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Jonathan Cohn - The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business. Austin, TX, US

Jonathan Cohn

Associate Professor, Department of Finance | The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business


Understanding corporate governance and financial market regulation


Areas of Expertise (7)

Corporate Governance Corporate Taxation Individual Taxation Incentives and Performance Evaluation Private Equity Financial Market Regulation Capital Structure and Non-Financial Stakeholders


Jonathan Cohn is an associate professor in the Department of Finance whose research interests include corporate governance, incentives and performance evaluation, private equity, and financial market regulation. In 2012 he was awarded the Best Paper on Corporate Finance and he has twice been awarded for teaching excellence in the MBA program.





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Education (3)

University of Michigan: Ph.D., Finance 2008

Washington University in St. Louis: MBA, Business Administration 2002

University of Alabama at Birmingham: BS, Management 1997

Media Appearances (4)

Real Returns: Are Private-Equity Gains Built to Last?

The Wall Street Journal  online


A new study shows that one of the chief benefits of private-equity firms is largely an illusion.

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Activist Investors Cause Headaches for Boards, Boost Value for Stockholders

Texas Enterprise | Big Ideas in Business  online


Cohn looks at activist investors to see how their presence affects a company’s stock price. His findings show that stockholders have reason to welcome these corporate gadflies. Not only can activist investors tip the balance of power toward shareholders, but they might even raise their stock returns.

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Where's the Shareholder Outrage at Hewlett-Packard?

Bloomberg Businessweek  online


How have Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shareholders largely remained so silent while board infighting, botched multi-billion-dollar acquisitions, multiple strategic false starts, and high C-Suite turnover have combined to lop off more than $90 billion of market valuation—the venerable tech company is now worth just $28 billion—since the end of 2009?

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The Power of the 'Passive-Aggressive' Shareholder

Fortune  online


There’s a case to be made that activist investors are great for both the shareholders and managers at companies they partially own but aren’t trying to take down.

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Articles (4)

The Evolution of Capital Structure and Operating Performance After Leveraged Buyouts: Evidence From US Corporate Tax Returns Journal of Financial Economics


[Recepient of Charles River Assoc. Award for the Best Paper on Corporate Finance, 2012 Western Finance Assoc.] This study uses corporate tax return data to examine the evolution of firms' financial
structure and performance after leveraged buyouts (LBOs) for a comprehensive sample of
317 LBOs taking place between 1995 and 2007. We find little evidence of operating ...

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[Forthcoming] On Enhancing Shareholder Control: A (Dodd-) Frank Assessment of Proxy Access Journal of Finance


We use events related to a proxy access rule passed by the SEC in 2010 (but
never implemented) as natural experiments to study the valuation effects of exogenous
changes in the degree of shareholder control. We find that increases (decreases) in ...

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[Forthcoming] Do Stock Analysts Influence Merger Completion? An Examination of Post-Merger Announcement Recommendations Management Science (Accepted)


This paper investigates the effects of analyst recommendations issued after a merger announcement on deal completion. We find the probability of completion increases (decreases) with the favorability of acquirer (target) recommendations.

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Optimal Corporate Governance in the Presence of an Activist Investor Review of Financial Studies


We provide a model of governance in which a board arbitrates between an activist
investor and a manager facing reputational concerns. The optimal level of internal board
governance depends on both the severity of the agency conflict and the strength of ...

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