Rebecca Zhang

Rebecca Zhang
PhD Student, Finance
PhD Program Office Graduate School of Business Stanford University 655 Knight Way Stanford, CA 94305

Rebecca Zhang

I am a PhD candidate in Finance at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. My expected graduation date is June 2021. My research interests include ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance), banking, and corporate finance. Currently, I focus on questions related to ESG’s impact on firm performance, asset allocation, and general implications to the financial market.

Research Interests

  • ESG (Environmental, Social, Corporate Governance)
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Banking
  • Corporate Finance

Job Market Paper

This paper studies the extent to which ESG (environmental, social, and governance) performance is priced into corporate loans. I construct a firm-specific ESG measure from 136 raw metrics related to the fundamentals of ESG components. The constructed ESG scores provide measurement transparency and exclude all traditional corporate governance factors that have been established to exert financial impact on firms. Through identification within lender-borrower's persistent relationships over time, I find that a one standard deviation increase in a borrowing company's ESG score leads to a 6.3 basis-point decrease in its loan spread. The reduction in loan spread can be explained through the credit risk channel, where highly rated ESG companies have a 4% lower default probability in the future. Better firm ESG scores also predict fewer financial restatements due to fraud, clerical error, and SEC investigation.