Meet Our New Faculty: Emma Wang
Meet Emma Wang, one of the newest faculty members from across the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. Wang earned her PhD in accounting from the University of Toronto, and will join the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management as assistant professor of accounting. Learn more about Wang’s areas of expertise, research focus, courses she is teaching, and other interests in this Q&A.
Emma Wang | Assistant Professor of Accounting | Dyson School
What are your research and teaching areas of focus?
Through my research, I am interested in understanding the current status of ESG development and the forces that can shape firms’ ESG practices. Specifically, in my current research projects, I investigate three important questions in the ESG space.
1. How to design the ESG standards / institutional features to ensure that the ESG movement will make real impact instead of becoming a marketing hype?
2. What are the forces that drives firms ESG performance?
3. What is the relation between shareholder value and firms ESG performance?
In my job market paper, titled “Mitigating Greenwashing Concerns in the Green Bond Market,” I investigate the first question by examining two governance regimes that aim to mitigate concerns of greenwashing by promoting accountability and transparency in the green bond market. The first regime, established by the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), emphasize on private communication and external certification against a green taxonomy, whereas the second regime, established by the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX), emphasize on transparency and visibility. I first document that issuers of high-quality green bonds differentiate themselves from greenwashing issuers by bonding with the CBI and the LGX. Comparing to non-bonding issuers, issuers bonding with the CBI achieve a larger carbon reduction and obtain more comprehensive post-issuance assurance. In contrast, issuers bonding with LGX provide more post-issuance disclosure and assurance, and allow easier access to information. In the primary market, I find that the green bond premium is mainly driven by the LGX issuers, but not the CBI issuers. In the secondary market, I find that the issuers that CBI/LGX issuers that provide high post-issuance transparency receive larger liquidity benefits, whereas those that fail to provide high post-issuance transparency receive a liquidity penalty. The findings corroborate the important role of public disclosure in mitigating greenwashing concerns and facilitate market liquidity. I think this study provide timely empirical evidence in support of the European Union Green Bond Standard, which not only requires a green taxonomy, but also mandates public disclosure and post-issuance assurance.
What class(es) will you be teaching this year?
I’ll be teaching introduction of Managerial Accounting (AEM3230). I am very excited to teach this course as I know that many managerial accounting textbooks have included discussions on sustainability, which is my research area.
What attracted you to the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business specifically?
I am excited to join Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and work with some of the best accounting scholars. I believe that Cornell provides a great platform for me to keep advancing my research in sustainability. Many of my colleagues in accounting and other research areas share my interest in environmental issues and sustainability. I trust that I will benefit tremendously from working with this diverse group of scholars. I also hope to contribute to Cornell’s sustainability agenda through my research and teaching. Last but not least, Ithaca is gorgeous. My family enjoys hiking and camping so I think this is a great place for us.
What first sparked your interest in your research/area of study?
I have always been interested in the issues I observe in our society. During my master’s program, I got interested in development economics and social welfare analyses. Topics in poverty, inequality, and education are fascinating to me. Coming into accounting, I got interested in the corporation’s role in these issues. What motivates corporations to invest in building a more sustainable society? How do we make sure the sustainable promises corporations give are not just cheap talk? How do we measure ESG performances? What roles do corporate disclosure and transparency play? These are the questions I study in my research. I am passionate about my research topic because I believe high-quality research in sustainability can inform standard setters and industry practitioners and make important social impact. I hope my research can help readers learn about the nuances in important sustainability issues and push the sustainability agenda forward.
How did you know you wanted to teach? What do you like best about teaching?
I am a believer in education, and I have been very fortunate to have met many great teachers during my studies. I believe that a great teacher can cultivate interest in learning, facilitate growth, and guide students to find their passion. As a teacher, I find great satisfaction from introducing knowledge to students and helping them overcome confusion. My happiest moments are when students told me that the course have deepened their interest in the relevant topic and facilitated their education or career decisions. I take great joy in helping my students grow.
What do you do to recharge?
I tend to go to nature when I needed recharge. My family goes camping in the summer and fall, and we like hiking a lot. I also exercise almost every day. Running, yoga, and Pilates are my favorite ways to unwind my mind.