PhD Dissertations

Laetitia MIMOUN, Marketing, 2018

Revisiting Liminality in Consumer Research: Liquid Lifestyles in the Marketplace

Advisor(s): T. LOWREY


Consumer liminality is a vital concept in marketing research, usually defined as a transitional state of betwixt and between social positions. It enlightens life transitions, extraordinary experiences, and consumption rituals. This dissertation assesses the conceptualization of consumer liminality and advances its theorization in liquid modernity by exploring contemporary consumer lifestyles, which embrace contingency, uncertainty, and ambiguity. The first essay conceptually reexamines the treatment of liminality in consumer research. I identify two distinct forms, transformational liminality and liminoidity, thus challenging the unidimensionality assumption. Countering its celebratory treatment, I highlight the dangers of liminality when it is part of a meaningless transition. This essay contributes to the literature by resolving definitional ambiguities, outlining the concept’s scope, and delineating research directions. The second essay explores the flexible consumer lifestyle, defined as purposefully embracing instability, change, and adaptability in every aspect of life through professional precariousness. With long interviews, projective techniques, and participant observation, I question how the frequent life transitions of the flexible lifestyle, which can be analyzed as an experience of permanent liminality, are handled by consumers. Departing from prior literature, I contribute to consumer research on liminality by illustrating that permanent liminality is unsustainable for individuals, who need a release from the overwhelming pressures of its pursuit. I also identify flexibility capital which enables consumers to be comfortable on the long-term with high degrees of change and uncertainty and thus, to create an escape from the social structure which otherwise compels them to dominated positions. The third essay studies the liminal consumer journeys of consumers who experience repeated cross-cultural transitions. I combine autodriving and long interviews to explore open-ended mobility, a type of international mobility characterized by a high uncertainty regarding the duration of the stay abroad and the next destination. This essay contributes by emphasizing liminal dangers. I identify that liminal consumer journeys put consumers at risk of rootlessness and self-loss and must be compensated by solidifying consumption, which anchors consumers’ identity narratives in crystallized consumption experiences, material objects, and symbolic brands.

Vincent MEYER, Management and Human Resources, 2018

Performance Management: An American Technologyin a French Multinational Enterprise Established in China

Advisor(s): F. CHEVALIER


The present dissertation examines theentanglement of the social and material in MultinationalEnterprises during the transnational transfer of HumanResource Management Practices, especially PerformanceManagement Practices. Using 4 local Chinese entities of atransnational firm as my case study, I explore how localemployees make Performance Management practices theirown, both internalizing global practices and innovating toadapt to local environments. This research is based on 60interviews, secondary materials and direct observationsover more than 10 years. In the first chapter of thisdissertation, I explore more specifically the adoption ofHuman Resource Management practices at the micro level,and I identify four archetypes of the adoption of HumanResource Management practices: formal, ceremonial,deviant and innovative. In the second chapter, I focus onthe adoption of Performance Management practices inMultinational Enterprises at a meso level. Drawing onsociomaterial theory, I propose a new definition ofhybridization as being a process by which unique practicesemerge in local subsidiaries from the entanglement of thesocial and the material at Headquarters and in localsubsidiaries. This definition allowed me to identify two newhybrid performance management practices in the fourChinese entities of the Multinational Enterprises underinvestigation, which I have called the “harmoniousConfucian” Performance Management practice and the“harmonious instrumental” Performance Managementpractice. In the third chapter, I build on the results of thetwo previous empirical chapters to conceptualize anintegrated multilevel model for the transnational transfer ofHuman Resource Management practices in MultinationalEnterprises by expanding another central concept tosociomaterial theory: the notion of “apparatus”. Thisdissertation aims therefore at contributing both toInternational Human Resources Management literature andto the literature of the sociology of management tools.

Yin WANG, Accounting and Management Control, 2018

Empirical essays in Financial Accounting

Advisor(s): Vedran CAPKUN


This dissertation is composed of three chapters investigating the antecedents andconsequences of corporate disclosure in the domain of empirical-archival financial accounting. Thefirst chapter examines the real effects of firm disclosure and its timing on firm advertisinginvestment. The second chapter presents a joint project with Vedran Capkun and Yun Lou,exploring intra-industry peer disclosure of proprietary information as antecedents of corporatedisclosure decision at product level. The third chapter, joint work with Thomas Bourveau and Vedran Capkun, documents the real consequences of pharmaceutical firms’ clinical trial disclosure in financial markets and on broader society.

Charles BOISSEL, Finance, 2018

Empirical essays in Finance

Advisor(s): David THESMAR, D. GROMB


This thesis is divided into three chapters. The first one deals with Central Clearing Counterparties (CCPs) and their resiliency in crisis times. This is a joint work with François Derrien, Evren Ors and David Thesmar. Focusing on CCPs backed repotrades during the eurozone crisis, we show that the market factored in the default of CCPs. In turn, this affected their capacity to ensure liquidity in the interbank market. Our results have strong consequences for the way CCPs should be regulate.The second chapter aims at quantifying the impact of the rise of the concentration in the banking sector on aggregate credit fluctuations.Building on novel empirical approach, I show that big players’ idiosyncratic shocks have a limited impact on aggregate credit. The explanation lies in the fact that the strength of banking groups idiosyncratic shocks is limited compared to aggregate and subsidiaries level ones.The last chapter, a joint work with Thomas Bourveau and Adrien Matray, focuses on the transmission of corporate risk culture. We show that subsidiaries of the same banking group tend to assess future risks in similar ways. In turn, this gives insights on how banking crisis can spread be fueled by corporate risk culture.

Elena FUMAGALLI, Marketing, 2018

Aversive States Affecting Consumer Behavior

Advisor(s): L.J. SHRUM


In this dissertation, I examine the influence of aversive states (e.g., unpleasant emotions, undesired outcomes) on consumers' motivations and behaviors. In essay 1, I explore how feelings of physical and moral disgust can be threatening to consumers’ sense of self and motivate them to engage in compensatory consumption. In essay 2, I investigate why and when consumers exhibit negative behavioral intentions against firms that terminate unconditional business-to-consumer gift-giving initiatives. In essay 3, I explore how loneliness affects consumers’ preferences for products and services that do or do not require interpersonal touch and interaction (e.g., getting a massage vs. shopping online). Together, the three essays contribute to the literature on emotion, identity threats, and compensatory consumption, to the literature on sales promotion, and to the literature on loneliness. Moreover, the research findings inform marketing practice in the fields of advertising, sales promotions design, and consumer haptics. Finally, this research provides insights into consumer welfare by bringing attention to the unforeseen consequences of marketers’ actions that seek to benefit the consumers but instead generate compensatory behaviors to cope with their aversiveness.

Wendy BRADLEY, Strategy and Business Policy, 2017

Three essays on patent pools and technical standards

Advisor(s): Thomas ASTEBRO


This thesis investigates the impact of patent pools for technical standards on the direction of cumulative innovation. It examines eight modern patents pools in the information and communication technology sector and measures the effect of pool formation and pool extension on rates of follow-on innovation in the direction of pool technology.Patent pools are the subject of much theoretical and empirical work. The aim of this thesis is to fill a gap in current literature that focuses on the motivations of firms to join a patent pool.This thesis contributes to the literature by extending analyses to the introduction of patents to patent pools over time. It consists of three empirical studies. Patent pools as institutions possess mechanisms that encourage and discourage innovation. The formation of a patent pool and its extension as a result of the addition of patents to the patent pool after its launch may alter the incentives to innovate of outsider firms. This, in turn, may have important impacts on competition and society. Finally, this thesis also analyzes the evolution of an industry that is particularly linked to technology in patents pools—the film industry.Digitization has transformed movie distribution and technological disruption has altered the supply and demand dimensions of this market. The main findings of these three studies arepresented at the beginning of each chapter.

Cédric GUTIERREZ MORENO, Strategy and Business Policy, 2017

Three essays on entrepreneurial decision making

Advisor(s): Mohammed ABDELLAOUI, Thomas ASTEBRO


Explaining why individuals enter into entrepreneurship has been challenging. In this thesis, I take a behavioral perspective and analyze the effects on entrepreneurial entry of behavioral mechanisms that have been understudied in the entrepreneurship literature.The first essay proposes to disentangle the effects on market entry of two mechanisms that may have been confounded: overconfidence and attitude toward ambiguity. This essay highlights the critical role of ambiguity attitude on the decision to enter a market, particularly when the result depends on one’s skills, such as entry into entrepreneurship. The very nature of entrepreneurship is to invest capital and time with the hope of receiving future financial benefits. I therefore argue that understanding entrepreneurs’ temporal preferences for time and money can provide new insights on the determinants of entry into entrepreneurship.While intertemporal choice involving money has been studied extensively in the behavioral literature, very few studies have analyzed the way people discount time, despite the fact that it is a scarce and valuable resource. The second essay investigates this issue in a laboratory experiment. Finally, using a lab-in-the-field experiment, the third essay analyzes temporal preferences for money and time of a comparable sample of future entrepreneurs and future managers.

Jean-David SIGAUX, Finance, 2017

Three Essays on Bond Lending

Advisor(s): Thierry FOUCAULT


In the first chapter, I ask if short-sellers are superiorly informed about sovereign auctions. I find a large average increase in demand for short-selling prior to auctions. Yet, the demand for short-selling a bond does not predict a subsequent increase in the bond's yield.Overall, there is no evidence that short-sellers or edict or interpret auction outcomes better than the market. In the second chapter, I develop and test a model explaining the gradual price decrease observed in the days leading to large anticipated asset sales such as Treasury auctions. In the model, risk-averse investors anticipate an asset sale which magnitude, and hence price, are uncertain. I show that investors face a trade-off between hedging the price risk with a long position, and speculating on the difference between the pre-sale and the expected sale prices. Due to hedging, the equilibrium price is above the expected sale price. As the sale date approaches, uncertainty about the sale price decreases, short speculative positions increase and the price decreases. In line with the predictions, I find that the yield of Italian Treasuries increases by 1.2 bps after the release of auction price information, compared to non-information days.In the third chapter, I study the link between prices and repo rates during the subprime crisis. I find that the no-arbitrage relationship between prices and repo rates in Duffie (1996) fares worse during the crisis. However, low-reporate bonds have an 18.0% higher probability of being more expensive than identical high-reporate bonds during the crisis, compared to only 9.0% before the crisis. Overall, while there are high limits of arbitrage, prices and repo rates feature larger co-movements during the crisis.

Vincent ELI, Economics and Decision Sciences, 2017

Essays in normative and descriptive Decision Theory.

Advisor(s): Philippe MONGIN, Mohammed ABDELLAOUI


Decision Theory has been a very dynamic field since von Neumann and Morgenstern 1943. New decision models have opened new ways to think about our actions and every day decisions. Allais’ Paradox in 1953 forced decision theorists to be clearer about the intents their models and several authors claimed that expected utility solely has a normative intent (choices that we should make, potentially better) and not a descriptive one (choices as we make them, potentially flawed). It also allowed defining better methods of validation for a descriptive point of view. Best practices in descriptive decision theory have emerged and we have now clear-cut and vetted methods of justifying the use of a given model of decision theory for a descriptive aim. However for normative decision theory that intents to help us make better choices, we do not have a clear-cut way to determine and "prove" that a given model is the right one. This thesis provides an empirical design that provides such a methodology.

Aleksey KORNIYCHUK, Strategy and Business Policy, 2017

Essays in Behavioral Strategy: Re-biased Search, Misconceived Complexity, and Cognitive Aliens

Advisor(s): Gonçalo PACHECO DE ALMEIDA, Tomasz OBLOJ


This work centers on the tenet that organizational rationality is bounded: decision makers search, satisfice, and think in a way that is typical (in its integrity) only of humans. The dissertation explores this interplay between search and decision maker’s cognition and demonstrates how biases in characteristic aspects of our thinking can be instruments of behavioral strategy. As a starting point, I take search, sequential generation and evaluation of alternatives, as the first primitive of bounded rationality and complement it with integral elements of human cognition, such as automatic, intuitive thinking, specifically affect heuristic, and imperfect mental representations of reality. With the help of computational models, I track the effects of the corresponding biases (systematic affective preferences and systematic errors in mental representations) over time as organizations adapt to complex environments. This allows me to identify life cycles of the elements of human cognition and show that organizations should manage (rather than eliminate) some biases over time. Finally, I derive predictions and empirically test a subset of my propositions. In conclusion, this work aims to advance the emerging theory of behavioral strategy by jointly considering different primitives of bounded rationality and integrating them with the existing knowledge in organization sciences. A broad question that motivates this work is how organizations can manage the many bounds to human rationality.