Rebecca Lester

Rebecca Lester
Associate Professor, Accounting
On leave until March 2021.
Associate Professor of Accounting
Michelle R. Clayman Faculty Scholar for 2020–2021
Academic Area:

Research Statement

Professor Rebecca Lester's research documents the economic consequences of accounting information and tax policies on firms’ investment and employment decisions.

Research Interests

  • Taxation
  • Firm Investment and Employment
  • Multinational Location Decision
  • Mergers and Acquisitions

Teaching Statement

Professor Lester teaches the first year MBA Financial Accounting course. The objective of this course is to learn how a company's economic transactions are reflected on financial statements and to train students to be informed users of this financial information.


Rebecca Lester joined the Stanford Graduate School of Business as an Assistant Professor of Accounting in July 2015. She studies the effects of accounting rules and tax policies on domestic and multinational firm investment and employment decisions. Her recent work has examined how firms respond to certain national-level tax rate incentives, such as those related to U.S. manufacturing and those for European intellectual property income.  Additional work examines state, local and neighborhood-level incentives, including firm-specific tax subsidies and the recent Opportunity Zones tax incentive, as well as the role of tax net operating losses in both corporate investment and cash holdings decisions.

Professor Lester received her PhD in Accounting from the MIT Sloan School of Management and both a B.A. and Masters of Accountancy from the University of Tennessee. Prior to her studies at MIT, she was a Manager in the M&A Transaction Services practice of Deloitte in Chicago, Illinois.

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

  • Michelle R. Clayman Faculty Scholar, 2019–2020
  • Michelle R. Clayman Faculty Scholar, 2018–2019
  • Best 40 Business School Professors under 40, Poets & Quants, 2018
  • Michelle R. Clayman Faculty Scholar, 2017–2018
  • R. Michael and Mary Shanahan Faculty Scholar, 2016–2017
  • ATA/PwC 2016 Outstanding Tax Dissertation Award
  • MIT Sloan Thesis Prize, First Place
  • Stanford MBA Distinguished Teaching Award - Honorable Mention (2016 and 2018)


Journal Article

Lisa De Simone, Rebecca Lester, Kevin Markle
Journal of Accounting Research
November 2019
Rebecca Lester
Journal of Accounting Research
2019 Vol. 57 Issue 4 Pages 1059-1114
Rebecca Lester, Dominika Langenmayr
The Accounting Review
May 2018 Vol. 93 Issue 3 Pages 237-266
Rebecca Lester, Cody Evans, Hanna Tian
State Tax Notes
2018 Vol. 90 Issue 3 Pages 221-235
Rebecca Lester, Ralph Rector
Tax Notes
August 2016 Vol. 152 Issue 9 Pages 1269-1292
Michelle Hanlon, Rebecca Lester, Rodrigo Verdi
Journal of Financial Economics
2015 Vol. 116 Issue 1 Pages 179-196
SP Kothari, Rebecca Lester
Accounting Horizons
2012 Vol. 26 Issue 2 Pages 335-352

Working Papers

Rebecca Lester, Lisa De Simone, Aneesh Raghunandan November 6, 2019
Shannon Chen, Lisa De Simone, Michelle Hanlon, Rebecca Lester June 2, 2019
Heitzman Shane, Rebecca Lester February 6, 2019

Stanford Case Studies

Rebecca Lester, Jaclyn Foroughi

In the Media

Poets & Quants April 23, 2018

Insights by Stanford Business

October 28, 2019
Slashing business taxes brings some local investment but fewer overall U.S. jobs, new research finds.
July 22, 2019
A tough new law made it much harder for American tax cheats to hide their money offshore. But a new study shows they haven’t given up.
September 14, 2018
Stanford GSB faculty suggest books and articles related to the theme.
June 01, 2018
Stanford’s Rebecca Lester teams up with two graduate students to find out.
December 04, 2017
A new study by Stanford’s Rebecca Lester suggests that the GOP plan to cut corporate tax rates could also discourage risk-taking.

School News

July 18, 2018
This summer, MBA student Cody Evans is traveling to low-income areas targeted by a new federal program for economic investment to see how they could succeed.
June 01, 2016
Accounting professors Elizabeth Blankespoor and Ed deHaan, and Marketing Professor Harikesh Nair have been recognized by students for exceptional teaching.
October 06, 2015
New faculty and lecturers offer unique perspectives and experience to augment program offerings.