Jillian Grennan


Santa Clara University, Leavey School of Business

University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business, Institute for Business & Social Impact


Academic interests:

Finance, Culture, Law, and Innovation

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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, sustainability, and DEI objectives.  Her recent work examines how emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and decentralized finance applications are changing the future of work.  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.  Grennan was previously on the faculty at Duke University, and prior to academia, she worked at the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the World Trade Organization, and KPMG.



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 146552 – 593. [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" forthcoming. [SSRN], [Handbook Chapter]

Graham, J., J. Grennan, C. Harvey, and S. Rajgopal, 2022, "Corporate Culture: The Interview Evidence" Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, forthcoming. [SSRN], [JACF]

Graham, J., J. Grennan, C. Harvey, and S. Rajgopal, 2022. "What Do Financial Executives Say About Corporate Culture and Strategy?" Management and Business Review, forthcoming. [SSRN], [MBR]

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]

Cai, W., A. Dey, J. Grennan, J. Pacelli, and L. Qiu, 2022, "Do Diverse Directors Influence DEI Outcomes?" [SSRN]

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

Grennan, J. 2022, "Decomposing the Value of Corporate Culture" [SSRN]

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 11, 694 – 735. [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]

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

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

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

Chien, C. and J. Grennan, J. 2022, "Organizational Barriers to Patenting: Evidence from Engineers" [in-progress], [AEA registered RCT]

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


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


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].  


This course trains students on sustainable investment principles and methodologies and to become managers and investors of sustainable/responsible/ESG investment portfolios.  The Sustainable Investment Fund was launched with generous gifts from Haas alumni, and this flagship course allows MBA students, as Fund Principals, to manage a $4.5 million fund dedicated to delivering both strong financial returns and positive social impact.  


Decisions to trade and produce require trust: trust that consumers, firms, workers, financial institutions, and asset owners will do as they promise and that violations of such promises will be unacceptable in the marketplace.  Business law provides these guarantees and the boundaries within which certain promises can be made and enforced.  This course provides a broad overview of the legal system and the primary substantive areas of law relevant to business decisions and transactions. 


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 are high.  Via case studies, we examine what determines the best corporate governance practices. 






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

  • HKU-SCF FinTech Academy Grant for "The FinTech Workforce"

  • Center for Growth Markets Grant

  • Institute for Humane Studies Grant for "Inclusivity in the Metaverse"


  • 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?"