PhD defence of Guangyao Zhu on Thursday 11 June 2015

On Thursday 11 June 2015 Guangyao Zhu will defend his PhD thesis entitled  ‘Three Essays in Empirical Corporate Finance’. Supervisor is Professor Ingolf Dittmann (Erasmus School of Economics - Erasmus University Rotterdam). Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Professor David Yermack (New York University), Professor Zacharias Sautner (Frankfurt School of Finance & Management) and Professor Peter Roosenboom (Rotterdam School of Management - Erasmus University Rotterdam).

Time and location

The PhD defence will take place in the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam and will start at 13.30 hrs.

About Guangyao Zhu

Guangyao Zhu received his bachelor degree in information system and management from Harbin Institute of Technology (2004). After completing the M.Phil in finance degree at Tinbergen Institute and Duisenberg school of Finance (2011), he joined Erasmus University of Rotterdam to pursue his doctoral research.

Abstract of 'Three Essays in Empirical Corporate Finance'

This dissertation documents my exploration of the modern corporation in the past few years. I outline a detailed picture of major U.S. public corporations in more recent decades from two perspectives: ownership structure and internal nepotism. In Chapter 2, I examine the ownership structure of major U.S. public companies in more recent decades. I document over the last two decades a sharp upward trend in ownership concentration towards institutional investors, which is the driving force of the elimination of widely held public companies. In Chapter 3, I identify nepotism within major U.S. public companies. I find that nepotism is very prevalent in the SP 1500 firms, of which 53.46 percent exhibit nepotism. I find nepotism is associated with worse firm performance. My contribution to the existing literature is the development of a nepotism database covering the family ties within major U.S. public companies from 1994 to 2012, and a nepotism index to measure the strength of the nepotism quantitatively. In Chapter 4, we document that 88% of the CEOs option exercises are ex ante identifiable “expected” exercises. The remaining 12% deviate from expected option exercises and carry information on the firm’s future performance.

More information

Guangyao Zhu conducted his doctoral research at the Tinbergen Institute. The Tinbergen Institute is a joint research institute of Erasmus School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam and Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of VU University Amsterdam.

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by e-mail:

Compare @count study programme

  • @title

    • Duration: @duration
Compare study programmes