He has also been a professor at Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Amsterdam, the Ecole Normale Superieur, and EDHEC Business School in France. His lifetime academic citations place him among the five most widely cited authors in business and economics in the world according to the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) and Thomson Scientific’s Essential Science indicators. His research interests and main publications are in corporate governance, law and finance, state-owned enterprises, deregulation, and legal reform. He received Harvard's Wells Prize for the Best Dissertation in Economics (1995), the Brattle Prize for distinguished paper in the Journal of Finance of the American Finance Association (1999), the Jensen Prize for the best paper published in the Journal of Financial Economics in the areas of corporate finance and organisations (2000), and the All Star Paper prize from the Journal of Financial Economics for achieving a high number of citations (2007). His academic work has also been recognised by the World Economic Forum, which named him one of the 100 Global Leaders of Tomorrow in 2003, and his recent membership of Academia Europaea in 2010. In 2009, he received the highest distinction by the government of France when he was made “Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur” by the president of France for his academic contribution.
His academic and applied work has dealt broadly with the analysis of what governance structures are appropriate for what economies and firms, what makes for good laws and regulations, and the socio-economic institutions that are key elements of a smoothly functioning market economy. Professor Lopez de Silanes’ research has influenced discussions and reforms in a number of firms and countries, in the European Union and the North American Free Trade Area, as well as in international financial institutions. He has been directly involved in reform in the areas of financial sector restructuring, foreign investment, securities law, corporate law and bankruptcy law reform in several nations including: Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Spain, the United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Yemen.
His work has also been influential in such organisations as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Economic Forum. He has likewise worked closely with several business organisations such as the Asian Business Council, the Lex-Mundi Law Firm Association, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Latin American Corporate Governance Network. Finally, he has also worked as expert witness in corporate governance, and advised corporations trying to improve their governance mechanisms as well as investors trying to protect their shareholder rights and push firms to improve investor protection standards.