SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Kevin Benedict, Gilad Parann-Nissany

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Researchers earn WRDS Best Paper Award and the attention of Greek policymakers

Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS), the leading data research platform and business intelligence tool for corporate, academic and government institutions worldwide, is proud to announce the winners of the 2013 Wharton-WRDS Best Paper Award in Empirical Finance. Best Paper Award winners, Margarita Tsoutsoura, Associate Professor of Finance, Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago; Adair Morse, Assistant Professor of Finance, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley; and Nikolaos Artavanis, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst explored the impact of soft markets and tax evasion in Greece. This award was presented to the researchers at the recent Western Finance Association conference.

WRDS is committed to supporting the best of academic research in the finance fields. “Sponsoring the Best Paper Award is a natural fit for us. Keeping track of trends in research helps us serve our clients better, and advancing the field of academic research is a win for everyone,” said Robert Zarazowski, Senior Director of WRDS. “Knowledge is at the heart of what we do at WRDS – helping clients get the information they need to make the most accurate, data-driven decisions they can.”

The authors’ widely cited paper, “Tax Evasion Across Industries: Soft Credit Evidence From Greece, examined Greek income tax evasion, banking and credit semi-formality. Their work has received unprecedented media coverage and has already ushered in significant changes in the Greek tax policy.

Their findings indicate that banks make loans on estimated rather than reported income, and that under-reporting income accounts for at least $28 billion Euros in Greece. The implications for fiscal and regulatory policy in Greece, and other countries that operate on semi-formality, are significant.

The team's research was presented in Greece in September 2012 and already the Greek government is making policy changes based on this research. The Greek government has decided to eliminate tax-free income for certain professionals and is shifting to a model in which professionals carry some of the burden of proof of not having hidden income. Furthermore the government announced reforms to target professionals with long career tenure in high-income areas of Greece. Beyond this direct impact, the authors’ hope is that their research broadens both policy and academic perspectives on how institutions and businesses adapt to tax evasion endemic to occupations or sectors, and how countrywide economic outcomes can be sensitive to these adaptations.

"This WRDS Best Paper Award is a real honor. My colleagues Adair, Nikolaos and I are thrilled to receive this recognition. We are grateful to WRDS for supporting this award which highlights the work of researchers like us. The award has helped us share our findings, expanding the conversation about tax evasion and its impact on global financial markets even further," said Margarita Tsoutsoura.

About WRDS and the Wharton School

Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) is the leading data research platform and business intelligence tool for over 30,000 corporate, academic, government and nonprofit clients in 31 countries. WRDS provides the user with one location to access over 200 terabytes of data across multiple disciplines including Finance, Marketing, and Economics. WRDS provides flexible data delivery options including a powerful web query method that reduces research time, and the WRDS Cloud for executing research and strategy development. Our Analytics team, doctoral-level support and rigorous data review and validation give clients the confidence to tailor research within complex databases and create a wide range of reliable data models including Portfolio Construction & Benchmarks, Event Studies, Returns and Market-to-Book Ratios and Momentum. www.whartonwrds.com

Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates ongoing economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and a powerful alumni network of more than 92,000 graduates.

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