Rebecca Lester

Associate Professor of Accounting

Botha-Chan Faculty Scholar for 2021-22
Academic Area:

Research Statement

Rebecca Lester is an empirical Accounting researcher studying the role of corporate reporting and tax policies on companies' investment and employment decisions.

Research Interests

  • Taxation
  • Firm Investment and Employment
  • Multinational Location Decisions
  • Place-based Tax Policies


Rebecca Lester is an Associate Professor of Accounting and one of three inaugural Botha-Chan Faculty Scholars at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her research studies how tax policies affect corporate investment and employment decisions. In particular, she examines the role of reporting incentives, disclosure regimes, and information frictions in facilitating or altering the effectiveness of cross-border, federal, and local tax incentives. Her recent work explores national-level tax benefits, such as U.S. manufacturing tax incentives, European intellectual property tax regimes, and tax loss offsets. Other work examines state, local, and neighborhood-level incentives, including firm-specific tax subsidies and the recent Opportunity Zones tax incentive. Professor Lester received her PhD in Accounting from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and she has a B.A. and a Masters of Accountancy from the University of Tennessee. Prior to her studies at MIT, she worked for eight years at Deloitte in Chicago, including five years in the M&A Transaction Services practice.  

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, Accounting, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2015
  • Masters of Accountancy, University of Tennessee, 2002
  • BS, Accounting, University of Tennessee, 2002

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Accounting, Stanford GSB, 2019–present
  • Assistant Professor of Accounting, Stanford GSB, 2015–2019

Professional Experience

  • Manager, Deloitte M&A Transaction Services, 2003–2008
  • Tax Senior Consultant, Deloitte Lead Tax Services, 2001–2003
  • CPA, State of Illinois (Inactive), 2003

Awards and Honors

  • Stanford MBA Distinguished Teaching Award, Stanford GSB, 2021
  • Best 40 Business School Professors under 40, Poets & Quants, 2018
  • ATA/PwC 2016 Outstanding Tax Dissertation Award
  • MIT Sloan Thesis Prize, First Place
  • Michelle R. Clayman Faculty Scholar, 2018-2021
  • R. Michael and Mary Shanahan Faculty Scholar, 2016–2017


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