Research Seminars

Holding myself together: Identity defense work in discontinuous mobility

Management & Human Resources

Speaker: Sarah WITTMAN
INSEAD, France

5 October 2017 - Bernard Ramanantsoa room - From 11:15 am to 12:45 pm

Voluntary leaves of absence from the workforce—instances of so-called discontinuous mobility or nonemployment—and the nonlinear career trajectories they engender are increasingly common. Yet although we have studied the structural and socioeconomic challenges that impede workforce reentry, we lack an understanding of the noneconomic push factors, like identity, that might motivate reengagement. Via a longitudinal study of professionals-cum-trailing spouses, individuals who left work to support their significant others’ career advancement, this paper examines identity defense work: tactics aimed at sustaining and fortifying established identities during professional uncertainty. Using an inductive qualitative approach, I find that during career discontinuity, identity defense work may include giving oneself permission to be non-normative; hanging onto one’s professional self by reinforcing professional self-conceptions; and distancing oneself from feared possible nonprofessional selves. Helping people sustain identities through liminal periods and, thus, motivating workplace reentry, identity defense work liberates them to explore new things; adjust their work-related self-concepts; and/or reaffirm the personal importance of work. These findings contribute to our knowledge on discontinuous mobility, the identity work that permits people to resist undesired changes to their professional selves during periods of uncertainty, and people’s efforts to balance their relationships and careers over their life course.

Finance in a Time of Disruptive Growth


Speaker: Nicolae Garleanu
Berkeley Haas School of Business

21 September 2017 - From 11:00 am to 12:15 pm

The Comparative Advantage of Cities

Economics & Decision Sciences

Speaker: Pr Donald Davis

21 September 2017 - HEC Campus - T Building - room T020 - From 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm

What determines the distributions of skills, occupations, and industries across cities? We develop a theory to jointly address these fundamental questions about the spatial organization of economies. Our model incorporates a system of cities, their internal urban structures, and a high-dimensional theory of factor-driven comparative advantage. It predicts that larger cities will be skill-abundant and specialize in skillintensive activities according to the monotone likelihood ratio property. We test the model using data on 270 US metropolitan areas, 3 to 9 educational categories, 22 occupations, and 19 industries. The results provide support for our theory’s predictions.

Customer Retention in a Platform World.


Speaker: Barak LIBAI
Professor of Marketing , Arison School of Business, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) – Herzlya, Israel

14 September 2017 - Room T004 - From 10:30 am to 12:00 pm

Customer Retention in a Platform World.

By Barak Libai
Arison School of Business, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) – Herzlya, Israel

In recent year marketer’s attention has been drawn to the prominence of customer retention and the need to low churn, in particular of high value customers. Yet this thinking and analysis has largely focused on the case of a single product, while firms had been advised for a while to manage their offerings as platforms that consist of families of products with a common underlying logic. Taking a platform view, when a new product of the same family enters the market, the users of current products may be good candidates for acquisition efforts to the new offering. This raises interesting questions which widen the existing discussion of customer retention. Which customers would the firm want to transfer from current products and when? Would we want to churn the “best customers” of the current product earlier or later? How would considerations of value that stems from purchases (lifetime value) be different value that stems from the effect on others (social value)? We analyze these questions using agent based models, looking in particular at the market for mobile games, where the question of customer transfer among products is of high importance to firms.

Expected Stock Returns and the Correlation Risk Premium


Speaker: Grigory Vilkov
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

14 September 2017 - T017 - From 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm


In a general equilibrium model with stochastic variance and correlation, we decompose the equity risk premium into compensations for variance, correlation and consumption risks. Based on this decomposition, we develop and test a new methodology for out-of-sample forecasts of the market excess return. Estimating contemporaneous variance and correlation betas from the joint dynamics of option-implied variables and index returns, we find significant out-of-sample R2’s of 10.4% and 7.0% for 3- and 12-months forecast horizons, respectively. While the predictability
of the variance risk premium is strongest at the intermediate (quarterly) horizon, the correlation risk premium dominates at longer horizons. In line with a risk-based explanation for the existence of a correlation risk premium, we document that expected correlation predicts future diversification risks.

What Prevents Female Executives from Reaching the Top?


Speaker: Matti Keloharju
Aalto University

7 September 2017 - T004 - From 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm


Exceptionally rich data from Sweden makes it possible to study the gender gap in executives’ career progression and to investigate its causes. In their forties, female executives are about one-half as likely to be large-company CEOs and about one-third less likely to be high earners than male executives. Abilities, skills, and education likely do not explain these gaps because female executives appear better qualified than males. Instead, slow career progression in the five years after the first childbirth explains most of the female disadvantage. During this period, female executives work on average shorter hours than male executives and are more often absent from work. These results suggest that aspiring women may not reach the executive site without trading off family life.

Does the Opinion of the Crowd Predict Success? Evidence from Crowdsourcing


Speaker: Anirban MUKHERJEE
Assistant Professor of Marketing , Lee Kong Chian School of Business - Singapore Management University

7 July 2017 - Room T015 - From 10:30 am to 12:00 pm

Does the Opinion of the Crowd Predict Success? Evidence from Crowdsourcing


Anirban Mukherjee
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University

Ping Xiao
Assistant Professor of Marketing, Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing
Business School of the National University of Singapore, NYU Shanghai

Li Wang
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

Noshir Contractor
Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences
McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, the School of Communication and the
Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University


“Crowdsourcing” is the sourcing of organizational functions from the “crowd”: a large, undefined community of a firm’s consumers, partners, and collaborators. A crucial challenge in crowdsourcing is to determine the quality of crowdsourced submissions. To help screen submissions, crowdsourcing portals use crowdvoting: they ask the community to vote on submissions. Our study investigates the informational role of crowdvoting on design submissions on Threadless, a pioneering crowdsourcing website. We collect and examine a novel, large scale dataset tracking over 150,000 designs, submitted by over 45,000 designers, voted on almost 150 million times, by over 600,000 different users. We focus on two questions. First, what is the conventional wisdom—how does crowdvoting influence Threadless? Second, does the conventional wisdom stand up to scrutiny—does crowdvoting systematically predict commercial success? We document several new empirical findings relating crowdvoting to revenues. We conclude by discussing the implications of our research for designers and firms seeking to ride the crowdsourcing tide.

Keywords: crowdsourcing, crowdvoting, new product development, big data.

Joint seminar HEC/ESSEC - Localization of Global Accounting Practices: A comparative analysis of practice variation in response to institutional complexity

Accounting & Management Control

Speaker: Eksa Kilfoyle
University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada

20 June 2017 - Champerret - Amphi 461 - From 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

We conduct a comparative analysis of the initial stages of implementation of global accounting and control practices in two member organizations of an international network. We analyze organizational responses to institutional pressures. We attend to nested institutional levels and show how institutional logics, enacted by executives in early stages of implementation, mediate variations in the localized accounting and control practices. Our study contributes to understanding how field level pressures shape practice variation beyond loose coupling and decoupling. We also highlight the importance of early stages of localization of accounting practices, given the path dependent nature of institutions. Executive team decisions and actions in response to field level pressures in the early stages of localization shape organizational responses to the introduction of global accounting practices. We find that localized accounting and control practices are institutional hybrids and we propose a process that explains the source of variations in these accounting hybrids.

Economics & Decision Sciences

Speaker: Michele Tertilt
University of Mannheim

15 June 2017

R Share Repurchases and Accounting Conservatism

Accounting & Management Control

Speaker: Gerald Lobo
University of Houston

13 June 2017 - HEC Paris - room T004 - From 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

The prior literature indicates that financial policy (e.g., payout policy) as well as accounting policy (e.g., conservatism) can be used to address incentive problems in firms. Similar to findings in Louis and Urcan (2014) who study cash dividends, we find that stock repurchases, an increasingly popular form of payout, are negatively related to conservatism, suggesting that these mechanisms are substitutes. Extending this analysis, and focusing on a particular manifestation of the incentive problem (managerial propensity to engage in overinvestment using free cash flows), we find that in firms with high levels of free cash flows, the negative relation between share repurchase and conservatism is stronger. By contrast, we find that the substitution effect is weaker when CEO tenure is higher, which confirms that more powerful CEOs have less incentives to solve the overinvestment problem. In an ancillary test, we show that the stock market reaction to share repurchases is increasing in conservatism, suggesting that the relation between conservatism and repurchases is complex (i.e., with multiple dimensions).