Do you want to earn a PhD from a global top 40 business school? We currently have a position available at the Rotterdam School of Management. The PhD position involves a research project on the costs and benefits of relational investing in European publicly listed firms and will be jointly carried out by you, Marc van Essen (Assistant Professor of Finance at the Utrecht University School of Economics) and Hans van Oosterhout (Professor of Corporate Governance and Responsibility at the Rotterdam School of Management).

Depending on your qualifications, you will be appointed as a salaried PhD student at the Rotterdam School of Management for the duration of either 3 or 4 years. Please see a brief description of the research project below. More information on the project and the terms and conditions of employment as a PhD student at the Rotterdam School of Management can be found at the website of ERIM, the research graduate school of both the Rotterdam School of Management and the Erasmus School of Economics.

For the project, see:

For the doctoral program at the Rotterdam School of Management, see:

We especially invite top performing students holding a (research) masterís degree in either: management, economics or econometrics to apply. The ideal candidate has a strong affinity with, and (preferably) demonstrated competence in the use of multivariate statistical analysis techniques (e.g. regression analysis, panel data analysis, hierarchical linear modeling) and a demonstrated interest in corporate governance issues (e.g. course work, scholarly papers).

If you want to know more about the research project or about working as a PhD student at the Rotterdam School of Management, please contact either Marc van Essen ([log in to unmask]) or Hans van Oosterhout ([log in to unmask]).

We look forward to hearing from you!

Marc van Essen

Hans van Oosterhout



Unpacking the costs and benefits of relational ownership in European publicly listed firms.

An often heard critique on contemporary financial capitalism is that investors in publicly listed firms have become investors in financial markets rather than in the firms they own. When equity investors can trade their position in a firm at the click of a mouse, there will hardly be any relationship between a firmís owners and its management which may have adverse economic consequences for several reasons. First, managers can pursue policies and make decisions that serve their own interests more than those of the shareholders when the shareholder base of the firm consists of dispersed and uninvolved owners. Second, financial markets may continually push for short term financial performance, which may come at the expense of investments in projects and assets that will maximize firm value and performance in the long run. When shareholders are uninvolved in a firm, third, that firm will not be able to use the resources, business ties and knowledge that a larger and more involved shareholder can bring to the firm. Finally, firms with a dispersed and uninvolved shareholder base may be tempted to pursue overly risky strategies and policies which may come at the expense of other corporate constituencies such as voluntary and involuntary creditors (such as deposit holders in a bank for example).

It has been argued, therefore, that publicly listed firms could benefit significantly from the involvement from larger, more dedicated owners that pursue a longer term relationship and more active involvement in the firm. These so-called relational investors can not only monitor managers more closely than dispersed uninvolved shareholders can, but can also bring resources, knowledge and business ties to the firm that are unavailable to firms without relational investors. Finally, as relational investors will typically have a longer term investment horizon, they are more likely to pursue investments strategies that maximize the value of the firm in the longer run, while also avoiding overly risky strategies that could hurt creditors more than they would benefit shareholders.

The problem, however, is that little is currently know about the costs and benefits of relational ownership of publicly listed firms. First, it is unclear what relational investors are and what makes relational investors different from other large but mostly uninvolved shareholders (such as institutional investors for example). Second, little or nothing is known about how relational investors create value for the firms they own and whether they do better than uninvolved armís length shareholders to begin with. Third, although we know that relational investing is a more prevalent investment strategy in emerging economies, we do not yet know whether the effectiveness of relational investing is  dependent on the institutional context of a country.

The research project proposed seeks to provide answers to these questions, using various research methods data on European publicly listed firms.

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