Professor Abhiroop Mukherjee's vision of research and education has unwaveringly emphasized the role of finance in the betterment of society—or, rather, of societies. Having studied and worked in India, the U.S., and Hong Kong, Professor Mukherjee has been fortunate enough to learn first-hand how different societies work, and has applied this understanding to the study of finance-related issues.
Professor Mukherjee joined HKUST's Business School in 2010, after completing his Ph.D. in Economics at Yale University, under the supervision of professors Nicholas Barberis (Chair), Robert Shiller (awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2013) and Andrew Metrick. Since then, Professor Mukherjee has sought to determine how our understanding of finance can be improved by making more realistic assumptions about societies, in which people make mistakes and institutions don't work perfectly.
In 2019 alone, Professor Mukherjee contributed several co-authored papers on topics ranging from the impact of road connectivity on poor villagers' access to credit to the effect of superstar firms on college students' choice of majors. The former paper asks whether finance helps to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. The latter reflects Professor Mukherjee's deeper interest in the effects of attention-grabbing events on human decision making. For example, he and his co-authors show that the extreme success of a "star" firm (such as Facebook) can inspire students to choose a particular major (such as computer science), only to realize later that most graduates from that major eventually end up in far less glamorous workplaces.
Further testifying to the high esteem in which Professor Mukherjee's scholarship is held by his peers, his articles have been published in all of the top three academic journals in finance: the Journal of Financial Economics, the Journal of Finance, and The Review of Financial Studies. His research on pressing contemporary issues such as data transparency, says Professor Mukherjee, is intended "ultimately to study a mechanism to solve real-life problems." To increase transparency, he explains, "many traders have started using alternative sources of data," from satellite images to social media. His co-authored article "Eye in the Sky: Private Satellites and Government Macro Data" presents an innovative approach to determining whether recent technological advancements, such as commercial satellite-based macro estimates, can provide an alternative to government data.
Yet if real problems are indeed to be solved through research, researchers must disseminate important insights beyond the academic community. To this end, Professor Mukherjee's research has been covered by the World Bank, Forbes Magazine, the Brookings Institution, the Cato Institute, the Financial Express, and the South China Morning Post. His research has also received awards from various professional societies, such as the CFA Society's Asia-Pacific Research Institute, for its contribution to solving practical problems facing the industry. Some of his work has been applied in real life by banks, hedge funds, and think tanks in both Asia and the U.S.
Closer to home, Professor Mukherjee plays an essential role in the HKUST Business School's mission of providing a world-class business education. He has received the Business School's Franklin Prize for Excellent Teaching at both the undergraduate and the MBA level, and has advised many Ph.D. students, who have themselves gone on to become successful researchers at world-leading institutions, such as London Business School, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Florida, Singapore Management University and Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance.
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