Robert B. Couch

Assistant Professor of Finance

"In our increasingly globalized economy, specialized training is a necessary but not sufficient ingredient for success. If nothing else, we must learn from the financial crisis that there is an increasing need to be aware of how one’s particular role in an organization fits into the larger whole of that organization, and in society more generally. This is the importance of integration, and Atkinson is uniquely positioned to provide an education that gives students both specialized skills and the ability to apply those skills in an integrated way."


"Trust is critical in financial and economic transactions. This is a topic that researchers—especially in finance and economics—have not paid sufficient attention to. This is largely because trust is a topic that cuts across disciplinary lines, since trust depends on cultural norms, in addition to economic and structural factors."

"I believe that a diverse set of factors are at work in the learning process. For this reason, I am a strong believer in student classroom participation and promoting interdisciplinary thinking and discussion. So, in addition to rigorous mathematical modeling of finance problems, I also aim to cultivate skills that are more subjective by using integrated, case-based settings to discuss the role and effects of financial decisions and forces. These problems require hard, quantitative skills, but they also require a kind of subjective reasoning that often makes quant-types uncomfortable. But I think this kind of discomfiture in a class is a good thing, as it forces students to grapple with the complexity of real-world problems. Textbook concepts are useful only inasmuch as they are actually woven into the fabric of real life—it is this weaving skill that our integrated curriculum and case-based methods instills."


After majoring in economics and Russian literature at Brigham Young University, Robert Couch received his Ph.D in financial economics at Carnegie Mellon University in 2004. He then taught at BYU's Marriott School of Business until joining the Atkinson faculty fall of 2009.

"I am very excited to be at the Atkinson School because of its views on research and teaching. Here, I believe the best aspects of a liberal arts college spill over into the practical virtues of management education, in a way that creates a unique vision and educational experience that is not possible anywhere else."


  • M.S., Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University
  • B.S., Brigham Young University
  • B.A., Brigham Young University

Personal Interests

Soccer, tennis, skiing, reading, backpacking, fly-fishing, etc. I grew up in Southeast Idaho, a few hours away from Jackson Hole Wyoming, so I'm excited about living in the beautiful northwest—with magnificent forests and picturesque mountains close by, but without the cold weather!

Research Interests

Corporate Finance, Investments, Asset Pricing, IPOs, M&As, Lending Relationships, Business Ethics

Honors and Awards

Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Dean's Research Award 2009–2012, Marriott School Research Grant 2004-2007, Finance Society’s Best Undergraduate Teaching Award (BYU) 2005-2006, Carnegie Bosch Institute International Management Fellowship 2002-2003, Humane Studies Fellowship 2001-2002, William Larimer Mellon Fellowship 1998-2001, Research Scholarship Award (BYU) 1996-1997

Selected Professional Activities

Ad hoc referee for:

  • Journal of Finance
  • Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
  • Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis
  • Emerging Markets Finance and Trade
  • Review of Finance

Selected Publications

Published Research:

"The Desire to Acquire and IPO Long-Run Underperformance" with James Brau and Ninon Sutton; forthcoming in Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.

"Private Investment and Public Equity Returns" with Wei Wu, forthcoming in Journal of Economics and Business.

"Approaches to Financing Biotechnology: IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) v. RMs" with Mark Ahn and Wei Wu, forthcoming in Journal of Health Care Finance.

Papers Under Review:

"Value of Interest Tax Shields with Default and Refinancing" with Wei Wu and Michael Dothan, under 2nd round at Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting.

"Payback Inequity and Intergenerational Financial Responsibility," presented at the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management Conference, 2nd round at Public Budgeting & Finance.

"Playing with the Economy: On Badiou's Lack of a Theory of Political Economy" with Joseph Spencer, accepted to Conference and under review for a special issue dedicated to Badiou at Business Ethics: A European Review.

Selected Presentations

"The Desire to Acquire and IPO Long-Run Underperformance," Financial Management Association, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Sungkyunkwan University, Brigham Young University, International University of Japan, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2008–2010).

"Private Investment and Public Equity Returns," Financial Management Association, University of Utah, Brigham Young University, Carnegie Mellon University (2007–2010).

"Stock Prices and the Business Cycle: R&D's Role," Brigham Young University (2006).

"Portfolio Choice with Complementary Housing," Brigham Young University, Carnegie Mellon University (2005).