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Dr Yao Chen

Dr Yao Chen

Lecturer in Finance


+44 (0) 1392 726265

Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK

Yao Chen is a Lecturer in Finance at the University of Exeter Business School. He joined Exeter in September 2019. Before joining Exeter, Yao was appointed as a Lecturer in Accounting and Finance at Cardiff Business School from 2017 to 2019. He was awarded PhD in Finance at Warwick Business School in 2017.

Yao’s research has been presented at the Universities of Cardiff, Durham, Exeter, Miami, Warwick, and Surrey, as well as leading international conferences such as CICF, EFMA, FMA, and GRASFI.


  • Ph.D. in Finance

Research interests

  • Behavioral Finance
  • Empirical Asset Pricing
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Mutual Funds

Research projects

Searching for gambles: Gambling sentiment and stock market outcomes (with Alok Kumar and Chendi Zhang, Revise & Resubmit at Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis)

Using Internet search volume for lottery-related keywords to capture gambling sentiment shifts, we show that when the overall gambling sentiment is high, investor demand for lottery-like stocks increases, stocks with lottery-like characteristics earn positive abnormal returns in the short-run, managers are more likely to announce stock splits to cater to the increased demand for low-priced lottery stocks, and IPOs perceived as lotteries earn higher first-day returns. Further, the sentiment-return relation is stronger among low institutional-ownership firms and in regions where gambling is more acceptable. These results support the view that gambling sentiment has a spillover effect on the stock market.

Social sentiment and asset prices (with Alok Kumar and Chendi Zhang)

This paper shows that shifts in social sentiment affect stock prices. We use the Internet search volume on corporate social responsibility to capture investors’ social sentiment shifts. Stocks with the most positive return sensitivity to social sentiment attract higher institutional demand and earn positive abnormal returns. A trading strategy that exploits the demand-based return predictability generates risk-adjusted returns of 0.46% per month. Further, the return predictability is stronger for stocks headquartered in regions with lower social sentiment. Social sensitivity does not predict firm profits. Overall, these results are consistent with the stock market mispricing stocks’ social sensitivity.

Selected work in progress:

Socially Sensitive fund flows (with Alok Kumar and Chendi Zhang)

ESG Sentiment and Active Mutual Fund Management (with Linquan Chen and Woon Sau Leung)

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category

Journal articles

Chen Y, Zhang C, Kumar A (2018). Searching for Gambles: Gambling Sentiment and Stock Market Outcomes.  Abstract.

Publications by year


Chen Y, Zhang C, Kumar A (2018). Searching for Gambles: Gambling Sentiment and Stock Market Outcomes.  Abstract.

Awards and Honours

  • 2016: FMA Annual Meeting Best Paper Award Semi-Finalist
  • 2012-2016: ESRC Doctoral Scholarship
  • 2008-2011: Lancaster University Management School Scholarship

  • Corporate Finance