In his first semester at the University of New Mexico, Todd White, assistant professor of accounting at Anderson School of Management, focused his attention on teaching his graduate management classes. He said, “Someone gave me a piece of advice – get your teaching down first.”
Now that the semester has ended, he’s preparing to submit for publication a research project in progress. White explores the way market analysts behave when they don’t have very much information about the companies they analyze - a behavior called herding. It occurs when many analysts reach a similar conclusion about the earning prospects of a particular company. Herding happens more often when very little public information is published about a company.
His latest paper follows earlier research he published about whether investors buying into companies for the short term influence management to look only at immediate earnings. “I didn’t really find that,” he said. “Short term investors know a lot about a firm. They get into firms where they can leverage this superior information to earn a significant return.”
White is now researching a paper that looks at the relationship between earnings for the whole market and gross domestic product. He is building on a study that explores how account earnings predict future GDP, but his particular interest is the impact of volatile markets. “We actually find a counter intuitive result, which is that in a volatile market earnings are more predictive of GDP,” he said. “We think that is because earnings are a leading indicator saying that we are going to get out of this slump.”
It was research by Anderson faculty that attracted White to UNM. After completing his Ph.D. at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, he went to Western Michigan University as an assistant professor where he taught courses in financial and managerial accounting and accounting information systems.
White works at the intersection of the accounting and finance disciplines. He had been in touch with Anderson School faculty since he graduated, and when he saw an opportunity to come to UNM he was interested. “I really was struck by the intelligence and passion for research that the faculty members had here so I put in an application when I saw they had an opening.”
White says he is a little unusual as a business major in his family. His father is a physician and other members of his extended family are in the medical profession. He grew up in Akron, Ohio, earned his bachelor’s degree at Notre Dame and his master’s at the University of Akron.
A study abroad stint in Chile helped him become fluent in Spanish. He also worked at a public accounting firm and became a Certified Public Accountant in Ohio, which gave him a solid business perspective but he can to realize his real passion lay in the academic world of teaching and research.