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Re: Renege PhD offers and re-apply in this December?
This is a really bad idea. You got into a top 20-30 program, and there is no guarantee that you will place any higher next cycle even with a publication on your record. Finance admissions are highly random for anyone, especially at top 15 programs even for someone with a "perfect" profile. Most finance PhD's only matriculate 2-4 students a year (perhaps 5-8 for a few schools at the top) and there are numerous factors that get taken into account. And as far as long term, the difference in placements for the top students at top 30 programs are not significantly different from the middle of the pack at top 15's (though not top 5's).
Also, the world of academic finance is relatively small, especially at the top and turning down an accepted offer at this point in April looks really bad unless it is because you got a late acceptance off waitlist for a significantly higher ranked program and the program you accepted the offer at gives their OK.
Additionally, you don't mention what journal this co-authored paper is in. Unless it is in a high ranked journal, it will not help you get into a top 15. If anything a publication in a middle tier journal might hurt your prospects at top 15 programs.
If you had only gotten into a top 75 program and your advisors thought that you really could get into a top 15 next cycle there might be some room to discuss your situation for the long term benefit of your career, but not when you got into a top 30.