KPMG Professor of Taxation; Director, Waterloo Centre for Taxation in a Global Economy

Ken Klassen

Office: Hagey Hall 3119

Phone: 519-888-4567 x48550


Education and certifications

  • BA (University of Waterloo)
  • MAcc (University of Waterloo)
  • MS - Statistics (Stanford University)
  • PhD - Accounting (Stanford University)
  • Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA)
  • Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (FCPA)

Brief biography

My research develops a fuller understanding of the extent to which taxes affect corporate decision making. Through analysis of corporate data, I examine settings in which decisions may have been predictably altered in response to tax environments. Currently, I am particularly interested in the factors that influence the role of taxes in international operations.

Selected publications

  • Lisa De Simone, Kenneth Klassen, and Jeri Seidman, 2022. “The effect of income shifting aggressiveness on corporate investment,” Journal of Accounting and Economics. Forthcoming. doi: 10.1016/j.jacceco.2022.101491

  • Kenneth Klassen, and Cinthia Valle Ruiz, 2022. “The effect of changes in income shifting on affiliate managers’ internal reporting decisions,” Contemporary Accounting Research. Forthcoming.

  • Delis Fotis, Manthos Delis, Panagiotis Karavitis, and Kenneth Klassen, 2021. “Corporate governance and profit shifting: The role of the audit committee,” European Accounting Review, doi: 10.1080/09638180.2021.2003216
  • Travis Chow, Sterling Huang, Kenneth Klassen, and Jeffrey Ng, 2021. "The influence of corporate income taxes on investment location: Evidence from corporate headquarters relocations," Management Science, 68 (2): 1404–1425. doi: 10.1287/mnsc.2020.3906.
  • Kenneth Klassen and Nick Pantaleo, 2020. "Assessing the Canada Revenue Agency: Evidence on tax auditors' incentives and assessments." C.D. Howe Institute E-Brief. September 3.
  • Vishal Baloria, Kenneth Klassen, and Christine Wiedman, 2019. "Shareholder activism and voluntary disclosure initiation: The case of political spending," Contemporary Accounting Research, 36(2): 904-933
  • Vishal Baloria and Kenneth Klassen, 2018. "Supporting tax policy change through accounting discretion: Evidence from the 2012 elections," Management Science, 64(10): 4893-4914
  • Devan Mescall and Kenneth Klassen, 2018. "How does transfer-pricing risk affect premiums in cross-border mergers and acquisitions?" Contemporary Accounting Research, 35(2): 830-865
  • Lisa De Simone, Kenneth Klassen, and Jeri Seidman, 2017. "Unprofitable affiliates and income shifting behavior," The Accounting Review, 92(3): 113-136
  • Kenneth Klassen, Petro Lisowsky, and Devan Mescall, 2017. “Transfer pricing: Strategies, practices and tax minimization,” Contemporary Accounting Research, 34(1): 455-493
  • Travis Chow, Kenneth Klassen, and Yanju Liu, 2016. “Targets’ tax shelter participation and takeover premiums,” Contemporary Accounting Research, 33(4): 1440-1472
  • Kenneth Klassen, Petro Lisowsky, and Devan Mescall, 2016. "The role of auditors, non-auditors, and internal tax departments in corporate tax aggressiveness." The Accounting Review, v91(1): 179-205.
  • Kenneth Klassen, 2016. "Auditing the Auditors: Tax Auditors' Assessments and Incentives.C.D. Howe Institute E-Brief. April 5.
  • Kenneth Klassen, Stacie Laplante, and Carla Carnaghan, 2014. "A model of multinational income shifting and an application to tax planning with e-commerce." Journal of the American Taxation Association, v 36(2): 27-53.
  • Leslie Berger, Kenneth Klassen, Theresa Libby, and Alan Webb, 2013. "Complacency and giving up across repeated tournaments: Evidence from the field." Journal of Management Accounting Research, v 25: 143-168.
  • Kenneth Klassen and Stacie Laplante, 2012. "Are U.S. multinational corporations becoming more aggressive income shifters?" Journal of Accounting Research, v 50(5): 1245-1285.
  • Kenneth Klassen and Stacie Laplante, 2012. "The effect of foreign reinvestment and financial reporting incentives on cross-jurisdictional income shifting," Contemporary Accounting Research, v. 29(3): 928-955.
  • Kenneth Klassen and Devan Mescall, 2012. “Investor taxes and equity pricing: Using income trusts in a cross-sectional analysis,” Canadian Tax Journal, v. 60(3): 1-34.

Working papers

Editor/Associate Editor etc.

  • Consulting Editor, Contemporary Accounting Research, 2020-2023
  • Editor, Contemporary Accounting Research, 2017-2020
  • Senior Editor, Journal of the American Taxation Association, 2014-2017 
  • Associate Editor, Contemporary Accounting Research, 2002 - 2010
  • Associate Editor, The Accounting Review 2001 -2002

Editorial boards

  • Journal of International Business Studies, 2020-2025
  • Contemporary Accounting Research, 2010 - 2017
  • The Accounting Review, 2011 - 2014, 1999 - 2001
  • Accounting Horizons, 2012-2015, 2003 - 2006
  • The International Journal of Accounting, 2011 - 2014

Recent Awards

Professional service

  • Chair, Publications Committee, American Accounting Association, 2021-2024
  • American Taxation Association: various
  • Member, CPA Canada Tax Policy Committee (formerly the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants Tax Policy Committee), from 2011
  • Member, Governing Council, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, 2000-2002

Courses taught

  • Accounting (ACC) 760 - Seminar in Tax Research
  • Taxation (TAX) 614 - Accounting for Income Taxes
  • Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) 206 - Introduction to Personal Taxation
University of Waterloo
Contact information: 

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