The Journal of Law, Finance, and Accounting will offer an outlet for high quality empirical or theoretical scholarly work at the intersection of law, finance, and accounting. This intersection includes research having implications for the ways law and regulation affect the structure, governance, performance, and function of the firms, markets, and institutions that comprise the financial system as well as research that addresses the different ways capital is raised and the links between financial markets and the real economy. This interdisciplinary research area is sometimes called “law and finance,” although much important relevant work comes from scholars whose principal home may be in accounting, economics, or political science.
There is significant research effort devoted to topics within this interdisciplinary space. Areas of inquiry include corporate governance, the effect of legal and regulatory policy on financial firms, products, and markets, the impact of changes of law and regulation (including accounting standards and practices) on how financial markets and institutions function. It also includes such related topics as how law, finance, accounting, and advanced economies co-evolve; the effects of financial markets on innovation, economic growth, and macro-economic stability; and the political economy of financial market regulation. The sort of interdisciplinary work we envision is often an uneasy fit within traditional broad-spectrum, single-field journals, whether in finance, law, accounting, or economics. One of our goals for the JLFA is the creation of a central forum where the implications of such interdisciplinary research for public policy may be explored and debated. High-quality policy-relevant research on financial markets and institutions is often important, and especially so in the aftermath of the financial crisis, yet opportunities to publish this research in major field journals are scarce. We expect the JLFA to offer a forum for this research, within our area of focus.
In our view, the quest for new insights is often well served by employing a variety of research methodologies. Appropriate frameworks, models, and empirical research designs must be used to shed the most light on a research question under investigation. In other words, the research idea should dictate the methodologies to be employed, rather than allowing the availability of a familiar research method or tool to determine the ideas to be explored. To further these objectives, the Journal will welcome transnational contributions drawing upon diverse traditions of scholarship and experience.
Our view on causal inference can be summarized as: Moving toward more credible causal inference is desirable for many empirical projects. But not all projects lend themselves to clean causal inference. We are open to interesting projects that do not claim causation when it is not available. We are also open to publishing well-executed and explained “null results” papers. If your research design is “clean,” and the research topic is important, we much prefer an honest null results paper to an unconvincing effort to find some statistically significant result, somewhere.