Beatrice Michaeli joined the UCLA Anderson faculty as assistant professor of accounting in 2014 after completing a Ph.D. and an M.Phil. in accounting at Columbia Business School. Her research addresses analytical models in the area of financial and managerial accounting, with a focus on financial reporting, performance measurement, incentives and contracting.
Bulgarian-born and raised in a family of judges and lawyers, Michaeli initially pursued a law degree in Bulgaria, followed by an advanced law degree in Israel, where she learned Hebrew in six months and prepared to embark on an internship in prosecution of white collar crimes. Possessing a broad variety of interests, she became involved in research on the interaction between anti-trust law and industrial organization. She later pursued an advanced degree in business administration, with finance and accounting as major interests. A serendipitous teaching invitation made her realize she enjoyed it, and she accepted the offer to join the faculty of Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel’s first private university, teaching undergraduate accounting and corporate finance classes. She felt her natural path from there was to pursue a doctoral degree in order to focus on academic research and teaching.
Her dissertation constructs a Bayesian persuasion model to study the interplay between producing and disseminating information. The results call into question the belief that forcing managers to provide unrestricted access to information to all potential users is always beneficial. She says, “If managers could selectively disseminate information they might gather more precise information to begin with and thereby make the users better-off on an aggregate level.” Michaeli’s current research continues to use Bayesian persuasion models to study firms’ information gathering and dissemination choices. For example, one of her projects examines firms’ optimal public reporting when subsequent private information might arrive. Another project considers the investment distortions caused by suboptimal information gathering.
Michaeli is also applying a principal-agent framework to explore the link between relationship-specific investments of business units involved in joint projects and compensation risk. The results shed light on the investment distortions and their mitigation through optimally adjusted compensation schemes. She is interested in studying the optimal investment authority allocation and the ability of divisional managers engaged in joint projects to collude against the principal and earn “arbitrage” profits.
Whereas Michaeli’s research hinges on abstract analytical models, in the classroom she draws from concrete case studies to teach corporate incentives and decision-making. “My teaching is very hands-on,” she says. “I encourage students to observe what’s going on and think of a solution. Sometimes there’s not one super solution; students need to consider under what circumstances one or another specific solution is better. At the very least, I expect them to learn to ask the right questions, to anticipate the practices that are often applied in corporations, and to be aware of how to make better decisions.”
Ph.D. Accounting, Columbia Business School
M.Phil. Accounting, Columbia Business School
MBA Accounting and Finance, Tel-Aviv University
LLM Tel-Aviv University
LLM Veliko Turnovo University
LLB Veliko Turnovo University