Biography

Jan has been a professor at Emory since 1998, and Accounting Area coordinator since 2020. He was a visiting professor at Aalto University Executive Education in Finland over 2013–2019. He specializes in financial reporting and business performance analysis.

His research uses cognitive neuroscience to understand how people process and use financial information when making economic decisions. Previously, he researched factors driving firms’ financial reporting choices and the effects of those choices on the quality and credibility of the information reported. His research is published in The Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting and Economics, and Contemporary Accounting Research, and has been mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Financial Times. He has served on the editorial boards and as referee for several accounting journals. He has been invited to present his research at business schools around the world, including Wharton, Duke, Michigan, Northwestern, Cornell, London Business School, London School of Economics, INSEAD, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His study on earnings management constraints won the 2005 Best Paper Award from the American Accounting Association’s Financial Reporting Section.

Jan teaches undergraduate and MBA courses in corporate, entrepreneurial, and nonprofit/governmental financial reporting, business performance analysis and valuation, and strategic management accounting. He also teaches courses in design thinking to students in the business school and across the university. He coordinated Emory’s accounting PhD program and taught PhD seminars in capital markets and empirical research methods. He has led study-abroad trips to places like Brazil, India, South Africa, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam. He received Emory's MBA Teaching Excellence Award three times and was listed as outstanding faculty member in BusinessWeek’s guide to best business schools. Jan serves on the Goizueta Business School's Education Committee (which oversees the school’s degree programs) and several committees at the university level working on faculty and student experience, academic affairs, and digital scholarship and pedagogy.

Before going into academics, Jan was a senior international tax consultant with PwC. He was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. He is fluent in Spanish, English, German, and French. He lives with his family in midtown Atlanta.

Education

  • PhD
    University of Alabama
    1998
  • MTax
    Villanova University School of Law
    1994
  • BSEcon
    The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
    1989

In the News

  • August 31, 2012
    The Wall Street Journal
    New research by a team of neuroscientists at Emory University shows that business-school students investing in stocks who were confronted with negative earnings surprises experienced a steep drop in activity in the ventral striatum, an area of the brain that responds to rewards. (The investors learned about the stocks while their brains were monitored inside a giant magnetic scanner.) The researchers found that what determines how an investor's brain responds to an earnings report isn't the size of the company's gain or loss, but whether the gain or loss is better or worse than expected. That likely occurs regardless of whether the expectation is set by the Wall Street consensus or by an investor's own worry number, says Jan Barton of Emory, one of the study's authors.