Finance professors, alumna publish research on intangible assets and trade credit policy

Associate Professor Chris Harris, Assistant Professor Thibaut Morillon and Sarah Hartsema ’20 co-authored a Managerial Finance journal article.

After graduating from Elon in 2020 with a degree in finance, Sarah Hartsema continued to work with her faculty mentor to develop her undergraduate research thesis into a published journal article.

Headshots of Sarah Hartsema, Chris Harris and Thibaut Morillon.
Sarah Hartsema ’20, Associate Professor Chris Harris and Assistant Professor Thibaut Morillon.

For her Honors thesis, Hartsema, under the mentorship of Associate Professor of Finance Chris Harris, examined the relationship between trade credit and intangible assets. She shared her findings during Elon’s 2020 Spring Undergraduate Research Forum.

Hartsema, now an internal audit analyst at AIG, along with Harris, Thibaut Morillon, assistant professor of finance, and Zhe Li, Bemidji State University, further developed the research project into an academic paper, which is published in the latest issue of Managerial Finance.

In “Intangible assets and trade credit policy,” the co-authors investigate whether the rise in intangible asset investment is related to trade credit investment and whether this relationship is driven by financial constraint and other firm factors. They found a negative relationship between investment in trade credit and the level of intangible assets as a proportion of total assets. This paper is the first to identify whether these trends could be related and to provide some explanation why.

“I am particularly proud of this project because it is the fruit of student-faculty collaboration,” Morillon said. “Sarah did an amazing job. This work shows how effective Elon’s model of student learning through faculty-mentored scholarship is.”