By |Published On: April 1st, 2015|Categories: Introduction Course|

Over the past 10+ years I’ve cultivated a laundry list of websites associated with financial economics. My primary focus has been identifying sources for new ideas that are creative, unique, and have application in the real-world. Interestingly enough, none of the sources I’ve identified involve practitioner research portals–they are all academic by nature.

Of course, academic research isn’t a panacea of perfection, and we never take academic research at face value (we replicate and conduct robustness on all work we find inspiring), but we do respect the work. We know first hand how difficult it is to publish an academic paper and the intense peer-review process through which articles are “screened.” The standard of care for academic research is simply higher than for materials spewed from banks and/or wannabe academic researchers. In short, there is a reason you need to spend 4-6+ years in a PhD program learning the research craft–it ain’t easy to do it right.

Anyway, that’s my pitch for digging into the primary source literature. But where do we find the research that can potentially help us become better investors and advisors?

Below I break out my Top 5 sources for each category:

  • Academic Finance Research Depository
  • Academic Finance Journals
  • Academic Finance Professor Websites

Academic Finance Research Depository

  • SSRN (by far the best)
    • Tough to beat and the amount of research produced and published here is breathtaking.
  • NBER
    • Tends to be academic-only and top-tier quality. SSRN can get more riff-raff publishing, since it is more open architecture.
  • Google Scholar (Abnormal Returns Search)
    • You can choose other search terms, but the search engine is great for digging up materials on specific research interests
  • CXO Advisory
    • A paid site that summarizes interesting research articles (similar to what we do 1-2x a week)
  • IDEAS website: JEL G14 (Information and Market Efficiency)
    • Similar to SSRN, but you can sometimes get more focused research articles of interest.

Academic Finance Journals

Academic Finance Professor Websites

  • Guofu Zhou–Washington University (St. Louis)
    • This guy is an animal. Not sure if he sleeps.
  • Lauren Cohen and Chris Malloy
    • The dynamic duo at HBS. They churn out interesting articles on a consistent basis.
  • Alex Edmans
    • Another freak of nature that doesn’t sleep. Researches all day; every day.
  • Andrea Frazzini and Lasse Pedersen
    • The “AQR academics” who conduct great research with high practical value. Love it.
  • Sam Hartzmark
    • A recent newcomer on the academic scene with incredibly clever research that I find compelling. He was recently hired by Booth, so obviously I’m not the only one that took notice of his research capability.
  • Lu Zhang
    • Fighting the factor wars against the powers that be…


The top 5 lists above are by no means the end-all be-all of academic finance research…but they are pretty dang good. There are literally 100’s of other sites we review continuously, but the sheer number of research articles being produced by the academic finance community is mind boggling. The top 5 lists above will give you a good start to identifying some new/upcoming research. Of course, another option is to simply follow our blog, but we’ll be the first to admit we miss a lot of great articles.

Good luck finding some academic alpha!

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About the Author: Wesley Gray, PhD

Wesley Gray, PhD
After serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Gray earned an MBA and a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago where he studied under Nobel Prize Winner Eugene Fama. Next, Wes took an academic job in his wife’s hometown of Philadelphia and worked as a finance professor at Drexel University. Dr. Gray’s interest in bridging the research gap between academia and industry led him to found Alpha Architect, an asset management firm dedicated to an impact mission of empowering investors through education. He is a contributor to multiple industry publications and regularly speaks to professional investor groups across the country. Wes has published multiple academic papers and four books, including Embedded (Naval Institute Press, 2009), Quantitative Value (Wiley, 2012), DIY Financial Advisor (Wiley, 2015), and Quantitative Momentum (Wiley, 2016). Dr. Gray currently resides in Palmas Del Mar Puerto Rico with his wife and three children. He recently finished the Leadville 100 ultramarathon race and promises to make better life decisions in the future.

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