Previous research events

Consumption, Markets and Societies (CMS)

License to Assemble: Theorizing Brand Longevity

Chloe Preece, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Royal Holloway, University of London and Finola Kerrigan, Professor of Marketing and Director of the Fashion Business Research Centre, London College of Fashion

23 March 2021, 10:00am - 11:00am

Chloe Preece and Finola Kerrigan will talk about brand longevity. Chloe and Finola provide a description of their work below:

“This study delineates the process of brand longevity: the achievement of social salience and ongoing consumer engagement over a sustained period. Our study contributes to branding theory by proposing a multilevel approach to understanding brand longevity through application of an assemblage perspective to answer the question: how do serial brands attain longevity within evolving sociocultural contexts? By applying assemblage theory, we scrutinize the enduring success of a serial media brand over the past 60 years. The James Bond franchise is a classic illustration of how longevity in any commercial field stems from the right combination of stability and change in order to continually re-engage consumers. To address this question, a wide range of archival brand-related data were collected and analysed, including: analysis of films, books, marketing materials, press commentaries, and reviews, as well as broader contextual data regarding the sociocultural contexts within which the brand assemblage has developed. Our findings empirically support the study of brand longevity in and of itself and conceptualize brand longevity as relying on an evolutionary approach to assembling the brand, which looks outward from the brand in order to consider the potential of brand elements to prevail in contemporary contexts and to ensure both continuity and change.” 

Accumulation by symbolic dispossession: Tourism development in advanced capitalism

Professor James Fitchett, University of Leicester School of Business

9 February 2021, 10:00am - 11:00am

I will present the development of tourism in the Lofoten Islands in Norway to show how the operation of symbolic capital transforms the political economy of space. The empirical findings show that symbolic capital transforms the Lofoten Islands through the mechanism of accumulation logics: defining territory, commodification of time and space, legitimacy and authorization, and symbolic power and resistance. Processes of symbolic accumulation emerge as the most enduring and powerful forms of accumulation by dispossession in advanced capitalist contexts and that the struggle for symbolic capital is often the necessary precursor for the expansion of international tourism markets.

A Fairly Short, Vaguely Humorous Wade Through the Impact Agenda (for Social Science Academics)

Professor Paul Baines, University of Leicester School of Business

26 January 2021, 10:00am - 11:00am

Professor Paul Baines will outline in as humorous a style as is possible for him what we mean by academic impact and the various ways academics in the social sciences can seek to achieve it, whether this be through the generation of media activity, article citations, target audience behavioural change, awards and prizes, or high praise and positive chit-chat. He will refer to the growing importance of the ‘impact agenda’, debates in academic circles about why it matters, and how research might be designed from the off to incorporate this element. He will also discuss the process of writing a REF impact study although this isn’t a how to write a REF case study workshop per se (you’ll need to look elsewhere for that!).

Customer Experience Journeys: Loyalty Loops Versus Involvement Spirals

  • Anton Siebert, Henley Business School, University of Reading
  • Ahir Gopaldas, Associate Professor of Marketing, Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University
  • Andrew Lindridge, Reader in Marketing, Newcastle University London
  • Claudia Simoes, Professor in Management, School of Economics and Management, University of Minho

8 December 2021, 10:00am

The world’s top leisure brands, such as CrossFit, Pokémon Go, and Tinder, keep customers returning again and again. Athletes don’t just work out at CrossFit; they’re obsessed with it. Gamers don’t just play Pokémon Go for a little while; they’re hooked for hours on end. Singles on Tinder don’t just hunt for new partners; they’re addicted to the hunt itself. And from Netflix to Spotify to TikTok, a new generation of media companies has completely transformed the television, radio, and video industry.  What makes these leisure brands so "sticky"? The answer lies in a radically new vision of customer journey design that is tailor-made for the hyper-competitive attention economy. 

Publishing in Journal of Business Ethics

Ben Neville, Associate Professor, University of Melbourne

17 November 2021, 10:00am - 11:00am

In this research seminar we'll have a guest talk by Ben Neville, Journal of Business Ethics editor. Ben will present the journal and tell us about the types of papers that are accepted in JBE, what makes a strong theoretical or qualitative paper, or how to articulate a contribution. 

Centre for Sustainable Work and Employment Futures (CSWEF)

A Just Transition? Managing the Challenges of Technology, Trade, Climate Change and Covid-19

David Coats, Visiting Professor, CSWEF

24 March 2021, 2:00pm - 3:00pm

The UK has a poor record of managing industrial change and has inter-regional inequalities that are amongst the deepest in the developed world.  Workers are now exposed to significant risks from the Covid-19 induced recession, rapid technological change, the fallout from Brexit, intensifying international competition and, most importantly, the imperative to decarbonise the economy if the objectives of the Paris agreement are to be realised in practice. Intergovernmental institutions, most notably the International Labour Organisation, have made the case for a just transition to ensure that these challenges are met without a deepening of social and economic inequalities.  David Coats will explore how the ILO’s principles have been applied in the UK, with specific reference to coal fired electricity generation and steelmaking.  He will also describe the institutional gaps that make a just transition hard to achieve in the UK, suggesting that radical action is needed to avoid a repetition of previous policy mistakes.

Japan's Gig Economy: Flexible Labour and Fictitious Freedom

Saori Shibata, University of Leiden

10 March 2021, 2:00pm

The move towards gig work has progressed within advanced industrial democracies. I will discuss ways in which attempts are made to legitimate this further flexibilisation of labour markets. Whilst criticisms of the detrimental impact that gig work might have upon working conditions have been voiced by a number of commentators, nevertheless we remain without a concrete discussion of the pressures producing the moves toward gig work and the ‘official discourse’ of ‘fictitious freedom’ which has tended to accompany it. Nationally-specific structural, discursive and technological pressures influence the way in which gig work is introduced. In the concrete case of Japan’s changing model of capitalism, the gig economy locks gig workers into low-skilled and low-paid super-fragmented tasks, whilst at the same time heralding the benefits that gig work can provide for a range of contemporary socio-economic problems.

 

The Development of an Impact Case Study: Coping with the Emotional Challenges of Managing Affectively Committed Volunteers

Anne-marie Greene, University of Leicester School of Business

13 January 2021, 2:00pm

This webinar draws on the experience of a co-produced research project on which Anne-marie Greene and Jenna Ward have worked in collaboration with Annabel Smith, Director of Volunteering and Community Participation at the National Trust (UK)Research analysis has been published recently but this webinar focuses rather on the development of the research into an impact case study. 

On the Frontline

Dr Sarah Hallett, Chair of BMA Junior Doctors' Committee

18 November 2021, 2:00pm

Sarah will tell her story of how she became a national leader of the UK’s more than 50,000 junior doctors during a period of enormous challenge and change for her personally and the doctors’ trade union, the British Medical Association (BMA)*. She will tell how she became a BMA activist when a foundation trainee doctor in Derby by helping to organise local strikes during the national contract dispute in 2016. Sarah will also tell of the impact of her ground-breaking victory in the Court of Appeal on the enforcement of break-times for her and colleagues after a six-year struggle. She will reflect on the pioneering role she has played as a woman in the BMA’s leadership and how the union is changing. Finally, Sarah will talk about her experience of leading the Junior Doctors’ Committee in the face of the tumultuous challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch previous CSWEF webinars

Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Environment (IEE)

Daring to be different: A study of entrepreneurial stewardship in coffee family farms

Dr Allan Discuss Cruz, Senior Lecturer, Lancaster University Management School

25 March 2021, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

There is a growing interest in understanding the strategic behaviour of family firms producing international commodities such as coffee, particularly in contexts where decisions about what products to sell, where to commercialise them and how to promote them appear to be highly based on both business and family aspects. This presentation will explore product differentiation strategies in family firms in the specialty coffee industry across countries in Central America: Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The study relies on a qualitative approach to unpick the dynamics of product differentiation by families in business dedicated to producing specialty coffee.

Macroeconomics and Finance (MEF)

Imperfect Financial Markets and the Cyclicality of Social Spending

Dr Wojtek Paczos, Cardiff University

20 November 2021, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

This paper explores the link between default risk and the cyclicality of fiscal expenditure. Empirically, we establish a stylized fact, that countries with higher sovereign risk have more procyclical fiscal policy. We show that this is mostly driven by cyclicality of transfers and not of government consumption. We build a small open economy model with income inequality, government consumption, social transfers, and endogenous default risk to rationalize this fact. With low default risk transfers are countercyclical, inequality is procyclical, and external debt is used to smooth distortionary taxation. With high default risk, transfers are procyclical and account for most of fiscal adjustment because taxation becomes costly for the government. The model also provides testable implications on the share of fiscal adjustments bore by transfers relative to government consumption, which we confirm in the data.

Are the liquidity and collateral roles of asset bubbles different?

Professor Thomas Seegmuller, Aix-Marseille University

13 November 2021, 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Several recent papers introduce different mechanisms to explain why asset bubbles are observed in periods of larger growth. These papers share common assumptions, heterogeneity among traders and credit market imperfection, but differ in the role of the bubble, used to provide liquidities or as collateral in a borrowing constraint. In this paper, we introduce heterogeneous traders by considering an overlapping generations model with households living three periods. Young households cannot invest in capital, while adults have access to investment and face a borrowing constraint. Introducing bubbles in a quite general way, encompassing the different roles they have in the existing literature, we show that the bubble may enhance growth when the borrowing constraint is binding. More significantly, our results do not depend on the - liquidity or collateral -role attributed to the bubble. We finally extend our analysis to a stochastic bubble, which may burst with a positive probability. Because credit and bubble are no more perfectly substitutable assets, the liquidity and collateral roles of the bubble are not equivalent. Growth is larger when bubbles play the liquidity role, because the burst of a bubble used for liquidity is less damaging to agents who invest in capital. 

Research in Accounting, Society and Accountability (RASA)

Accountability Cafe 

Accountability in the Public Sector

Professor Ilena Steccolini, 17 February 2021

From formal to felt accountability? Understanding how leaders perceive their accountability by combining insights from psychology in studies of external control in public administration settings

Professor Thomas Schillemans, 3 February 20

Accountability for the Planet

Professor Jill Atkins, Sheffield University Management School, 18 November 2020, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

A Human-Rights Based Approach to Accountability for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Conflict and Crisis Zones

Professor Rosa Reedman, School of Law, University of Reading, 4 November 2020, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

RASA Seminars

Empowering the Civil Public through Educational Engagement: NGO Accountability Contexualised

Ekaterina Svetlova and Silvia Pazzi, University of Leicester School of Business

28 October 2020, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

Brexit Disclosure - Companies' Honest or Bogus Perceptions of Risk?

Camelia Vasilescu, University of Leicester School of Business

14 October 2020, 1:00pm - 2:30pm

Theoretical and Applied Microeconomics (TAM)

Who Lives Where in the City? Amenities, Commuting and Income Sorting

Fabien Moizeau, University of Rennes

24 March 2021, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

We develop a new model of a "featureful" city in which locations are differentiated by two attributes, that is, the distance to employment centers and the accessibility to given amenities. The residential equilibrium involves the spatial separation of households sharing similar incomes. Under Stone-Geary preferences, amenities and commuting are subsumed into a location-quality index. Hence, the assignment of households to locations becomes one-dimensional. Since residential choices are driven by the location-quality index, the income mapping may be fully characterized. Using a rich micro-dataset on the Netherlands, we show that household income sorting is indeed driven by amenities and commuting times.

Globalization and Conflicts: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Corporations in Africa.

Tommaso Sonno, University of Bologna

17 March 2021, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

Using georeferenced data on the affiliates and headquarters of multinational enterprises together with georeferenced conflict data, this work is the first to establish a causal link between the activities of multinational enterprises and violence. The results indicate that activity of sectors intense in scarce resources, in particular forestry, increases conflict. The increase in the likelihood of conflict is amplified especially in areas where the leading ethnic groups can place the burden of land deals on unrepresented groups.

Aiming for the Goal: Contribution Dynamics of Crowdfunding

Joyee Deb, Yale School of Management

10 March 2021, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

We study reward-based crowdfunding, a new class of dynamic contribution games where a private good is produced only if the funding goal is reached by a deadline. Buyers face a problem of coordination rather than free riding. A long-lived donor may alleviate this coordination risk, signaling his wealth through dynamic contributions. We characterize platform-, donor-, and buyer-optimal equilibrium outcomes, attained by Markov equilibria with simple donation strategies. We test the model’s predictions using high-frequency data collected from the largest crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. The model fits the data well, especially for predictions concerning comparative statistics, donation dynamics, and properties of successful campaigns.

Pairwise justifiable changes in collective choices

Salvador Barbera, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and Barcelona GSE

3 March 2021, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

Consider the following principle regarding the performance of collective choice rules.  If a rule selects alternative x in situation 1, and alternative y in situation 2, there must be an alternative z, and some member of society whose appreciation of z relative to x has increased when going from situation 1 to situation 2.

This principle requires a minimal justification for the fall of x in the consideration of society: someone must have decreased its appreciation relative to some other possible alternative.  

We study the consequences of imposing this requirement of pairwise justifiability on a large class of collective choice rules that includes social choice and social welfare functions as particular cases. When preference profiles are unrestricted, it implies dictatorship. On appropriately restricted domains, pairwise justifiability, along with anonymity and neutrality, characterize Condorcet consistent rules. The force of our condition is proven by its ability to identify a common link between Arrow’s and the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorems, and to provide, at the same time a foundation for the choice of majority winners when they exist. 

Goal-oriented agents in a market

Ines Macho-Stadler, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and Barcelona GSE

24 February 2021, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

We consider a market where “standard” risk-neutral agents coexist with ”goal-oriented” agents who, in addition to the expected income, seek a high-enough monetary payoff (the “trigger”) to fulfill a goal. We analyze a two-sided one-to-one matching model where the matching between principals and agents and incentive contracts are endogenous. In any equilibrium contract, goal-oriented agents are matched with the principals with best projects and receive the trigger with positive probability. Moreover, goal and monetary incentives are complementary: goal-oriented agents receive stronger monetary incentives. Finally, we discuss some policy interventions in relevant environments.

Designing Climate Negotiations

Klaus Schmidt, University of Munich

17 February 2021, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

Information and Communication Technologies, Protests and Censorship

Galina Zudenkova, TU Dortmund University

10 February 2021, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

We develop a theory of information flows and political regime change, when citizens use information and communication technologies (ICTs) for both information acquisition and protest coordination. Governments can respond by obfuscation of citizens' signal or by restricting access to ICTs used for coordination. We find that introduction of communication technologies lowers the probability of regime survival, but this effect is weaker in economies that do not use ICTs for production. We also expect less competent governments to use coordination censorship, though this effect is weaker in economies that use ICTs extensively. Some high-frequency empirical evidence is consistent with our predictions.

Engineering trust among strangers

Axel Ockenfels, University of Cologne

3 February 2021, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

The science of norm enforcement, informed by theory and laboratory research, suggests that altruistic punishment is a key determinant of cooperation. This talk summarizes my previous and current studies to show how this line of research can help to understand reputation building behavior in online markets, and how it can help to design digital feedback and conflict resolution institutions that more effectively promote trust and cooperation.

Organized Information Transmission

Ina Taneva, University of Edinburgh

27 January 2021, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

In reality, the organizational structure of information — describing how information is transmitted to its recipients — is as important as its content. In this paper, we introduce families of (indirect) information structures, namely meeting schemes and delegated hierarchies, that capture the horizontal and vertical dimensions of real-world transmission. We characterize the outcomes that they implement in general (finite) games and show that they are optimal in binary-action environments with strategic complementarities. Our application to classical regime-change games illustrates the variety of optimal meeting schemes and delegated hierarchies as a function of the objective.

Working too much for too little: Stochastic rewards cause work addiction

Roberto Hernan-Gonzalez, Universite Bourgogne 

16 December 2020, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

People are generally assumed to shy away from activities generating stochastic rewards, thus requiring extra compensation for handling any additional risk. In contrast with this view, neuroscience research with animals has shown that stochastic rewards may act as a powerful motivator. Applying these ideas to the study of work addiction in humans, and using a new experimental paradigm, we demonstrate how stochastic rewards may lead people to continue working on a repetitive and effortful task even after monetary compensation becomes saliently negligible. In line with our hypotheses, we show that persistence on the work task is especially pronounced when the entropy of stochastic rewards is high, which is also when the work task generates more stress to participants. We discuss the economic and managerial implications of our findings.

Gender Inequality in COVID-19 Times: Evidence from UK Prolific Participants

Climent Quintana-Domeque, University of Exeter

9 December 2020, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

We investigate gender differences across socioeconomic and wellbeing dimensions after three months of lockdown in the UK, using an online sample of approximately 1,500 respondents in Prolific, representative of the UK population with regards to age, sex and ethnicity. We find that women’s mental health is worse than men’s along the four metrics we collected data on, that women are more concerned about getting and spreading the virus, and that women perceive the virus as more prevalent and lethal than men do.

Women are also more likely to expect a new lockdown or virus outbreak by the end of 2020, and are more pessimistic about the current and future state of the UK economy, as measured by their forecasted present and future unemployment rates. Consistent with their more pessimistic views about the economy, women choose to donate more to food banks. Women are more likely to have lost their job because of the pandemic, and working women are more likely to hold more coronavirus-risky jobs than men. We also find that between February and June 2020 women have decreased their work hours, but increased housework and childcare much more than men. These gender inequalities are not driven by differences in age, ethnicity, education, family structure, income in 2019, current employment status, place of residence or living in rural/urban areas.

Efficient Liability in Expert Markets

Jianpei Li, University of Business and Economics, China

2 December 2020, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

When providing professional services, an expert may misbehave by either prescribing the “wrong” treatment for a consumer’s problem or failing to exert proper effort to diagnose it.  We show that under a range of liabilities the expert will recommend the appropriate treatment based on his private information if price margins for alternative treatments are close enough; however, a well-designed liability rule is essential for also motivating efficient diagnosis effort. We further demonstrate that unfettered price competition between experts may undermine the efficient role of liability, whereas either a minimum-price constraint or an obligation-to-serve requirement can restore it.

Dynamic Contracting for Innovation Under Ambiguity

Swagata Bhattacharjee, Ashoka University

25 November 2020, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

Outsourcing of research is commonly observed in knowledge-intensive industries e.g., biotech. We model innovation as an ambiguous stochastic process, and assume that the commercial firms are more ambiguity averse than the research labs. We characterize the optimal sequence of short-term contracts governing innovation, and show how it facilitates ambiguity-sharing. The firm's ambiguity aversion mitigates the dynamic moral hazard problem, resulting in monotonically decreasing investment and prevents equilibrium delay. However, compared to an ambiguity-neutral policymaker's benchmark, the research alliance stops experimenting earlier, and may liquidate the project even after being patented; even redesigning patent laws cannot solve both of the problems.

Deciding on what to Decide

Anke Gerber, University of Hamburg

18 November 2020, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

Anke's research is in decision theory, public economics, social choice theory and political economy.  She employs theoretical and experimental methods. 

Large Scale Experiments on Networks: A New Platform with Applications

Sanjeev Goyal, University of Cambridge

11 November 2020, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

Economic theory provides us models of network formation. The multiplicity of equilibrium and the possibility of large payoff inequality in these models motivate an experimental study of their validity. This paper presents a new platform for large scale experiments in continuous time and conducts experiments on three games of linking and assorted activities. Group size ranges from 8 all the way to 100 subjects. We find that subjects create sparse networks that are almost always highly efficient. The networks range widely -- in most cases they are centralized and unequal, but in one case they are dispersed and equal. These network structures are consistent with theoretical predictions. The second finding is that scale has powerful effects on payoff inequality. This is consistent with the theory in one game, but not in the other two games.

Sequential Search with Limited Price Discrimination

Eeva Mauring, University of Bergen

4 November 2020, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

I study price discrimination in a model of sequential search based on Stahl (1989). Firms are probabilistically able to discriminate between consumers based on their search costs. The "common" prices that are offered both to consumers with zero search cost ("shoppers") and with a positive search cost ("nonshoppers") serve the same dual purpose as in Stahl (1989): attracting the shoppers and extracting pro fits from the nonshoppers. The shoppers' discriminatory price is randomly drawn, but always lower than any common price. The nonshoppers' discriminatory price is, instead, equal to their cutoff price. When price discrimination is allowed, then an individual firm's profits increase in the number of competitors for an open set of parameter values. A firm, thus, sometimes strictly prefers more competitors and can more than double its profits by splitting and selling as two entities. Such spurious competition erodes consumer welfare.

Disentangling the Effects of Time Pressure on Risk Attitudes

Konstantinos Georgalos, Lancaster University

28 October 2020, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

While risky choice under time pressure is a topic that has attracted much attention in the literature, the effects of time pressure on risk attitudes seem to be poorly understood. In this paper we present evidence from an economic experiment where participants have to allocate an experimental income to two risky assets, with and without time pressure. We assume Rank Dependent Utility preferences, where risk attitudes are captured by both the utility curvature and the probability weighting function. Using the allocation data, we fit structural models which allow us to disentangle the effect of time pressure on the two components of risk attitudes. We then correlate the risk attitudes to various demographic and personality traits.

Fostering Collaboration 

Elliot Lipnowski, Columbia University

21 October 2020, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

We study project development and selection by an organization whose members prefer different projects. The organization faces a basic trade-off between fostering collaboration among its members and responding efficiently to projects’ evolution. If the organization commits to choosing the project that is most profitable ex post, it undermines the members’ motive to collaborate, causing ex-ante inefficiency. We solve for the organization’s optimal selection rule. It entails an early phase of intense competition, followed by a permanent regime of collaboration. In service to ex-ante optimality, arbitrarily severe ex-post inefficiencies must be tolerated.

Credibility, Efficiency and the Structure of Authority

Sinem Hidir, University of Warwick

14 October 2020, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

In many economic settings it is optimal to endow individuals with high abilities, rather than those with low abilities, with decision-making power. Yet there is rich empirical evidence showing that many of those in charge of decisions are not necessarily the most talented. We offer a novel rationale for why choosing a decision maker with low ability might be welfare-optimal. In a setting with two-sided information acquisition where the players disagree only when uninformed, we show that a high-ability principal optimally delegates authority to a low-ability agent because the latter not only exerts higher effort than under centralized decision-making, but also follows the principal’s advice when uninformed himself. As a result, the principal does not lose any real authority.

Killer Acquisitions and Beyond: Policy Effects on Innovation Strategies

Igor Letina, University of Bern

7 October 2020, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

This paper provides a theory of strategic innovation project choice by incumbents and start-ups. We show that prohibiting killer acquisitions strictly reduces the variety of innovation projects. By contrast, we find that prohibiting other acquisitions only has a weakly negative innovation effect, and we provide conditions under which the effect is zero. Furthermore, for both killer and other acquisitions, we identify market conditions under which the innovation effect is small, so that prohibiting acquisitions to enhance competition would be justified.