2022 Seminars

2022 Seminars

Seminars in 2022


Speaker: Dr Melanie Zhang (University of Northumbria) 

Date: 23 November 2022

Research Field:Architecture and Built Environment

Title: "An empirical study on the location of co-working spaces"

Abstract: TBC


Speaker: Professor Marcus Larson (Copenhagen Business School)

Date: 09 November 2022

Research Field:Economics

Title: "Step by Step: The Entrepreneurial Pre-Entry Process in the Informal Economy"

AbstractMarcus M. Larsen is Professor of Strategic and International Management at Copenhagen Business School and Adjunct Professor at BI Norwegian Business School. His research interests include international business, strategy, and organizational design. His work has appeared in leading outlets such as Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, and Organization Science. He is currently leading research projects “The Firm in the Informal Economy” and “Firm Formalization and Sustainable Development”. Marcus is an Associate Editor of Global Strategy Journal and sits on the editorial board of Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of International Management, and Management and Organization Review.


Speaker: Dr Gunes Gokmen (Lund University)

Date: 26 October 2022

Research Field:Economics

Title: "Step by Step: The Entrepreneurial Pre-Entry Process in the Informal Economy"

Abstract:Cultural norms may influence parental behavior that shapes children's human capital. We study the effect of traditional norms on parental investment in human capital using recent survey data from Tanzania. Our novel data allow us to capture detailed parental investment behavior, such as time and attention devoted to children’s learning. We focus on two dominant forms of traditional kinship norms in developing countries --matrilineal and patrilineal kinship norms. Employing a spatial fuzzy regression discontinuity design, we find that matrilineal parents invest less in their children's human capital. They spend less time and attention on their children’s learning and are less likely to sign up their children for preschool, private school, and primary school. Lower parental investment by matrilineal parents is reflected in the poorer cognitive skills of their children, captured by standardized test scores on numeracy and literacy. We further explore various mechanisms and the effect of a nationwide policy reform that was intended to undo traditional norms.


Speaker: Dr Yiwei Li (University of Essex)

Date: 12 October 2022

Research Field: Finance

Title: "Executive Team and Corporate Misbehavior: Evidence from U.S. Equity Market"

Abstract:We examine whether the equity incentive heterogeneity of the executive team engenders a positive externality by curtailing stock price crash risk. Supporting this prediction, we find a negative relation between the equity incentive heterogeneity of the executive team and stock price crash risk.  Our strong, robust evidence implies that the equity incentive heterogeneity of an executive team plays a major internal governance role in preempting corporate bad news hoarding activities. In additional analysis, we show that the impact of equity incentive heterogeneity on crash risk is stronger for firms experiencing severe agency conflicts and poor governance. Collectively, our results lend empirical support for the importance of developing a heterogeneous equity incentive structure to deter corporate misbehavior, which, in turn, constrains stock price crash risk.


Speaker: Dr Xiaolun Yu (University of Reading)

Date: 05 October 2022

Research Field: Real Estate

Title: "Low-rise Buildings in Big Cities: Theory and Evidence from China"

Abstract:Land use regulations have been implemented around the world and have economic consequences beyond housing markets. This paper explores the determinants of floor area ratio (FAR) limit — a major form of land use regulation that specifies construction density — in China. I first develop a spatial equilibrium framework that assumes that local governments set FAR limits to maximize endogenous local population size. I show that in equilibrium, local governments with higher budgetary revenue opt to set lower FAR limits to reduce negative externalities caused by density. I then employ a rich dataset of over 200,000 residential land transactions in China and a panel of counties to perform empirical analysis. Exploiting the exogenous variation generated by a central government administrative adjustment policy, I find that a one standard deviation increase in local government budgetary revenue decreases FAR limits by 0.6. Finally, a quantitative analysis suggests that the Chinese ‘Land Finance Model’ contributes to the spatial differences in housing affordability and land use regulation design.


Speaker: Emmanouil Platanakis (University of Bath)

Date: 28 September 2022

Research Field: Economics

Title: "A Model-based Commodity Risk Measure on Commodity and Stock Market Returns"

Abstract:We show that the information produced by term structure models is useful in commodity market asset pricing. The term structure model based characteristic (TSMC) we develop has a natural interpretation of downside risk premium and outperforms other well-known characteristics in explaining the cross-section of commodity returns. None of the existing factors is able to explain the returns of the high minus low portfolio constructed from sorting TSMC. An aggregate index constructed from individual TSMCs predicts future stock market returns even after controlling for popular economic predictors, suggesting that it contains unique forecasting information.


Speaker: Dr Sebastian Tideman (Exeter University)

Date: 10 September 2022

Research Field: Accounting and Finance

Title: "Capital Market Reactions to Managerial Framing of Emerging Strategic Issues"

Abstract:Emerging strategic issues in firms’ environment, such as trends toward sustainability or digitalization, may threaten organizational survival and require strategic responses. The recent literature shows that a critical challenge in times of emerging issues is to convince external stakeholders, such as investors, of the need for strategic change. Thus far, however, we know little about how managers should frame emerging strategic issues vis-à-vis external stakeholders, such as analysts or investors, to achieve positive resonance and garner support for their strategies. To address this shortcoming, in this paper, we investigate how the managerial framing of environmental sustainability as an important emerging issue in earnings conference calls shapes capital market responses. We find that while a higher frequency of mentioning environmental sustainability is connected with a more negative capital market response, a positive tone is linked with a positive one. Contrary to expectations, we find that a positive tone is particularly effective in driving positive capital market responses for firms with low performance in terms of environmental sustainability. Moreover, we show that more uncertain language positively moderates the relationship between a positive tone and capital market responses when managers frame the issue of environmental sustainability. Overall, by showing how managers can elicit positive capital market responses to emerging strategic issues through framing, our study makes significant contributions to the literature on strategic change, framing, and corporate sustainability.


Speaker: Dr Toan L.D. Huynh (Southampton Business School)

Date: 22 June 2022

Research Field: Economics

Title: "The Impact of Foreign Sanctions on Firm Performance in Russia"

Abstract:We assess the economic effects of almost two decades of recent sanctions on Russian firms. We find that foreign sanctions leave energy firms in Russia unaffected but do undermine firm performance in the other (non‐energy) sectors. In these other sectors sanctions have a negative impact on capital expenditures and R&D intensity. The cost of capital and firm‐level political risk also increase in sanctions. While firms with connections to Russian oligarchs linked to Putin are unaffected, sanctions do not differentiate in their impact between firms with Russian or foreign origin.


Speaker: Associate Professor Wanyu Chung (University of Birmingham)

Date: 15 June 2022

Research Field: Economics

Title: "Measuring Brexit Uncertainty: A Machine Learning and Textual Analysis Approach"

Abstract:In this paper we develop a series of Brexit uncertainty indices (BUI) based on UK newspaper coverage. Using unsupervised machine learning (ML) methods to automatically select topics our main contribution is to generate timely and cost-effective indicators of uncertainty. In further analysis we are able to distinguish Brexit related uncertainty from the uncertainly due to COVID-19.  Our indices can be used to investigate Brexit-related uncertainties across different policy areas.


Speaker: Professor Tim Cason (Purdue University)

Date: 31 May 2022

Research Field: Experimental Economics

Title: "Gender, Beliefs and Coordination with Externalities"

Abstract:Groups such as committees or boards make many important decisions within organizations. Many of these decisions affect external parties. This paper uses a laboratory experiment to study how the gender composition of three-person groups affects choices and beliefs in a coordination game with selfish and prosocial equilibria. We find that women are more willing to choose the prosocial option. Both men and women believe that women will make choices that are kinder to external parties, in line with the observed difference in prosocial choices across genders. Analysis of the chat communications reveals that women express more concerns for others' welfare and mention money less often. These results have implications for public policies intended to increase gender diversity and women's representation on decision-making committees in the corporate sector, in politics, and in academia.


Speaker: Assistant Professor Paul Jackson (National University of Singapore)

Date: 25 May 2022

Research Field: Human Resources

Title: "The Underemployment Trap"

Abstract:Many college graduates are underemployed, i.e. are working in occupations that do not require a college degree. We document that underemployed workers are less likely to transition to a college occupation the longer they are underemployed and that longer underemployment histories are associated with lower wages in college occupations. To explain these findings, we develop a directed search model with unobserved heterogeneity, occupation specific human capital, heterogeneous firms, and on the job search. Workers are uncertain about their job-finding probability in college jobs and learn through search. Underemployment is generated by search and informational frictions as workers with a low expected job-finding probability in college occupations self-select into underemployment. Once underemployed, workers’ college occupation specific human capital decays. A quantitative decomposition shows that unobserved heterogeneity accounts for nearly 96% of the duration dependence in underemployment.


Speaker: Associate Professor Jessica Pan (National University Singapore)

Date: 18 May 2022

Research Field: Economics

Title: "Automation and Gender: Implications for Occupational Segregation and the Gender Skill Gap"

Abstract:Occupational segregation by gender, although still sizable, has decreased significantly over the last few decades. Women have also made marked gains in education relative to men, with the gender gap in college education reversing in favor of women since the early 1990s. In this paper, we examine the contribution of automation to both these phenomena. Specifically, we analyze the effects of automation on the occupational structure of men and women and overall occupational segregation as well as gender differences in skill investments. We start by documenting two facts: (1) in 1980, women were much more likely than men to be in occupations with a high risk of automation, and (2) the cross-occupational relationship between risk of automation in 1980 and the change in worker share between 1980 and 2017, though negative for both genders, is much steeper for women. Taken together, these two facts suggest that women were more likely to be displaced by automation. 

Exploiting cross-commuting zone variation in the share of workers in occupations that face a high risk of automation, we show that women, for a given shock in the risk of automation, were much more likely than men to transition out of routine task intensive occupations to occupations requiring higher levels of skill. The net effect is that local labor markets that were more affected by automation experienced greater occupational integration by gender. We examine potential channels that might explain why women have adapted more effectively to automation such as the growing demand for social skills that favor women and their greater ability to upskill. Consistent with these channels, we find that local labor markets that were more susceptible to automation saw larger increases in the share of young women completing college relative to men and a greater movement of women into occupations with high math and high social skill requirements.  


Speaker: Associate Professor Tomoki Fujii (Singapore Management University)

Date: 24 April 2022

Research Field: Economics

Title: "Attendance Information or Cash Transfer? A Randomized Field Experiment in Rural Bangladesh"

Abstract:Can school attendance be improved cost-effectively? Under a two-year-long randomized control trial, we assign rural lower-secondary school students into the following treatment arms: (i) SMS: high-frequency voice and text messages containing school attendance information for parents, (ii) Gain: conventional Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) with cash-gain SMS framing for attendance, and (iii) Loss: a novel CCT with cash-loss SMS framing for absence. We find Loss generates robust largest positive impacts on attendance; however, the effect is no different from Gain. Both CCT and SMS interventions improve attendance (11 and 4.8 percentage points, respectively) and girls’ academic aspirations while decreasing early female marriage —with no overall effect on learning or child labor. Varying CCT amount derives optimum daily transfer, which is one-fifth of the local wage rate. SMS shows an increase in parental investment in child’s education expenditure especially for girls and also persistent post-intervention impacts on attendance demonstrating importance of information. This study suggests that school attendance can be boosted cost-effectively by exploiting low-cost information provision.


Speaker: Professor Catia Montagna and Professor Alexandros Zangelidis (University of Aberdeen)

Date: 20 April 2022

Research Field: Labour Markets

Title: "Thyroid Dysfunction – Can it Help Explain the Gender Wage Gap?"

Abstract:This paper aims to shed some light on the labour market implications of thyroid disease. We find that, once female individuals are diagnosed (and therefore assumed to be treated) with hypothyroidism, they experience wage gains and have a higher employment probability. In relation to other labour outcomes, thyroid disease does not appear to play a significant role on individuals’ labour force participation decision and their working hours. Results suggest that productivity gains may drive the improvement in wages.


SpeakerDr Prasenjit Banerjee (University of Manchester)

Date: 23 March 2022

Research Field: Environmental Economics

Title: "Can political decentralization improve citizen welfare? Evidence clues from a Lab-in-the-Field Experiment in India"

Abstract:While developing countries have gone through waves of decentralization, motivated by the scope for strengthening accountability and participatory democracy, progress may be held up by bureaucratic inefficiency, office holder misconduct or other institutional weaknesses. We replicate this real-world environment in a controlled lab setting with politician participants in rural India and provide new evidence on how political decentralization works. Using a modified dictator game, we mimic steps towards political decentralization by varying treatments across anonymity and a promise. With anonymity and no promise, politicians behave selfishly, but distribute small amounts when forced to make an upfront promise. With personalized interaction and no promise, they give around one third of their endowment. In the personalized interaction, promise treatment, politicians promise and distribute half of their endowment. Our findings demonstrate how and why political decentralization can reduce inequality and improve citizen welfare.


Speaker: Professor Yeqin Zeng (Durham Business School)

Date: 16 March 2022

Research Field: Finance

Title: "Firm-specific Investor Sentiment and Productivity"

Abstract:This paper studies whether firm-specific investor sentiment (FSIS) in the financial market affects firm-level productivity. Using a sample of U.S. public firms from 2010 to 2019, we document a positive relation between FSIS and total factor productivity. The positive relation remains robust to a difference-in-differences analysis based on firms' additions to the S&P 500 index, high-dimensional fixed effects, and FSIS measured by its change or lagged term. We also find that the positive impact of FSIS on productivity is more pronounced for firms with less exposure to automated production, more managerial ownership, tighter financial constraints, and higher innovative efficiency. Moreover, we show that FSIS is positively related to firms' operating efficiency and profitability. Taken together, our findings generate the important insight that investors' optimistic expectation has a positive spillover effect on employees' and managers' incentives and morale, which ultimately leads to a higher firm production efficiency.


Speaker: Professor Ileana Steccolni and Dr Jaromir June (University of Essex)

Date: 15 March 2022

Research Field: Accounting

Title: "A users’ perspective on Evaluative Infrastructure in Schools: From assessing reading skills to opening up new worlds and unveiling new identities"

Abstract:Responding to calls for more explorations on evaluative infrastructures (Power, 2015; Kornberger et al., 2017), our paper adopts a users’ perspective to explore (i) the multiple ways in which users engage with evaluative infrastructure and (ii) how this contributes to (re)shape the identities of teachers, pupils and parents. Studying the case of Antolin, a platform used in German Schools, we add new nuances to our understanding to the concepts of protocol, relationality, and generativity proposed by Kornberger et al (2017), especially by describing how evaluative infrastructures educate, socialise and gamify users into specific ways of evaluating and conceiving of the identities, and abilities of themselves and others. Our study problematises a general lack of critical awareness of the potential risks associated with introducing evaluative infrastructures in primary schools. 


Speaker: Professor Israel Waichman (Bard College, Berlin)

Date: 23 February 2022

Research Field: Economics 

Title: "Self-Nudging vs. Social Nudging in Social Dilemmas: An Experiment"

Abstract:The exogenous manipulation of choice architectures to achieve social ends (`social nudges') can raise problems of effectiveness and ethicality because it favors group outcomes over individual outcomes. One answer is to give individuals control over their nudge ('self-nudge'), but the trade-offs involved are poorly understood. We examine how subjects self-nudge in a paradigmatic social dilemma setting and whether outcomes differ between the self-nudge and two exogenous nudges in line with perfect free-riding or full cooperation. Subjects recruited from the general population play a ten-round VCM online in fixed groups of four with one daily contribution decision. The nudge takes the shape of a non-participation default contribution, comparing zero, full, and self-determined levels. We find that the average self-nudge is 44% of the endowment and only 7% of subjects choose one of the two exogenous defaults. Yet, there is a hard trade-off between ethicality and effectiveness: Self-nudging groups do not better than groups under the perfect free-riding nudge. The reason is that non-defaulting subjects contribute less. Groups under the full cooperation default exhibit no reactance against the nudge and outperform both alternative choice architectures.


Speaker: Cecelia Noboa (Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay)

Date: 09 February 2022

Research Field: Economics 

Title: "Nudging healthy food choices"

Abstract:This paper analyses the impact of a healthy food nudge intervention on purchases made by frequent customers members of a loyalty program of a supermarket chain in Uruguay through a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Nudges were presented in the form of messages sent through WhatsApp to regular customers three times a week for eight weeks to customers randomly selected to the treatment group. Messages sent each week highlighted one of the following eight subjects: cooking at home, vegetables, fruits, healthy snacks, mindful eating, legumes, fish and healthy eating. Results show that customers who were assigned to the treatment group increase their purchases of fresh food, healthy food, fruits and vegetables by 10% on average. When we analyze specific groups of customers, we found a higher impact in households with children under 12 years old and in households that do not eat the daily recommended number of fruits and vegetables for some categories.


Speaker: Dr. Ali Bayat (University of Aberdeen)

Date: 27 January 2022

Research Field: Management Studies

Title: "Between Scylla and Charybdis: CEO Political Ideology, Dividends and Downsizing During the Pandemic"

Abstract: We study whether CEO political ideology affected how S&P 500 firms reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic, an exogenous shock to demand and supply. We hypothesize that conservative CEOs are more likely to adopt shareholder-friendly than employee-friendly reactions to the pandemic.Hence, they should be more likely to downsize their workforce while maintaining dividends. In contrast, other CEOs should be less likely to meet dividend expectations and less likely to downsize. We find confirmation of this hypothesis. We also find that CEOs used the dividend forecasts for 2020 as their benchmark rather than the 2019 dividends to make their dividend decision.


Speaker: Dr Nilanjana Dutt (Bocconi University, Italy)

Date: 26 January 2022

Research Field: Management Studies

Title: "Those who can search: Regulatory stringency and external R&D investment in the US Electricity Industry"

Abstract: Prior research has demonstrated that although organizations generally avoid uncertainties, this behavior is not universally true. To understand better the contingencies around organizations’ responses to regulatory uncertainty, we consider the influence of corporate structure on attentional processing. Our theory and findings suggest that because corporate structure differentiates their problem-solving and learning activities, headquarters and subsidiaries differ in attention allocation on their strategic agendas. Our results show that headquarters display lower levels of uncertainty aversion than subsidiaries, but all organizations generally make greater shifts in attention toward alternative courses of action if they possess complementary experience and access shared experience. We test these ideas using a sample of U.S. electric utility companies attending to renewable technologies from 2000 to 2010: a market greatly affected by regulatory uncertainty. By linking models of decision making under uncertainty and learning with the attention-based view, we develop a more comprehensive understanding of the ways uncertainty influences organizational attention.


Speaker: Professor Fran De Vries (University of Aberdeen)

Date: 26 January 2022

Research Field: Finance

Title: "Investment Incentives in Tradable Emissions Markets with Price Floors"

Abstract: Concerns about cost containment and price volatility have led regulators to include price controls in many cap-and-trade markets. We study how these controls affect firms’ incentives to invest in new abatement technologies in a model with abatement cost uncertainty. Price floors increase investment incentives because they raise the expected benefits from lowering abatement costs. We also report a market experiment that features abatement cost uncertainty and the opportunity for cost-reducing investment, with and without a price floor. Trade occurs through a continuous double auction market. Consistent with the theoretical model, investment is significantly greater with the price floor in place. Emissions permit prices also respond as predicted to abatement investments and emissions shocks.