One of the advantages of being a graduate of the University of Michigan is that every so often my name comes up in the queue and I am invited to attend the May Conference at Michigan. This year the conference is being held in the honour of Vic Bernard, who probably more than any other accounting researcher helped discredit the EMH as finance orthodoxy. Vic, a graduate of the University of Illinois spent most of his academic career at Michigan prior to his untimely passing at a very young age. I had the honour of being his teaching assistant for a term during my PhD program as well as taking his capital markets class, a class that apparently I was the only one who thoroughly enjoyed it as the others were afraid they were going to make mistakes. As I knew I knew little, I assumed I would make a lot of mistakes but that I would try to make each mistake only once. It seemed to work!!!
The substantive advantage for me attending this conference is that it allows me to catch up on state of the art valuation research that I might otherwise not be exposed to. This conference features papers by Ryan Ball, Doug Skinner, Joe Piotroski, and their co-authors among others!!! In just taking quick looks at the papers I have learned about issues that I would never have dreamt of about insider trading, road show contents and even an old favorite, mechanical models versus humans in forecasting earning. It is possible that they finally have a mechanical model that outperforms human analysts even in the short run – but a little late wouldn’t you say seeing a computer has already won Jeopardy!!!! 🙂