Friday Research Workshops Archive

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--- Spring 2016 ---
1/22 reserved for job talk
1/29 reserved for job talk
2/5 reserved for job talk
2/12 reserved for job talk
2/19 Jason Thatcher Social Media and Selection: How Does new Technology Change an Old Game?
2/26 Canceled

3/4 No workshop (Utah BI Conference)
3/11 Wolfgang Ketter
3/18 No workshop (Spring break)
3/25 Peng Huang New Entry Threats and Incumbent Innovation Strategy in the U.S. IT Industry

We examine how firms in the IT industry adjust their innovation strategy according to the potential entry threats they face in their product markets. While turbulence in the product markets caused by startups affects an incumbent firm's investment decisions, prior research has provided different theoretical perspectives and countervailing predictions on the relationship between new entry threats and innovation strategy. In addition, the absence of acceptable industry classification for startups, as well as the inability to accurately gauge when they represent a credible threat has limited empirical research into this question. We contribute a new measure of identifying these threats through text analyses based on product descriptions provided by incumbent firm 10-K filings and business descriptions provided by start-ups. This new measure differs significantly from approaches that use static industry classifications, which are backward-looking and do not fully account for industry evolution over time. We show the text-based measure captures entry threats from the startup space through a series of validation tests. Our analyses, performed on a sample of IT firms during the period 1997-2014, show that incumbent firms react to new entry threats by systematically reducing innovation investments. We address the endogeneity of new entry threats by using dynamic panel estimation models, and by building simultaneous equation models that incorporate the role of entry barriers. Interestingly, we also find that in the face of intensive new entry threats, firms with diversified product portfolio reduce their R&D investments to a greater extent than specialized firms. We discuss the implications for research and practice.

4/1 Anuj Kumar Remedying Education with Personalized Learning: Evidence from Randomized Field Experiment in India

Can Information Technology (IT) enabled personalization remedy the educational production in resource strapped schooling systems? We conduct a randomized field experiment on a group of residential schools in Hyderabad India to examine this question. In a school setting, students first learn concepts through class room instructions and then reinforce their learning by doing homework. In our experiment, students were first taught different topics in mathematics through classroom instructions, and then a randomly selected one half of them were assigned computer generated adaptive homework (CGAHW) and the other half were offered paper based traditional homework (PBTHW). In a PBTHW, a pre-decided fixed number of easy and hard questions were offered from different covered topics. In a CGAHW, first half of the total questions in easy category were offered, and based on a student's performance on these questions, later questions were adaptively generated such that: (1) more questions were offered on the topics in which student incorrectly answered questions and (2) hard questions on a topic were offered when the student correctly answered easy questions on that topic. Thus, while all PBTHW students received the same number of easy and hard questions on different topics, CGAHW students received different numbers and difficulty levels of questions on different topics based on their individual learning needs. Total 50 homework in each category were offered to students between October 2014 and April 2015, and their learning were assessed in two standardized exams offered in this period. We found that CGAHW students on average obtained lower homework scores than PBTHW students but they obtained 4.28 percent higher scores in exams than PBTHW students. Lower homework scores could be attributed to students receiving more questions in their weak areas in CGAHW. However, by doing more questions in their weak areas and less in their strong areas, students achieved personalized learning in CGAHW, and hence obtained higher exam scores. To provide evidence that personalized learning in CGAHW caused improvement in students' exam scores, we show that students, who were offered higher levels of personalization in CGAHW, obtained higher exam scores. To further understand the differential effect of CGAHW on students of different abilities, we categorized students in low, medium, and high categories of ability based on their mathematics scores in standardized exams at the beginning of experiment. We found that personalized learning through CGAHW helped the students in low and medium ability categories but not in high ability category. Overall, we developed and deployed an adaptive homework generation application in a field set up to show how ICT enabled personalized learning could improve educational production with existing school resources. Our findings have significant policy implications for resource strapped educational systems in developing countries.

4/8 Nishtha Langer Peer Influence and the Choice of IT Careers

The productivity of the IT/ITeS industry depends critically on the supply of high quality human capital. While existing research has examined the role of education and training on the human capital in this industry, the role of peer influences on the decision to pursue IT/ITeS careers has been less studied. We examine the influence of peers on the choice to pursue information technology careers in India, focusing on managerial employees in this industry. Specifically, we analyze data on student networks at a leading business school, using both exogenously assigned peers as well as endogenously determined friends, and link these to students' choice of post-program careers in the IT industry. Before pursuing their MBAs, students have undergraduate education and experience in both IT and non-IT fields. However, after the completion of their degrees, they may switch roles and/or industries. For instance, some may pursue IT roles in non-IT sectors such as retail, whereas others may pursue non-IT roles such as strategy and sales in IT companies. We posit that such career choices may be informed and driven not only by own motivation and ability, but also by the influence of peers. Our findings reveal that being part of a group that includes peers who have worked in IT increases the likelihood of accepting an offer in the IT industry. However, counter-intuitively, we find that if a student has no IT experience, having IT peers decreases the likelihood of accepting a job in the IT industry; this effect is more pronounced for women than men. In other words, IT peers discourage non-IT peers from being part of the IT industry.

4/15 Sean Taylor The Role of Sports in Social Network Formation

The collective experience of watching sports is a nearly universal part of human culture. Here we argue that the outcomes of sports events (specifically NFL football games) cause increased assortative mixing on sports affiliation but sometime disassortative mixing on other hompophilic attributes, such as educational attainment. We use the stochastic nature of game outcomes plus differences-in-differences estimation to show that a win causes a higher rate of Facebook friendship formation between fans with the same affiliation, but only if it is a surprise win (vis-a-vis the gambling odds). We suggest that the mechanism for the effect is basking in reflected glory (Cialdini et al. 1976), whereby the affiliation of fans of the winning team increases in salience after wins. Our result is consistent with a simple threshold model of friendship formation where surprise wins provide a random positive shocks to the salience of a homophilic attribute. Such a model has a somewhat non-obvious implication: surprise wins can increase diversity of ties formed on other homophilic dimensions due to substitution effects. We evaluate the evidence for these effects on the assortative mixing on number of mutual friends, political preferences, location, and educational attainment. Our work contributes to the literature on causal inference in network formation and shows that sports play a role in changing the diversity of human social networks.

4/29 Arun Rai Social Learning in Information Technology Investment: The Role of Board Interlocks

We seek to extend our understanding of information technology (IT) investment and return from a social learning perspective. We address social learning in the context of interlocks between corporate boards, which, theoretically, are a conduit for sharing knowledge and experiences about firms' investment decisions. Using a large dataset of firm-years from 2001 to 2008, we find: (1) a focal firm's IT investment is positively associated with that of interlocked firms (controlling for confounding factors including common contextual impact, conformity of similar firms and neighborhood firms, and reverse causality), a finding consistent with the view of social learning through board interlocks; (2) the component of a focal firm's IT investment that is attributed to the influence of board interlocks has a positive relationship with the firm's Tobin's Q, suggesting benefits of social learning to IT investment return; and (3) board interlocks play a stronger role in influencing IT investment and the investment return when interlocked firms have superior IT-related knowledge, further corroborating a learning effect. We discuss the implications of these findings for research and practice at the interstice of IT and corporate governance.

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