Elena S. Pikulina

Assistant Professor

Finance Division
Sauder School of Business
University of British Columbia

Email: elena (dot) pikulina (at) sauder.ubc.ca
Phone: +1 604 822 3314
2053 Main Mall, HA864
Vancouver BC
V6T 1Z2 Canada

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Working Papers

Implicit discrimination and the promotion gap, with Daniel Ferreira. Curernt version: November 2021.

We develop a model of implicitly biased decision-making in competitive promotions. In our model, a decision-maker needs to choose who to promote to a top position. The decision-maker always prefers a skilled agent over an unskilled one but is biased in favor of candidates from a certain group when choosing among identical agents. The bias is implicit in the sense of having no direct payoff consequences for the decision-maker, and thus being imperceptible to a decision-maker who is initially unaware of it. As agents compete with each other in a promotion contest, their strategic behavior can either exacerbate or attenuate the initial decision-maker's bias. Our model shows that even small biases can translate into substantial differences in promotion outcomes between groups.

Preferences for autonomy in pay, with Chloe Tergiman. Current version: January 2020.

A recent literature points to individuals having preferences for autonomy from others when it concerns how much they earn. Using a simple experiment we evaluate whether individuals exhibit preferences for autonomy without confounds present in the earlier work. We show that in their vast majority (close to 90%), individuals show no such preferences for autonomy. Our results suggest that the previously documented prevalence of autonomy preferences is likely due to risk attitudes, environment complexity, perceived uncertainty or beliefs, rather than preferences for autonomy in pay per se.

Contractual and tournament incentives in the mutual fund industry. Current version: Novermber 2015.

I study the impact of contractual incentives on the behavior of mutual fund managers in annual tournaments. I show that linear contracts as opposed to concave ones induce managers to make larger risk adjustments in response to their relative performance ranks. I argue that contracts with linear fee structure directly translate the convex relationship between past fund returns and fund size into a convex relationship between past performance and managerial pay, whereas concave contracts distort this relationship and make it less convex. I also demonstrate that higher fee rates encourage fund managers to engage into annual tournaments, as they strengthen the connection between fund size and managerial pay in comparison with lower fee rates. The above results are robust to controlling for funds characteristics, such as fund size, age and turnover, as well as year- and style-fixed effects.

Work in Progress

Political divergence and the geography of advised equity portfolio, Yihui Pan, Stephan Siegel and Tracy Wang.

Interest rate experiences and mutual fund risk taking, with Carolin Pflueger

Labour heterogeneity and stock returns, with Hernan Ortiz-Molina

Culture and market behaviour: Do Chinese become less risk-seeking when they are out of China? with Luc Renneboog and Philippe N. Tobler


Pan, Yuhui, Elena S. Pikulina, Stephan Siegel and Tracy Yue Wang (2021). Do equity markets care about income inequality? Evidence from pay ratio disclosure. Forthcoming in the Journal of Finance.

Pikulina, Elena and Chloe Tergiman (2020). Preferences for power. Journal of Public Economics 185 (2020): 104-173.

Pikulina, Elena, Luc Renneboog, and Philippe N. Tobler. Do Confident Individuals Generally Work Harder? Journal of Multinational Financial Management 44 (2018): 51-60.

Pikulina, Elena, Luc Renneboog, and Philippe N. Tobler. Overconfidence and Investment: An Experimental Approach. Journal of Corporate Finance 43 (2017): 175-192. Experimental instructions.

Pikulina, Elena, and Luc Renneboog. 14. Serial Takeovers, Large Shareholders, and CEOs' Equity-Based Compensation. Research Handbook on Shareholder Power (2015): 297.

Pikulina, Elena, Luc Renneboog, Jenke Ter Horst, and Philippe N. Tobler. Bonus Schemes and Trading Activity. Journal of Corporate Finance 29 (2014): 369-389.

Drobyshevsky, Sergey, Sergey Narkevich, Elena Pikulina, and Dmitry Polevoy. Analysis of a possible bubble on the Russian real estate market. Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy Research Paper Series 128 (2009).

Mount Thompson summit view to the east, Canadian Rockies