Faculty & Research

Merle Erickson

Merle Erickson

Professor of Accounting

Merle Erickson studies the effect of taxes on the pricing and structuring of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; and the use of accounting information in valuation and contracting. He also studies, among other things, various aspects of accounting fraud. He teaches “Taxes and Business Strategy” at Booth and his course has been a staple of the Booth MBA curriculum for more than two decades.

In addition to numerous articles published in a variety of top academic journals, Erickson is a coauthor of the widely used Taxes and Business Strategy textbook (currently in its 6th edition) and is the author/editor of the casebook, Cases in Tax Strategy. From 2005-2011, he served as a co-editor of the Journal of Accounting Research.

Over the course of his career, Erickson has consulted on complex GAAP and tax accounting issues (e.g., debt versus equity, FIN 48 and ASC 740 related issues, intercompany accounting and consolidation, employee stock option accounting, accounting for acquisitions and divestitures, restated financial statements, etc.) in a variety of contexts (e.g., bankruptcy, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, inversions, structured finance, investment planning, cross border and intercompany financing, partnership arrangements, tax sharing agreements, and various types of tax advantaged transactions). His clients have included, among others, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, Fortune 500 companies in various industries, international financial institutions, law firms, accounting firms, and individual taxpayers. He has also assisted corporations with SEC, IRS and whistleblower investigations. Erickson brings these real world experiences to his “Taxes Business Strategy” and executive education courses at Booth.

He has been given several awards from the American Taxation Association for his research and teaching. He has received the Outstanding Manuscript Award (twice) as well as an award for teaching innovation. In addition to teaching graduate students at Chicago Booth, Erickson has taught courses to Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, General Electric Capital Corporation, Baker McKenzie, Andersen Consulting, Accenture, CareerBuilder, and the IMCA (Investment Management Consultants Association) among others. He also has been named one of BusinessWeek's Outstanding Faculty at the University of Chicago.

Erickson earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Rockhurst College in 1987, an MBA in 1989 from Arizona State University, and a PhD in accounting from the University of Arizona in 1996. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1996.

In addition to his scholarly activities, Erickson is an avid fisherman. He received the Angler Award from the Billfish Foundation in 2003 for releasing the most striped marlin worldwide that year. His angling pursuits have taken him from the pristine lakes of northern Canada to some of the remotest stretches of the Great Barrier Reef.


2020 - 2021 Course Schedule

Number Title Quarter
30118 Taxes and Business Strategy 2020  (Autumn)


Other Interests

Sport fishing.


Research Activities

The effect of taxes on business decisions; the use of accounting information in valuation and contracting; mergers and acquisitions; employee stock options; accounting fraud.

With M. Hanlon and E. Maydew, "How much will firms pay for earnings that do not exist? Evidence of taxes paid on fraudulent earnings," The Accounting Review (April 2004).

With D. Dhaliwal and S. Heitzman, “Taxes and the Backdating of Stock Option Exercise Dates,” Journal of Accounting and Economics (March 2009).

With S. Heitzman and F. Xhang, “Tax Motivated Loss Shifting,” The Accounting Review, (September 2013).

With A. Forman “Income Tax Accounting Restatements,” Tax Notes, (January 2018).

With K. Ton and S. Wang “The Effect of Acquirer Net Operating Losses on Acquisition Premiums and Acquirer Abnormal Returns,” Fall 2019, Journal of the American Taxation Association.

With M. Hanlon, E. Maydew, and T. Shevlin, Taxes and Business Strategy, 6th ed. (Cambridge Publishers, 2019).

With J. Gardner and S. Heitzman, “Altera and the GAAP Financial Statements of Other Public Firms,” Tax Notes (May 2020).

For a listing of research publications, please visit the university library listing page.