Frontaler Blick auf das D4 Gebäude.

Researcher of the Month: Tobin Hanspal, Institute for Finance, Banking and Insurance


The title Researcher of the Month is awarded every month as a special recognition and appreciation of the research achievements of the distinguished person.

How can you teach investors to better understand what dividends are all about? This is one of the main questions our current Researcher of the Month, Assistant Professor Tobin Hanspal from WU’s Department of Finance, Accounting & Statistics, sets out to answer in his research. Many investors incorrectly believe that dividends are something they receive on top of the share price. Instead of reinvesting their dividends, they simply spend them, losing out on long-term gains. Tobin Hanspal investigates the investment decisions and mistakes of retail investors. He has carried out a simple information provision experiment showing that investors are more likely to reinvest dividends and build up more wealth if they are educated appropriately.

Tobin Hanspal joined WU Vienna in fall 2019 as a tenure track assistant professor. Prior to joining WU, he was a post-doc at Goethe University Frankfurt, and before that he completed his PhD at Copenhagen Business School. Hanspal is originally from the United States and grew up in Boston and worked for a few years in New York City. Since his PhD, he has worked at the intersection of two growing fields in finance: behavioral finance and household finance. Generally, his work investigates how households and individual investors make financial choices and how these decisions lead to various outcomes, which may or may not be optimal as dictated by economic theory. This includes investors’ demand for dividends, how personal experiences in the stock market affect risk taking, retail investors’ attention to cryptocurrencies and lottery-like stocks, and what influences investor beliefs and expectations and how their beliefs affect their portfolio choices.

His research has been featured in top academic journals such as the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Review of Finance, the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, and the Review of Economics and Statistics. He has also been recognized by leading awards such as the WU Best Paper Award (2022) and the Sturm & Drang Award (2018) for best publication at Goethe University Frankfurt. 

We’d like to congratulate Tobin Hanspal on being named WU’s latest Researcher of the Month.

Research video

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