At UBC Sauder, faculty members are more than just ‘professors.’ They conduct impactful research that is changing how society views the world while also inspiring students to pursue their academic passions and become the thoughtful, values-driven leaders the business world needs. This year, UBC Sauder welcomes seven new full-time lecturers, tenured and tenure-track faculty to the school. In the fourth of this series, we introduce you to Yifang Xie, Assistant Professor, Accounting and Information Systems Division, UBC Sauder School of Business.
What brought you to UBC Sauder?
UBC is a world-renowned institution with many talented faculty members. I am looking forward to conducting research with my colleagues and generating positive synergies with them. I am also looking forward to teaching our hard-working and aspiring students at UBC. I am excited that I could contribute to their future success via mentoring.
What are your areas of research and how did you get into this field?
My research is on information disclosure. Specifically, I aim to understand the economic forces that shape a firm’s decision on information disclosure and its implications on the capital markets. I am naturally interested in the information in the capital markets and how different agents have conflicting incentives regarding the disclosure and dissemination of information, and how to better regulate the information flow in the capital markets.
What fuels your research – what prompted you to research this area?
We live in a world of information overload. Information is essentially everywhere. Material information not only shapes investors' perception of a firm but also facilitates the well-functioning of the capital markets. In an era of information overload, it is vitally important to understand the economic forces and managerial incentives behind firms’ decisions in disclosing information to investors, customers, and regulators. I hope that my research can better guide the current regulations on disclosure, which will eventually benefit the functioning of the capital markets and then the real economy.
What inspires you to teach?
I am excited about sharing my insights on the capital markets with the very talented and aspiring students at UBC Sauder. I believe the ultimate goal of my research is to shed light on key areas that deserve more scrutiny. It will be immensely rewarding if I could start in the classroom and direct students’ attention towards burning issues in the capital markets.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve discovered through your research?
I find that sometimes disclosure regulations can be self-defeating. For example, in one of my most recent studies, I find that when regulators require firms to disclose more information but do not specify the requirements on information collection, firms can react by collecting less information in the first place, which will lead to less information being disclosed eventually.
What do you believe is the future of your industry?
I believe accounting research in the future will not only focus on accounting information from financial statements but also information provided by alternative data sources. Accounting research, in general, focuses on the information system in the capital markets. As we are now in an era of information overload, we, as researchers, should be keen on additional sources that provide novel information in addition to the accounting information.
What are you most looking forward to in Vancouver?
I am very much looking forward to exploring the beauty of nature here in Vancouver. The city is quite dynamic and convenient. I really like my current neighborhood, which gives me the chance to enjoy the serene life of Vancouver.