Catalini (Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Sloan School of Management) and Joshua S. Gans (University of Toronto – Rotman School of Management)

The paper relies on economic theory to surface two key costs affected by blockchain technology: the cost of verification of transaction attributes, and the cost of bootstrapping and operating a digital marketplace without the need for a traditional intermediary. When combined with a native token (as in Bitcoin and Ethereum), a blockchain allows a decentralized network of economic agents to agree, at regular intervals, about the true state of shared data.

This shared data can represent exchanges of currency, intellectual property, equity, information or other types of contracts and digital assets – making blockchain a general purpose technology that can be used to trade scarce, digital property rights and create novel types of digital platforms. The resulting marketplaces are characterized by increased competition, lower barriers to entry and innovation, lower privacy and censorship risk, and allow participants within the same ecosystem to make investments to support and operate shared infrastructure without assigning market power to a platform operator. – Christian Catalini

7.The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, and Glitches under the House and Senate Tax Bills by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (University of Michigan Law School), Lily L. Batchelder (New York University School of Law), J. Clifton Fleming Jr. (Brigham Young University – J. Reuben Clark Law School), David Gamage (Indiana University Maurer School of Law), Ari D. Glogower (Ohio State University (OSU) – Michael E. Moritz College of Law), Daniel Jacob Hemel (University of Chicago – Law School), David Kamin (New York University School of Law), Mitchell Kane (New York University (NYU)), Rebecca M. Kysar (Brooklyn Law School; Fordham University School of Law), David S. Miller (Proskauer Rose LLP), Darien Shanske (University of California, Davis – School of Law), Daniel Shaviro (New York University School of Law) and Manoj Viswanathan (University of California Hastings College of the Law)

8. ‘A Diamond is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration by Andrew Francis-Tan (National University of Singapore (NUS) – Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy), and Hugo M. Mialon (Emory University – Department of Economics)

9. What is Program Evaluation? A Beginners Guide (Presentation Slides) by Gene Shackman (The Global Social Change Research Project)

I am hoping this guide may be useful to anyone who wants to know about the very basic ideas and methods of evaluation. Evaluation can be useful, but only if people understand it. I am hoping this will help clients, potential clients, funders, stakeholders, and the public better understand evaluation and a little of how it works. That way, people can have a realistic idea of how it can be used, and how it cannot be used. – Gene Shackman

10. The Games They Will Play: Tax Games, Roadblocks, and Glitches Under the 2017 Tax Legislation by Reuven S. Avi-Yonah (University of Michigan Law School), Lily L. Batchelder (New York University School of Law), J. Clifton Fleming Jr. (Brigham Young University – J. Reuben Clark Law School), David Gamage (Indiana University Maurer School of Law), Ari D. Glogower (Ohio State University (OSU) – Michael E. Moritz College of Law), Daniel Jacob Hemel (University of Chicago – Law School), David Kamin (New York University School of Law), Mitchell Kane (New York University (NYU)), Rebecca M. Kysar (Brooklyn Law School; Fordham University School of Law), David S. Miller (Proskauer Rose LLP), Darien Shanske (University of California, Davis – School of Law), Daniel Shaviro (New York University School of Law) and Manoj Viswanathan (University of California Hastings College of the Law)

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