Summary

I am an assistant professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. My main areas of interest are corporate strategy, public policy, and technology. My research is published in PNAS, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Journal of Public Economics, and Strategic Management Journal. My work has been covered by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, NPR, The Atlantic, Slate, and Bloomberg among other outlets.

Published Research

Supply-Side Inducements and Resource Redeployment in Multi-Unit Firms (with Jasmina Chauvin)  (Formerly titled Worker Redeployment in Multi-Business Firms)
Accepted at Strategic Management Journal.
Early View on Journal Website  | SSRN Version  | Coverage from Anderson Review  | Online Appendix

We examine to what extent and when multi-unit firms internally redeploy managers between units. While theory has emphasized how changes in demand conditions affect redeployment, we argue that optimal internal resource allocation involves consideration of both demand and each unit's resource supply. We formalize this argument, showing how redeployment arises from "supply-side inducements"—return advantages in new over existing resource uses resulting from changes in resource supply. Empirical tests using manager deaths as an exogenous, supply-side shock to firms' resource stocks support our arguments, showing that firms frequently redeploy resources away from better-endowed and toward negatively affected units. Incorporating supply-side inducements into redeployment theory implies additional value-creation opportunities from redeployment and carries novel predictions for the direction of intra-firm resource flows.

The Effects of CEO Activism: Partisan Consumer Behavior and Its Duration (with Young Hou)
Strategic Management Journal. 44, no. 3 (March 2023): 672–703
Open Access Article from Journal Website

CEOs increasingly engage in activism on controversial social and political issues that do not directly affect their core businesses. Simultaneously, the general public is increasingly politically polarized. We examine how CEO support for gun control after two mass shootings differentially affected the behavior of liberal and conservative consumers and the persistence of these effects. Using mobile phone location data to measure store-level visits, we find (a) consumer visits to stores decreased by three percent; (b) this decrease was asymmetric: visits in the most conservative counties decreased by about five percent but did not change in the most liberal counties; and (c) these effects dissipated within 10 weeks after activism. Our results highlight the strategic implications for executives pressured to take stances on controversial issues.

The Growth of Hierarchy in Organizations: Managing Knowledge Scope (with Megan Lawrence)
Strategic Management Journal. 44, no. 13 (December 2023): 3155–3184
Full Text from Journal Website

Theory posits hierarchy as a response to coordination challenges and emphasizes organization size and the need to transfer knowledge as the mainspring of these challenges. This connection, however, is largely based on the quantity of knowledge to be transferred rather than its characteristics. Building on the knowledge-based view, we propose that knowledge scope—the variety of knowledge across an organization's members—affects coordination costs and hierarchy expansion. Using an economy-wide database from Brazil, we show that firms are more likely to expand their hierarchy when knowledge scope increases. This effect varies with firms' capacities to manage knowledge; firms whose employees perform more similar tasks or have shared experience at previous employers are less likely to expand hierarchy in response to increases in knowledge scope.

The Impact of Mass Shootings on Gun Policy (with Michael Luca and Deepak Malhotra)
Journal of Public Economics. 181 (January 2020): 104083.
Open Access Article from Journal Website

There have been dozens of high-profile mass shootings in recent decades. This paper presents three main findings about the impact of mass shootings on gun policy. First, mass shootings evoke large policy responses. A single mass shooting leads to a 15% increase in the number of firearm bills introduced within a state in the year after a mass shooting. This effect increases with the extent of media coverage. Second, mass shootings account for a small portion of all gun deaths, but have an outsized influence relative to other homicides. Third, when looking at bills that were actually enacted into law, the impact of mass shootings depends on the party in power. The annual number of laws that loosen gun restrictions doubles in the year following a mass shooting in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. We find no significant effect of mass shootings on laws enacted when there is a Democrat-controlled legislature, nor do we find a significant effect of mass shootings on the enactment of laws that tighten gun restrictions.

What Makes the Bonding Stick? A Natural Experiment Testing the Legal Bonding Hypothesis (with Amir N. Licht, Jordan I. Siegel, and Xi Li)
Journal of Financial Economics. 129, no. 2 (August 2018): 329–356
View on Journal Website |  View on SSRN

We use a U.S. Supreme Court case, Morrison v. National Australia Bank (2010), as a natural experiment to test the legal bonding hypothesis. By decreasing the potential liability of U.S.-listed foreign firms, particularly due to class action lawsuits, Morrison arguably eroded their legal bonding to compliance with disclosure duties. Nevertheless, we find evidence of an increase or insignificant change in share values. Tests of longer-run effects of the legal event indicate that foreign firms' disclosure quality and likelihood of facing enforcement actions remained stable, as did investors' revealed preferences for trading on US markets. These results go against the legal bonding hypothesis but are consistent with reputational bonding and with market-based accounts of US cross-listing. Our results may contribute to ongoing debate about civil enforcement of securities laws through class actions.

Handgun Waiting Periods Reduce Gun Deaths (with Michael Luca and Deepak Malhotra)
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114, no. 46 (November 14, 2017): 12162–12165
Open Access Article from PNAS

Handgun waiting periods are laws that impose a delay between the initiation of a purchase and final acquisition of a firearm. We show that waiting periods, which create a "cooling off" period among buyers, significantly reduce the incidence of gun violence. We estimate the impact of waiting periods on gun deaths, exploiting all changes to state-level policies in the Unites States since 1970. We find that waiting periods reduce gun homicides by roughly 17%. We provide further support for the causal impact of waiting periods on homicides by exploiting a natural experiment resulting from a federal law in 1994 that imposed a temporary waiting period on a subset of states.

Citizens' Perceptions and the Disconnect Between Economics and Regulatory Policy (with Jonathan Baron and William T. McEnroe)
In Regulatory Breakdown: The Crisis of Confidence in U.S. Regulation. Ed. Cary Coglianese. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.
View on JSTOR

Economic theory is clear about the advantages and disadvantages of various ways of regulating negative externalities, such as command and control, cap and trade, taxation, subsidies, and tort law. Yet public policy rarely follows the recommendations that follow from the theory. For example, the standard recommendations for reducing CO2 emissions involve carbon taxes or some form of cap and trade, but discussions of "realistic" ways to reduce emissions in the U.S. have involved mileage standards, command and control regulation of power plants, and tax subsidies for energy efficiency. In democracies such as the U.S., policies must have at least some public support. Citizens' limited understanding of the economics of regulation can lead to lack of support for optimal policies. In studies on the World Wide Web, we document some failures, and some successes, of ordinary citizens to think through the economics of alternative policies. Among other issues, we examine understanding of the secondary effects of taxation vs. subsidies, and understanding of the role of limited information (on the part of polluters, or governments) in the choice between command-and-control regulation and tort law or taxation.

Working Papers

The Wage and Inequality Impacts of Broadband Internet
Download Latest Draft  | Coverage from The Economist

Who benefits from the adoption of communication technology in the workplace? I combine worker-level wage data with information on broadband adoption by Brazilian firms to estimate the effects of broadband on wages and inequality. Overall, wages increase 2.2 percent following broadband adoption. Consistent with theories of biased technical change, wages increase the most for workers engaged in non-routine cognitive tasks and occupations that require using computer technology. Additionally, I estimate the effect of broadband on selected quantiles of the within-firm wage distribution to test predictions from theories of "management by exception" about the effects of communication technology on different levels of the organizational hierarchy. Consistent with theory, I find that upper-level employees benefit more than employees at lower levels. Furthermore, wage inequality among managers increases following broadband adoption, while inequality among workers decreases or is unchanged. Both new hires and firms' existing employees benefit from broadband adoption, which indicates that broadband's effects are not driven only by better recruitment of new employees.

Resource Redeployment as an Entry Advantage in Resource-Poor Settings (with Jasmina Chauvin and Carlos Inoue)
Download Draft from SSRN  | Coverage from Anderson Review

Scarcity of productive factors poses a challenge for firms entering underdeveloped regions. We examine resource redeployment as a strategy to overcome scarcity in factor markets by modeling when expanding firms will internally redeploy versus hire workers via external markets. Our model predicts that redeployment is most valuable when there are large differences in resource scarcity across factor markets and when output is highly sensitive to worker skill and complementarities between labor and other resources. The ability to overcome resource scarcity allows firms with redeployment capabilities to enter markets that other firms would not. Data on sugar mills in Brazil, where a sudden demand boom incentivized expansion, corroborate the predictions. Our research identifies new entry advantages from resource redeployment.

Policymaker Responses to CEO Activism (with Young Hou)
Download Draft from SSRN  | Summary on Columbia Law School's Blue Sky Blog

CEOs increasingly engage in activism on controversial social and political issues, such as police reform, LGBTQ rights, and election law, to influence the behavior of policymakers. We run an experiment on 514 elected, local politicians to examine how CEO activism on police reform affects the views of policymakers. Additionally, we examine how CEOs' controversial positions on social issues affects politicians' willingness to privately meet with CEOs or publicly advocate for their businesses. We find that CEO support for specific police reform policies has no effect on policymakers' opinions. Policymakers, however, are much less willing to engage—either privately or publicly—with CEOs who take controversial positions on social issues. Our results suggest that CEO activism is a poor tool for influencing local politicians, at least on the topic of police reform, and underscore the business costs of CEOs taking political positions. We discuss the implications for CEOs and the activist groups that often pressure them to take public positions on controversial issues.

Political Consumerism: Ideology or Signaling? (with Young Hou)
Download Draft from SSRN

Firms and their executives taking stances on controversial social and political issues such as gun control have been found to affect consumer behavior. This “political consumerism” might be driven by personal ideology or a desire to signal to peers. We run an experiment on 1,198 respondents who know each other to study how ideology and signaling affect a real purchase decision when a CEO engages in activism on gun control. Participants are randomly assigned to see either generic information about a product or the same information plus a CEO statement supporting gun rights. They then make a choice about whether to receive the product or a bonus payment, with half assigned to a public purchase condition in which their choice is observable to someone they know. We find that CEO support for gun rights reduces demand among people who favor stricter gun control laws. This effect does not vary significantly across the private and public purchase conditions, suggesting that personal ideology is a sufficient motive for political consumerism and that CEO activism can impel boycotts even for products whose consumption is not observable to others.

CEO Activism and Public Mobilization (with Young Hou)
Download Draft from SSRN

CEOs increasingly engage in activism on issues such as gun control, voting rights, and abortion. Although such activism may benefit their firms, the stated goal is often to mobilize the public and precipitate change. In an experiment with 4,578 respondents, we study the effect of CEO activism on people's willingness to contact their U.S. senators about abortion. On average, showing a CEO message supporting abortion rights is not more effective at mobilizing pro-choice citizens than showing no message or showing a message from other speakers. Additionally, CEOs do not provoke countermobilization by people who oppose abortion. We explore heterogeneous treatment effects and find that CEO activism is better at motivating pro-choice citizens to engage in politics when their senators are Democrats and thus likely receptive to pro-choice activism, consistent with stakeholder alignment theory. Our findings contribute to research on social movements and mobilization in markets by examining the ability of CEOs and organizations to act as catalysts for social change.

The Value of Corporate Political Donations: Evidence from the Capitol Riot (with Young Hou)
Download Draft from SSRN |  Summary on The FinReg Blog

Corporate political action committees donate about $300 million to federal political candidates each election cycle, but research offers mixed evidence as to the value of these contributions. We estimate the value of firms’ campaign contributions by studying the decision of 159 S&P 500 companies to stop donations following a riot in the U.S. Capitol building. Average cumulative abnormal returns over the two days following firms’ announcements to halt donations were −0.6 percent. There is no significant relationship between the magnitude of abnormal returns and (a) the amount of political contributions, (b) the intensity of regulation in a firm’s industry, (c) the firm’s lobbying expenditures, or (d) measures of ESG performance and political accountability. Analyses of campaign donations show that firms initially halted their political contributions as promised, but that many resumed giving by the end of 2021. Together, the results suggest campaign donations by corporate political action committees have small effects on firm value.

Teaching

  • Business Strategy (MGMT 420)
    UCLA Anderson School of Management
  • Teaching Fellow, Economic Analysis of Public Policy (API 102A)
    Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government