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Brian White - The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business. Austin, TX, US

Brian White Brian White

Assistant Professor | The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business


Understanding judgment and decision-making in the world of accounting


Areas of Expertise (3)

Managerial Accounting Financial Accounting Behavioral Research


Brian White is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Accounting. He teaches Financial Statement Analysis in the MBA, MPA and BBA programs. White's research focuses on judgment and decision-making in financial and managerial accounting. His recent work uses psychological theories and MRI evidence to explain why human beings don’t always make the rational decisions that classical economics expects of them. Prior to pursuing an academic career, Brian spent ten years as co-owner and finance director for a privately-held chain of retail stores based in Liverpool, England.

Education (4)

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: PhD, Accountancy 2012

Manchester Business School, University of Manchester: MBA, Business Administration 2002

Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh: Master of Science, African Studies 1997

Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University: Bachelor of Science, Foreign Service 1995

Media Appearances (2)

Mapping a Manager's Brain on Incentives

Texas Enterprise | Big Ideas in Business  online


Can restructuring a manager’s pay help that manager make better business decisions and fewer expensive mistakes? A tool from neuroscience — functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) — opens a window to peek into the brain and find out.

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This Is Your Brain On Incentives

Texas Enterprise | Big Ideas in Business  online


Brian White questions whether or not performance-based incentives can change employee attitudes and their decision-making processes.

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Articles (4)

Earnings Metrics, Information Processing, and Price Efficiency in Laboratory Markets Journal of Accounting Research


An enduring issue in financial reporting is whether and how salient summary measures of firm performance ('earnings metrics') affect market price efficiency. In laboratory markets, we test the effects of salient earnings metrics, which vary in how they combine persistent and transitory elements, on investor information search, beliefs about value, offers to trade, and market price efficiency. We find that including transitory elements in salient earnings metrics causes traders to search unnecessarily for further information about these elements and to overestimate their effect on fundamental value relative to a rational benchmark.

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Does Concrete Language in Disclosures Increase Willingness to Invest? Review of Accounting Studies


As part of its push for more plain English in disclosures, the SEC argues that firms should use more concrete language to make abstract concepts clearer to investors.

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The Effect of Performance-Based Incentive Contracts on System 1 and System 2 Processing in Affective Decision Contexts: fMRI and Behavioral Evidence The Accounting Review


While economic theory prescribes performance-based incentives to align goals and induce effort, psychology theory suggests that the salience of emotions is difficult to overcome without also inducing more deliberate consideration of both emotional and economic factors (“System 2 processing”). We link these perspectives by investigating whether performance-based incentives mitigate the costly influence of emotion by inducing more System 2 processing.

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The Unintended Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility Performance on Investors' Estimates of Fundamental Value The Accounting Review


We provide theory and experimental evidence consistent with an unintended, causal relation between Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performance and investors' estimates of fundamental value that can be attenuated by investors' explicit assessment of CSR performance.

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