Robert H. Smith School of Business
http://hdl.handle.net/1903/1584
2017-01-20T20:14:38ZEssays on Motives and Market Outcomes
http://hdl.handle.net/1903/18860
Essays on Motives and Market Outcomes
Stroube, Bryan Kaiser
This dissertation examines the existence of heterogeneous motives in markets, particularly how a tension between profit motives and other utility can shape outcomes for organizations and individuals. I explore this tension in the context of biases, organizational identity, and investment behavior. Each of the three empirical chapters employs decision-level data from a different online crowdfunding platform.
Academic researchers and the general public are increasingly interested in the phenomenon of "crowdfunding." The term, however, encompasses an incredibly diverse set of activities---ranging from the facilitation of for-profit start-up investments to the charitable funding of medical procedures. This diversity can make it difficult to generalize research insights from studies of any particular instance of the phenomenon. In the introductory chapter I develop a general framework for understanding the source of observed behavior on crowdfunding platforms given some simple assumptions about platform policies.The goal is to provide context for the subsequent chapters of the dissertation.
The first empirical chapter examines biases against demographic groups, which are typically explained by one of two mechanisms: either decision makers have a taste for one demographic group over another, or demographics are employed as informational proxies for other unobserved but economically important traits. These mechanisms are difficult to empirically untangle despite the theoretical and practical importance of separating them. I attempt to do so in a Chinese peer-to-peer lending market by leveraging a loan guarantee policy that reduces the economic rationale for lenders to discriminate on borrower demographics such as gender and geography. Comparison of pre- and post-policy periods therefore provides a fruitful tool for measuring the degree of taste versus informational bias. I find that female borrowers appear to receive a preferential informational bias but a negative taste bias, while lenders' geographic bias toward borrowers located in the same province appears to be driven predominately by informational processes and not taste. These findings have implications for multiple sets of decision makers and underscore the theoretical importance of accounting for motives.
Chapter two examines the potentially conflicting investment motives found on a non-profit hybrid identity crowdfunding platform, where simultaneous market-like and charity-like motives may lead lenders to respond differently to funding requests from entrepreneurs who appear to have high economic ability and high personal need. I survey actual lenders on the platform to measure their stated preferences for borrowers who fit each of these categories. I find that 1) lenders vary in their preference for these categories and this preference is correlated with their demographics, and 2) past loans made by lenders with an above-average preference for both need and ability were funded faster than loans in other categories. These results highlight how actors' preferences are largely endogenous to the market in which they are observed.
In the final chapter I present the results of a simple online experiment conducted in conjunction with a peer-to-peer lending website. Potential lenders were presented randomized versions of the platform's lender registration web page. The content of the page varied in whether it promoted the potential social benefit of lending versus only the financial benefit. No difference was found between the treatment and control groups. The experiment provides some insight into how lenders self-select into crowdfunding activity and may serve as a model for similar experiments on other platforms.
2015-01-01T00:00:00ZEssays on Financial Constraints, R&D Investments, and Competition
http://hdl.handle.net/1903/18796
Essays on Financial Constraints, R&D Investments, and Competition
Lin, Danmo
This dissertation consists of two chapters of theoretical studies that investigate the effect of financial constraints and market competition on research and development (R&D) investments. In the first chapter, I explore the impact of financial constraints on two different types of R&D investments. In the second chapter, I examine the impact of market competition on the relationship between financial constraints and R&D investments.
In the first chapter, I develop a dynamic monopoly model to study a firm’s R&D strategy. Contrary to intuition, I show that a financially constrained firm may invest more aggressively in R&D projects than an unconstrained firm. Financial constraints introduce a risk that a firm may run out of money before its project bears fruit, which leads to involuntary termination on an otherwise positive-NPV project. For a company that relies on cash flow from assets in place to keep its R&D project alive, early success can be relatively important. I find that when the discovery process can be expedited by heavier investment (“accelerable” projects), a financially constrained company may find it optimal to “over”-invest in order to raise the probability of project survival. The over-investment will not happen if the project is only “scalable” (investment scales up payoffs). The model generates several testable implications regarding over-investment and project values.
In the second chapter, I study the effects of competition on R&D investments in a duopoly framework. Using a homogeneous duopoly model where two unconstrained firms compete head to head in an R&D race, I find that competition has no effect on R&D investment if the project is not accelerable, and the competing firms are not constrained. In a heterogeneous duopoly model where a financially constrained firm competes against an unconstrained firm, I discover interesting strategic interactions that lead to preemption by the constrained firm in equilibrium. The unconstrained competitor responds to its constrained rival’s investment in an inverted-U shape fashion. When the constrained competitor has high cash flow risk, it accelerates the innovation in equilibrium, while the unconstrained firm invests less aggressively and waits for its rival to quit the race due to shortage of funds.
2016-01-01T00:00:00ZMathematical Programming Models for Influence Maximization on Social Networks
http://hdl.handle.net/1903/18752
Mathematical Programming Models for Influence Maximization on Social Networks
Zhang, Rui
In this dissertation, we apply mathematical programming techniques (i.e., integer programming and polyhedral combinatorics) to develop exact approaches for influence maximization on social networks. We study four combinatorial optimization problems that deal with maximizing influence at minimum cost over a social network. To our knowl- edge, all previous work to date involving influence maximization problems has focused on heuristics and approximation.
We start with the following viral marketing problem that has attracted a significant amount of interest from the computer science literature. Given a social network, find a target set of customers to seed with a product. Then, a cascade will be caused by these initial adopters and other people start to adopt this product due to the influence they re- ceive from earlier adopters. The idea is to find the minimum cost that results in the entire network adopting the product.
We first study a problem called the Weighted Target Set Selection (WTSS) Prob- lem. In the WTSS problem, the diffusion can take place over as many time periods as
needed and a free product is given out to the individuals in the target set. Restricting the number of time periods that the diffusion takes place over to be one, we obtain a problem called the Positive Influence Dominating Set (PIDS) problem. Next, incorporating partial incentives, we consider a problem called the Least Cost Influence Problem (LCIP). The fourth problem studied is the One Time Period Least Cost Influence Problem (1TPLCIP) which is identical to the LCIP except that we restrict the number of time periods that the diffusion takes place over to be one.
We apply a common research paradigm to each of these four problems. First, we work on special graphs: trees and cycles. Based on the insights we obtain from special graphs, we develop efficient methods for general graphs. On trees, first, we propose a polynomial time algorithm. More importantly, we present a tight and compact extended formulation. We also project the extended formulation onto the space of the natural vari- ables that gives the polytope on trees. Next, building upon the result for trees---we derive the polytope on cycles for the WTSS problem; as well as a polynomial time algorithm on cycles.
This leads to our contribution on general graphs. For the WTSS problem and the LCIP, using the observation that the influence propagation network must be a directed acyclic graph (DAG), the strong formulation for trees can be embedded into a formulation on general graphs. We use this to design and implement a branch-and-cut approach for the WTSS problem and the LCIP. In our computational study, we are able to obtain high quality solutions for random graph instances with up to 10,000 nodes and 20,000 edges (40,000 arcs) within a reasonable amount of time.
2016-01-01T00:00:00ZEssays on Supply Chain Finance
http://hdl.handle.net/1903/18751
Essays on Supply Chain Finance
Zhu, Weiming
I study how a larger party within a supply chain could use its superior knowledge about its partner, who is considered to be financially constrained, to help its partner gain access to cheap finance. In particular, I consider two scenarios: (i) Retailer intermediation in supplier finance and (ii) The Effectiveness of Supplier Buy Back Finance.
In the fist chapter, I study how a large buyer could help small suppliers obtain financing for their operations. Especially in developing economies, traditional financing methods can be very costly or unavailable to such suppliers. In order to reduce channel costs, in recent years large buyers started to implement their own financing methods that intermediate between suppliers and financing institutions. In this paper, I analyze the role and efficiency of buyer intermediation in supplier financing. Building a game-theoretical model, I show that buyer intermediated financing can significantly improve supply chain performance. Using data from a large Chinese online retailer and through structural regression estimation based on the theoretical analysis, I demonstrate that buyer intermediation induces lower interest rates and wholesale prices, increases order quantities, and boosts supplier borrowing. The analysis also shows that the retailer systematically overestimates the consumer demand. Based on counterfactual analysis, I predict that the implementation of buyer intermediated financing for the online retailer in 2013 improved channel profits by 18.3%, yielding more than $68M projected savings.
In the second chapter, I study a novel buy-back financing scheme employed by large manufacturers in some emerging markets. A large manufacturer can secure financing for its budget-constrained downstream partners by assuming a part of the risk for their inventory by committing to buy back some unsold units. Buy back commitment could help a small downstream party secure a bank loan and further induce a higher order quantity through better allocation of risk in the supply chain. However, such a commitment may undermine the supply chain performance as it imposes extra costs on the supplier incurred by the return of large or costly-to-handle items. I first theoretically analyze the buy-back financing contract employed by a leading Chinese automative manufacturer and some variants of this contracting scheme. In order to measure the effectiveness of buy-back financing contracts, I utilize contract and sales data from the company and structurally estimate the theoretical model. Through counterfactual analysis, I study the efficiency of various buy-back financing schemes and compare them to traditional financing methods. I find that buy-back contract agreements can improve channel efficiency significantly compared to simple contracts with no buy-back, whether the downstream retailer can secure financing on its own or not.
2016-01-01T00:00:00Z