Lecture Series: Business Research 2020

Insights from Professors of the Business School

This semester, we invite all interested students who would like to know more about the research topics of our faculty to the lecture series “Business Research 2020”. In this 6-part series, you can find out more on up-to-date research findings and how the findings are used e.g. by policy makers. The lectures will take place online.


“From the postal coach to machine-to-machine communication” by Prof. Dr. Becker (language: German)

Oktober 21, 2020, 7 - 8 pm, link to the online event

Communication - not only on the Internet - has changed fundamentally in recent years. While people initially used the infrastructure to communicate with each other, machines are increasingly taking their place. While “surfing” the WWW we already interact with machines. Chat bots play human conversation partners in front of us and in the Internet of Things, “things” suddenly start talking to each other. This talk will give a short overview of communication in today's Internet and some technological trends. Finally, there will be an opportunity for discussion.

“Can ethics be taught? Evidence from securities exams and investment adviser misconduct” by Prof. Dr. Vetter (language: English)

November 4, 2020, 5:30 - 6:30 pm, link to the online event

In response to financial crises and corporate scandals, regulators and the popular press often call for reforming market participants’ behavior through ethics training. These calls argue that training market participants in ethics will induce “better behavior”, thereby fostering trust in financial markets. An important questions remains, however: Can ethical behavior even be taught? In this talk we empirically tackle this question, which dates back to Socrates, by investigating fraudulent behavior among over a million U.S. financial advisors. Specifically, we compare the fraudulent behavior among financial advisors who received extensive ethics training to the behavior of financial advisors who did not receive such training. The findings reveal that financial advisors subject to more extensive ethics training show lower likelihoods to engage in fraudulent activities. 

“Fearless girls? Reasons for the gender gap in the financial industry” by Prof. Dr. Niessen-Ruenzi (language: English)

November 11, 2020, 5:30 - 6:30 pm, link to the online event

Even though affirmative action has increased the fraction of women in top management positions, there are still only very few women working in the financial industry. This talk looks at the reasons for the gender gap in the financial industry. Based on a survey conducted among business students in Germany and Switzerland, we examine which job features they deem important, what type of career they are planning, whether and to what extent they took Finance classes and also how financial decisions were made by their parents. We find that female students have different preferences regarding their future work environment than male students and that this can at least partly explain why the financial industry is still male dominated.

“Show me the Stars: How important are online ratings of reviewers?” by Prof. Kraus and Maximilian Gärth (language: English)

November 17, 2020, 7:30 - 8:30 pm, link to the online event

Imagine you are organizing a party and are looking for a tasty wine. While Reviewer A recommends purchasing one wine, Reviewer B recommends purchasing another wine. Would looking at both reviewers’ past wine ratings, or even ratings of unrelated products, help you decide which reviewer to trust, and therefore which wine to pick? And if so, why? The presenters will elucidate WOM readers’ perceptions by providing evidence from a combination of real-world data and experimental studies. 

“Wirecard is not an exceptional case: Why managers cheat in balance sheets, how they proceed and what good regulation can look like” by Prof. Dr. Bischof (language: German)

November 23, 2020, 5:15 - 6:15 p.m., link to the online event

When companies report publicly about their balance sheets, this has a significant impact on capital markets. Therefore, there are considerable incentives for managers to influence the values reported in the balance sheets in their own interest. In most cases, this happens within a completely legal framework, in individual cases legal boundaries are crossed and criminal energy comes into play. Such balance sheet scandals are a recurring phenomenon. In Germany, the manipulated balance sheets of the Dax group Wirecard recently made headlines. Even though every scandal is unique, there are systematic patterns in how managers proceed when manipulating balance sheets and how politicians or regulatory authorities react to them. The presentation will place the Wirecard case into this history and use current events to explain how balance sheet fraud can be detected and prevented - and what risks remain for capital market participants.

“Tax robbers in pinstripe suits: Cum/Ex, Cum/Cum and Cum/Fake” by Prof. Dr. Spengel (language: German)

December 2, 2020, 7:30 - 8:30 pm, link to the online event

Cum/Ex transactions with short selling were intended to provide multiple repayments of capital gains tax paid only once. This was illegal and is now the subject of numerous investigations by public prosecutors. Cum/Cum transactions, on the other hand, avoid the limited tax liability of dividends in Germany. This form of dividend stripping is not illegal per se, but it must be examined whether these transactions are to be recognized in individual cases. The retroactive taking up of already transacted Cum/Ex transactions with short selling and of Cum/Cum transactions by the tax authorities is not transparent. The tax damage caused to the Federal Republic of Germany by such share transactions is immense: it is in the high double-digit billion range. The lecture will shed light on the situation and highlight a collective failure of the actors responsible for legislation.