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Lei Gao

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Finance

Office: 3342 Gerdin Business Building
Phone number: (515) 294-7860


Dr. Gao is an assistant professor of finance at Iowa State University, where he teaches courses on investments, and security analysis and portfolio management. Dr. Gao earned a Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Georgia, an M.S. from Michigan State University, and a B.S. from Peking University. His research has been published at top journals such as the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of USA (PNAS),  Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Journal of Corporate Finance (JCF) among others. Dr. Gao's research has been featured at news media, including NBC, Washington Post, Bloomberg, CNN, and academic press, including Harvard Law School, Oxford Business Law OBLB, ASSA, etc. His publication at PNAS about Fair Lending is ranked by Financial Times as #15 in "Top 100 Business School Research with Social Impact". Dr. Gao has given a speech at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) about fair lending. He has also been invited to be an expert witness before the U.S. Congress and his research has been the base for the testimony. His publication at JFE about "Market Intraday Momentum" is one of the most downloaded papers at SSRN in concurrent research. His research about short selling regulation at JCF has been featured in Cato Institute Research Brief. 

Dr. Gao is also a Financial Economist at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where he provides economics analysis and memos to support the Commission's enforcement and regulation, Protecting investors; maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets; facilitating capital formation.

Academic History

  • PhD., University of Georgia
  • M.S., Michigan State University
  • B.S., Peking University


  • Culture and Finance
  • Financial Markets
  • Corporate Finance
  • Big data
  • FinTech


Outstanding Paper Award from Eastern Finance Association (EFA) Annual Meeting 2016
Best Paper Award Semi Finalist Financial Management Association 2017
Best Paper Award Finalist Financial Management Association Asia / Pacific 2018
Woodruff Award 2009
Comer Award 2008

Selected Publications

  • with Yufeng Han, Sophia Li, and Guofu Zhou (2018) "Market Intraday Momentum", Journal of Financial Economics, forthcomingLink to Paper
  • with H. Sun, equal authors (2018) "Lending practices to same-sex borrowers,' has been circulated as ‘The Rainbow of Credit: Same-sex Mortgage Discrimination and Two-sided Spillover Effect ", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, (P.N.A.S.); FMA Best Paper Semifinal list; , forthcoming, AEA version:Link to Paper( Media Coverage )
  • with Y. Wang, and J. Zhao (2017) "Does Local Religiosity Affect Organizational Risk-Taking? Evidence from the Hedge Fund Industry", Journal of Corporate Finance, (Lead Article); Eastern Finance Association (EFA) Outstanding Paper Award, forthcomingLink to Paper(Media Coverage, Science X)
  • with Andrey Zagorchev (2018) "The Impact of Exogenous Corporate Governance Changes on Innovation and Market Value", Quarterly Journal of Finance, 8 (1):1840001.
  • with A. Elnahas and G. Ismail (2018) "Return Predictability: The Dual Signaling Hypothesis of Stock Splits", The Financial Review, forthcoming
  • with Joseph Zhang (2015) "Firms` earnings smoothing, corporate social responsibility, and valuation", Journal of Corporate Finance, 32:108-127.
  • with Andrey Zagorchev (2015) "Corporate governance and performance offinancial institutions", Journal of Economics and Business, (82):17-41.
  • with Leo Yang, and Joseph Zhang (2015) "Corporate patents, R&D success, and tax avoidance", Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, 45 (2):1-34.
  • with Richard B. Mei (2013) "Investor attention and abnormal performance of timberland investments in the United States.", Forest Policy and Economics, 28:60-65.

Papers Under Review

  • Xiaohu Deng, Lei Gao, and David Kemme "The information content of short selling and put option trading: When are they substitutes? R&R",
  • Lei Gao and Hua Sun "The Rainbow of Credit: Same-sex Mortgage Discrimination and Two-sided Spillover Effect, ; FMA Best Paper Semifinal list; media coverage AEA version:", Link to Paper
  • Lei Gao, Jack He, and Julie Wu "Standing out from the Crowd via Corporate Goodness: Evidence from a Natural Experiment. (Media Coverage: Harvard Law School Forum)", Link to Paper
  • Xiaohu Deng, Lei Gao, and Jeong-Bon Kim "The Pathogen, Scapegoat, or a Miracle Drug? Short Selling and Stock Price Crash Risk. (Media Coverage: Oxford Business Law OBLB)", Link to Paper
  • Lei Gao "Corporate Regulation and Capital Structure: Evidence from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002", Link to Paper

Work in process

  • Lei Gao, Oliver Li, and Eric Yeung "Online Information Acquisition and Investor Trading.", Link to Paper
  • Xiaohu Deng, Lei Gao, and David Kemme "Multi-market information flows: market efficiency and return predictability,",