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Jillian Grennan

Professor Grennan’s research focuses on intangible value creation and emphasizes the role informal and formal governance systems have in its creation.  She offers novel computational techniques for quantifying the value of corporate culture and sustainability objectives.  Her recent work examines how emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and FinTech applications are changing the nature of financial services and workplace interactions more broadly.  This research helps to inform debates about optimal regulation and best use cases for such innovations.  (Link to a detailed research statement).  

Professor Grennan received her Ph.D. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. from Georgetown University, and a B.A. from Wellesley College. Prior to attending The Wharton School, Grennan worked at the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the World Trade Organization, and KPMG.


Jillian Grennan


Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

University of California Berkeley, Law School and Haas School of Business


Academic interests:

Finance, Culture, Law, and Innovation



Grennan, J., 2016, "Balancing Governance and Culture to Create Sustainable Value." Governance Studies, The Initiative on 21st Century Capitalism, No. 27, 1-13, Brookings Institution. [Brookings]

Grennan, J., 2019, "Dividend Payments as a Response to Peer Influence." Journal of Financial Economics 131, 549 – 570. [JFE], [SSRN], [slides]

Graham, J., J. Grennan, C. Harvey, and S. Rajgopal, 2022. "Corporate Culture: Evidence from the Field" Journal of Financial Economics, forthcoming. [JFE], [SSRN], [Data & Code]

Gorton, G., J. Grennan, and A. Zentefis, 2022. "Corporate Culture" Annual Review of Financial Economics 14, 1-27. [ARFE], [SSRN], [slides], [Summary]

Grennan, J., and K. Li, 2022, "Corporate Culture: A Review and Directions for Future Research" [SSRN], [Handbook Chapter]

Grennan, J. 2022, "A Corporate Culture Channel: How Increased Shareholder Governance Reduces Firm Value" [SSRN]

Grennan, J. 2022, "Communicating Culture Consistently: Evidence from Banks" [SSRN]

Graham et al., 2018, "Corporate Culture: The Interview Evidence" [SSRN]

Grennan, J., C. Makridis, and M. Zator, 2022, "AI-augmented Culture and Leadership" [AEA registered RCT]

Grennan, J. 2021, "Decomposing the Value of Corporate Culture" [in-progress]

Grennan, J. and R. Michaely 2022, "ESG Integration Across Funds and Debiasing Data" [in-progress]

Grennan, J., and R. Michaely, 2021, "FinTechs and the Market for Financial Analysis" Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 56(6) 1877– 1907. (Lead Article) [JFQA], [SSRN], [slides], [Video

Eldar, O., and J. Grennan, 2021, "Common Ownership and Entrepreneurship." AEA Papers & Proceedings 111, 582-586. [P&P], [SSRN], [Data & Code]

Grennan, J., 2022, "Social Change through Financial Innovation: Evidence from Donor-advised Funds" (Review of Corporate Finance Studies, forthcoming) [RCFS], [SSRN], [Data & Code

Eldar, O., J. Grennan, and K. Waldock, 2021 "Common Venture Capital Investment and Startup Growth" (R&R Review of Financial Studies) [SSRN]

Abrams, D., U. Akcigit, and J. Grennan, 2020 "Patent Value and Citations: Creative Destruction or Strategic Disruption?" (R&R RAND Journal of Economics) [SSRN]

Grennan, J., and R. Michaely, 2022 "The Deleveraging of U.S. Firms and the Role of Institutional Investors" (R&R Review of Finance) [SSRN]

Grennan, J., and R. Michaely, 2022, "Artificial Intelligence and High-Skilled Work: Evidence from Analysts" [SSRN

Grennan, J., 2022 "FinTech Regulation in the United States: Past, Present, and Future" [SSRN]

Grennan, J., and D. Musto, 2018, "Who Benefits from Bond Market Modernization?" [SSRN]

Appel, I. and Grennan, J., 2022 "Control and Influence in Decentralized Autonomous Organizations" [in-progress]

Grennan, J. and D. Rock, 2022, "Regulating Emerging Technology: Evidence from Digital Assets" [in-progress]




My research has been featured in numerous news outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Fortune.  E.g., see what my research has to say about: "Should you follow an activist into a stock?"


Connecting business leaders to new academic ideas is a passion of mine.  Check out these blog forums where I express my views on culture, governance, and more.

Posts on the Harvard Law School Corporate Governance Blog: [1], [2], [3], [4]

Posts on the Columbia Law School BlueSky Blog: [1], [2]

Posts on the Duke University School of Law FinReg Blog: [1]


Join me for discussions of culture, business, and technology:

Culture Gap podcast produced by THRUUE

The Manage Your Message podcast produced by Jim Karrh 

Every Other Wednesday videocast with Mike Kerr, Jeff Tobe, and Sunjay Nath 



Corporate culture is an important driver of business value, and policymakers often blame dysfunctional cultures for egregious actions at firms like Wells Fargo, VW, Toshiba, Uber, and Pinterest.  Building on a broader literature on corporate institutions, this course examines antecedents and consequences of corporate culture through the lens of an informal institution.  We will learn how differences in espoused and lived cultural values are associated with various business outcomes.  Then, we will study specific cases to recognize when, how, and why aspirational ideals may not be met.  Finally, we will examine how leaders can foster a culture that meets the evolving regulatory and stakeholder expectations surrounding ethics and compliance. [Syllabus], [Full course slides], [PhD lecture]


I've been honored to teach Corporate Finance across a number of programs: MS, MBA, EMBA, PhD, and JD.  I always say that maximizing firm value is a team sport, so I'm happy to partner with students where they are in their careers and help them to learn about how investment, financing, and payout decisions are made.  I was awarded Fuqua's Excellence in Teaching Award in 2017.  Links to recent syllabi for the PhD and MBA courses: [PhD], [MBA], [JD].  


In 2020, I helped design an ESG reading group for graduate students at Duke.  Link to the reading list: [ESG Topics].


This course examines the relationships between corporate managers and the boards of directors charged with overseeing them.  While boards are legally bound to represent the interests of equity investors, when carrying out this duty they are often called on to respond to the needs of numerous other stakeholders  and society at large.  With mistakes instantly transmitted via social media, the reputational stakes to global brands are very high.  To better understand these challenges, we will review research on modern corporate governance practices and study specific situations where boards and management teams faced governance challenges.  






Dissertation title: "Social Forces in Corporate Finance"

Dissertation committee: David Musto, Mark Duggan (co-chairs), Michael Roberts and Todd Sinai


Completed a Master's degree in Mathematics and Statistics while working full-time in Washington, D.C.





Double majored in Economics and Classical Civilizations




  • Ripple's University Blockchain Initiative Grant for "Control and Influence in the Decentralized


  • INQUIRE Europe Research Grant for "ESG Integration Across Funds and Debiasing Data"

  • Paris-Dauphine FinTech Research Award for "ESG Integration Across Funds and Debiasing Data"


  • Best Paper in Corporate Governance awarded by IRRC for "Corporate Culture: Evidence from the Field"


  • Duke Intellectual Community Planning Grant for "Big Data and Social Interactions"


  • Thomas Edison Innovation Award, George Mason University

  • Fuqua's Junior Faculty Recognition Research Grant


  • Best Paper in Corporate Governance awarded by IRRC for "A Corporate Culture Channel: How Increased Shareholder Governance Reduces Firm Value"


  • KPMG's Global Valuation Research Grant for "Decomposing the Value of Corporate Culture"

  • Duke's Center for Financial Excellence Research Grant

  • AEA's CSWEP Cement Fellow


  • WFA's Cubist Systematic Strategies Award for Outstanding Research for "A Corporate Culture Channel: How Increased Shareholder Governance Reduces Firm Value"

  • Best Finance PhD Dissertation Award, Olin Business School for "A Corporate Culture Channel: How Increased Shareholder Governance Reduces Firm Value"

  • Mack Institute for Innovation Management Research Grant for "Patent Value and Citations: Creative Destruction or Strategic Disruption?"