Faculty & Research

Robert H. Gertner

Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance; Deputy Dean for the Part-Time MBA Programs

Phone :
1-312-464-8795
Address :
5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Robert H. Gertner has been on the Chicago Booth faculty since 1986. His research interests include strategic decision-making, corporate finance, organization structure, theory of the firm, and social enterprises. He has published papers in numerous scholarly journals including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economic Studies, and the Yale Law Journal. He is co-author, with colleagues Douglas Baird and Randy Picker, of Game Theory and the Law. Gertner teaches courses in strategic decision-making, entrepreneurial strategy, and social entrepreneurship.

Gertner received a National Science Foundation Research Grant, an Olin Fellowship in Law and Economics and was a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has held visiting positions at CEPREMAP in Paris, Cornell Law School, The University of Chicago Law School, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Gertner is a trustee of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, a national organization devoted to large-scale social research in public interest. He is also a board member of the Interfaith Youth Core, and a member of the Evaluation Advisory Council of the Chicago Public Education Fund.

Gertner received a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in economics from Princeton University in 1981 and a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986. He worked as a consultant for AT&T prior to attending MIT.

 

2014 - 2015 Course Schedule

Number Name Quarter
34115 New Social Ventures 2015 (Spring)
34810 Global New Venture Challenge I 2015 (Winter)
42810 Strategic Investment Decisions 2015 (Summer)

Other Interests

Photography, cooking, backgammon.

 

Research Activities

Industrial organization; resource allocation and decision-making in organizations; corporate investment; law and economics; theory of the firm; strategic pricing.

With Eric Powers and David Scharfstein, "Learning About Internal Capital Markets From Corporate Spinoffs," Journal of Finance (2002).

With Robert Stillman, "Vertical Integration and Internet Strategies in the Apparel Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics (2001).

With Geoffrey Miller, "Settlement Escrows," Journal of Legal Studies (1995).

With D. Baird and R. Picker, Game Theory and the Law (1994).

"Game Shows and Economic Behavior: Risk Taking on 'Card Sharks'," Quarterly Journal of Economics (1993).

For a listing of research publications please visit ’s university library listing page.

New: Organizing for Synergies
Date Posted: Oct  22, 2011
Large companies are usually organized into business units, yet some activities are almost always centralized in a company-wide functional unit. We first show that organizations endogenously create an incentive conflict between functional managers (who desire excessive standardization) and business-unit managers (who desire excessive local adaptation). We then study how the allocation of authority and tasks to functional and business-unit managers interacts with this endogenous incentive conflict

The Value Maximizing Board
Date Posted: Apr  22, 2008
This paper compares board and director characteristics of reverse leveraged buyout (LBO) firms controlled by LBO specialists to those of an industry- and size-matched comparison sample. We consider the boards of the reverse LBOs to be value-maximizing because of the strong incentives the LBO specialists have to structure those boards in a way that maximizes shareholder value. Relative to the comparison firms, we find that the boards of the reverse LBOs are smaller, control larger equity stakes

The Value-Maximizing Board
Date Posted: Apr  22, 2008
This paper compares board and director characteristics of reverse leveraged buyout (LBO) firms controlled by LBO specialists to those of an industry- and size-matched comparison sample. We consider the boards of the reverse LBOs to be value-maximizing because of the strong incentives the LBO specialists have to structure those boards in a way that maximizes shareholder value. Relative to the comparison firms, we find that the boards of the reverse LBOs are smaller, control larger equity stakes,

New: The Informativeness of Prices: Search With Learning and Cost Uncertainty
Date Posted: Aug  07, 2007
No abstract is available for this paper.

New: Organizing for Synergies
Date Posted: May  08, 2007
Multi-product firms create value by integrating functional activities such as manufacturing across business units. This integration often requires making functional managers responsible for implementing standardization, thereby limiting business-unit managers' authority. Realizing synergies then involves a tradeoff between motivation and coordination. Motivating managers requires narrowly-focused incentives around their area of responsibility. Functional managers become biased toward excessive s

New: A Theory of Workouts and the Effects of Reorganization Law
Date Posted: Jan  03, 2007
We present a model of a financially distressed firm with outstanding bank debt and public debt. Coordination problems among public debtholders introduce investment inefficiencies in the workout process. In most cases, these inefficiencies are not mitigated by the ability of firms to buy back their public debt with cash and other securities--the only feasible way that firms can restructure their public debt. We show that Chapter 11 reorganization law increases investment and we characterize the t

Learning about Internal Capital Markets from Corporate Spin-offs
Date Posted: Sep  01, 2003
We examine the investment behavior of firms before and after being spun off from their parent companies. Their investment after the spin-off is significantly more sensitive to measures of investment opportunities (e.g., industry Tobin's Q or industry investment) than it is before the spin-off. Spin-offs tend to cut investment in low Q industries and increase investment in high Q industries. These changes are observed primarily in spin-offs of firms in industries unrelated to the parents' industr

Intellectual Property, Antitrust and Strategic Behavior
Date Posted: Jun  21, 2002
Economic growth depends in large part on technological change. Laws governing intellectual property rights protect inventors from competition in order to create incentives for them to innovate. Antitrust laws constrain how a monopolist can act in order to maintain its monopoly in an attempt to foster competition. There is a fundamental tension between these two different types of laws. Attempts to adapt static antitrust analysis to a setting of dynamic R&D competition through the use of 'innovat

Anatomy of Financial Distress: An Examination of Junk-Bond Issuers
Date Posted: Jan  03, 2002
This paper examines the events following the onset of financial distress for 102 public junk bond issuers. We find that out-of-court debt relief mainly comes from junk bond holders; banks almost never forgive principal, though they do defer payments and waive debt covenants. Asset sales are an important means of avoiding Chapter 11 reorganization; however, they may be limited by industry factors. If a company simply restructures its bank debt, but either does not restructure its public debt o

Learning About Internal Capital Markets From Corporate Spinoffs
Date Posted: Nov  05, 2001
This paper examines the investment behavior of firms before and after they are spun off from their parent companies. We show that investment after the spinoff is significantly more sensitive to measures of investment opportunities (e.g. industry Tobin's Q or industry investment) than it is before the spinoff. Spinoffs tend to cut their investment in low Q industries and increase their investment in high Q industries. These changes are observed only in spinoffs of firms in industries unrelated t