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Advisors, Scholars, and Fellows

Center for Financial Research

Last Updated: June 22, 2022

Research Fellows

Sumit Agarwal

Sumit Agarwal is the Low Tuck Kwong Professor at the School of Business and a professor in the Economics, Finance, and Real Estate departments at the National University of Singapore. He worked as a senior vice president and credit risk management executive at Bank of America, a professor of finance at Georgetown University, and a senior financial economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He is an associate editor at the Journal of Financial Stability, Journal of Financial Services Research, and Management Science.

Agarwal’s research focuses on household, behavioral, and international finance, financial institutions, real estate markets, urban economics, and capital markets. He has published over 100 research articles in the American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, Management Science, Journal of Financial Intermediation, Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking among others. He co-authored Kiasunomics, Kiasunomics 2, and Household Finance: A Functional Approach. He co-edited Impact of COVID-19 on Asian Economies and Policy Responses and Household Credit Usage: Personal Debt and Mortgages.

Agarwal earned his Ph.D. in economics, M.A. in economics, and B.Sc. in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Allen Berger Allen N. Berger is the H. Montague Osteen, Jr., Professor in Banking and Finance in the Finance Department, Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina, since 2008. He is also Ph.D. coordinator of the Finance Department, and Carolina Distinguished Professor of the University. Outside the University, he is currently Vice President of the Financial Intermediation Research Society (FIRS), and will be its 2021 Conference Coordinator, and 2022 Program Chair and President. He is also Senior Fellow at the Wharton Financial Institutions Center and Fellow of the European Banking Center, and serves on the editorial boards of eight professional finance and economics journals. Professor Berger was editor of the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking from 1994-2001, has co-edited seven special issues of various professional journals, and has co-organized a number of professional research conferences. He also co-edited all three editions of the Oxford Handbook of Banking, 2010, 2015, and 2019. His research covers a variety of topics related to financial institutions. He is co-author of Bank Liquidity Creation and Financial Crises (2016, Elsevier), as well as TARP and other Bank Bailouts and Bail-Ins around the World: Connecting Wall Street, Main Street, and the Financial System (2020, Elsevier).

He has published over 150 professional articles, including about 120 in refereed journals. These include papers in top finance journals, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Review of Finance, Journal of Financial Intermediation and Journal of Corporate Finance; top economics journals, Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Review, Review of Economics and Statistics, and Journal of Monetary Economics; and other top professional business journals, Management Science, Journal of Business, and European Journal of Operational Research. His research has been cited over 80,000 times according to Google Scholar, including 29 different articles with over 1,000 citations. He has given invited keynote addresses on five continents, and has been a visiting scholar at several Federal Reserve Banks and central banks of other nations.

Professor Berger received the University of South Carolina Educational Foundation Award for Research in Professional Schools for 2018, and was named Professor of the Year for 2015-2016 by the Darla Moore School of Business Doctoral Students Association. He also has won a number of best paper awards from different journals and finance conferences. He was Secretary/Treasurer, Financial Intermediation Research Society (FIRS) from 2008-2016; and Senior Economist from 1989 to 2008 and Economist from 1982-1989 at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1983, and a B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University in 1976.

Souphala Chomsisengphet

Souphala Chomsisengphet is Director of the Retail Credit Risk Analysis Division in the Supervision and Risk Analysis at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Her research interests are primarily in household finance, real estate finance, banking and financial institutions, and applied microeconomics. She has studied consumer mistakes on contract choice, frictions in mortgage modification, adverse selection in credit card markets, consumer bankruptcy/default behaviors, and the impact of public policy (e.g., HAMP, HARP, CARD ACT, financial counseling mandates, state anti-predatory lending laws) on financial intermediations and household financial decision making. Her research has been published in distinguished peer-reviewed scholarly journals, such as Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Monetary Economics, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Journal of Banking and Finance. Her research has been also covered by The Economist, New York Times, Vox, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, CNN Money, Bloomberg. Chomsisengphet holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Jeremy Fox Jeremy Fox is the Shatto Endowed Chair of Economics at Rice University. Fox specializes in empirical industrial organization. Other fields of research include econometrics and labor economics. Before joining Rice as a professor, Fox worked at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan.

Fox has worked on industries such as mobile phones, automobile manufacturing, and venture capital. He has also worked on firm productivity and labor market issues. Fox is known for his work on estimating models of two-sided matching games and of demand.

Ryan Hess Ryan Hess is a fifth-year accounting Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin. His current research focuses on income and non-income corporate taxation as well as tax avoidance and public policy. He was honored with the Fred Moore Assistant Instructor Award for Teaching Excellence for his instruction of the Introduction to Taxation course.

Ryan worked in Deloitte’s business tax services group for several years prior to his doctoral work. He holds a Master of Accounting degree from the University of Utah where he also earned an undergraduate degree in accounting.

Leonard Kiefer

Leonard (Len) Kiefer is an economist who helps people understand what’s going on in the economy, housing, mortgage markets. Len joined Freddie Mac in 2009, and has served as Deputy Chief Economist since December 2012. Len is responsible for primary and secondary mortgage market analysis and research, macroeconomic analysis and forecasting.

Prior to joining Freddie Mac, Len was an assistant professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas where he conducted research on macroeconomics and monetary policy. He has also taught economics at The Ohio State University and finance at George Mason University.

Kiefer holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Kentucky, and a PhD from The Ohio State University. Len is a member of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association (AREUEA) and the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).

Kristoph Kleiner

Kristoph Kleiner is an Associate Professor of Finance at Indiana University. Prior to starting at Indiana University, he completed his PhD at Duke University and interned with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Federal Reserve Board. He is the recipient of awards for research, teaching, and service, including most recently: the 2022 Best Paper at the University of Texas AIM Conference, the 2022 Best Discussant at the Craig Holden Memorial Conference, the 2022 Kelley School of Business Doctoral Teaching Award, and the 2021 Distinguished Referee Award by the Review of Financial Studies.

Kristoph specializes in empirical corporate finance research with a particular focus on two issues: (i) identifying and developing talent in entrepreneurs, bankers, and managers, and (ii) designing debt relief policies for households and firms. His research has been published in the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, and Review of Financial Studies. In addition to research, Kristoph has developed new class curriculums including a PhD course called Financing Innovation, Labor, and Households as well as undergraduate and graduate courses in Fintech and Machine Learning.

Xiaodong Liu

Xiaodong Liu is a Professor of Economics at the University of Colorado Boulder. Professor Liu’s research interests are in econometrics and applied microeconomics, with a focus on social and spatial networks. His recent work has been centered on how to model the interdependence of individual behavior and link formation decisions, how to test and estimate network effects with imperfectly observed data, and how to identify the network node or link through which a policy can generate the largest impact on the network. His research has been published in Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Econometric Theory, Econometric Reviews, Econometrics Journal, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Regional Science and Urban Economics among others.

Professor Liu received his B.A. from Fudan University in 2001, and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 2007.

Song Ma Song Ma is an Assistant Professor of Finance at Yale School of Management (SOM). He is also an affiliated faculty member at Yale Law School Center for the Study of Corporate Law and Yale SOM Program on Entrepreneurship. He joined Yale SOM Faculty in 2016 after receiving his PhD in Finance from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Professor Ma’s main research interests are corporate finance, entrepreneurial finance, innovation, industrial organization, and business law. His research has been featured in top academic journals such as the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, and Review of Financial Studies, and won numerous research awards. His research has also been referenced by legislator and policy makers around the world, including the Federal Trade Commission, EU Competition Commission, and UK Competition and Markets Authority.

Tom Mayock Tom Mayock is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He joined the department of economics in the Belk College of Business at UNC Charlotte in the fall of 2016. He received a Ph.D. in economics from Florida State University in 2009 and a Bachelor of Science in economics from Penn State University in 2003. Prior to joining UNC Charlotte, he was a senior financial economist at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and an assistant professor at Montclair State University. Tom’s primary research interests are urban economics, public economics, real estate and credit risk. His work has appeared in the Journal of Urban Economics, the Journal of Housing Economics, Real Estate Economics, Regional Science and Urban Economics, the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Public Finance Review, Land Economics and the Journal of Banking and Finance. Some of Tom’s research projects investigate the relationship between school segregation and the housing stock, mortgage contract choice, the role of large-scale developments in the mortgage crisis and the financial returns to homeownership.

Paolina Medina Paolina C. Medina is an Assistant Professor of Finance at the Mays Business School of Texas A&M University. She conducts research on Household Finance using field experiments and observational data, with a focus on understanding how psychological biases in consumer behavior affect outcomes in financial markets. She received her PhD in Managerial Economics from Northwestern University in June 2017, and her BA in Economics from ITAM in 2009.

Justin Murfin Justin Murfin is an Associate Professor of Finance at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University. His research interests include financial intermediation, financial contracting, and the mechanisms by which price and non-price terms of credit are established. Prior to his appointment at Cornell, Professor Murfin served as an associate and assistant professor of finance at the Yale School of Management. He completed his PhD at Duke University, has a masters in economics from SMU, and an undergraduate degree from Princeton University. From 1998-2003, he worked for Barclays Capital in New York, Miami and Bogotá, Colombia.

Joseph Nichols

Joseph Nichols is a Principal Economist with the Federal Reserve Board and is a respected expert on the commercial real estate market, commercial mortgage credit risk, and the financial institutions that originate and service commercial mortgages. His research has been published in the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Money Credit and Banking, the Journal of Urban Economics, the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, the Journal of Financial Services Research, and other outlets. Dr. Nichols has contributed to several significant policy projects, including the develop of CRE credit risk models for the Dodd-Frank Act Stress Tests, design of the section of the TALF program for the CMBS and the FR Y-14 supervisory data collection. In 2021 he served on AREUEA Women in Real Estate Network (WREN) committee and has participated in Federal Reserve Board mentoring programs. He earned his PhD from the University of Maryland in 2005 and held doctoral student internships at both the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget. He received a Masters degree in Operations Research in 1997 and Bachelors in 1994 from The George Washington University.