A Genome Wide Association Study of Occupational Well-being based on UK Biobank Data

by Associate Professor Song Zhaoli (Department of Management and Organisation)


A collaboration with Assistant Professor Fan Qiao of Duke-NUS Medical School, we plan apply the genome-wide association study (GWA study, or GWAS) approach to identify genetic variants in association with occupational well-being indices, such as survey measures of happiness, job satisfaction, and psychological distress. Furthermore, occupational characteristics, such as job complexity, will be used in conjunction with genetic markers, to examine the gene-environment interaction. For this study, we will study data collected from the UK Biobank, a research project that recruited more than half a million people aged between 40-69 years between 2006 and2010 across the UK. The UK Biobank project is unique because it covers a very broad range of areas such as genetics, health, social relationship, eating behaviours, and work.

Air Quality and Auditor Productivity

by Assistant Professor Lin Yupeng (Department of Accounting)


Relying on a quasi-natural experiment instituted by air quality regulations during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, we examine the effect of air pollution on auditors’ behaviours. We find that a 1-percent increase in the air pollution index increases the percentage of work hours necessary for an auditor to audit a firm by 4 percent. This effect is more pronounced when the leader of an audit team is more entrenched, is older, or male. Further analysis reveals that audit quality and audit fees are not affected by air pollution. We conclude that air pollution reduces auditors’ work efficiency.

Content Monetization and Preview Design

by Assistant Professor Yao Dai (Department of Marketing)


Many firms and individuals generate content online and offer them to consumers in a specific fashion: Besides the main content, they also produce samples or previews. Interested consumers will further consume the main content.

Recently, pay-what-you-want (PWYW) has emerged as a new and popular monetisation method both in the offline world (e.g., entrance fee to museums, performances, etc.) and in cyberspace (e.g., live streaming). By PWYW, consumers are given the autonomy to set the price (including zero price) they want to pay for the products.

By studying the WeChat Media Platform, this research uses a combination of difference-in-difference and structural empirical models to understand key issues regarding content monetisation and preview design. For instance, we examine how previews should be designed when PWYW becomes trendy, and the potential substitutions between different monetisation methods for content providers.

by Assistant Professor Yam Kai Chi (Department of Management and Organisation)


In this project, I explore the antecedents and consequences of employees’ unethical pro-organisational behaviour (UPB) through the lens of moral decoupling – a moral reasoning process whereby individuals separate their perceptions of morality from their perceptions of performance. First, I argue that employees increase their engagement in UPBs when they (1) see their supervisors doing the same and (2) believe that their supervisors endorse moral decoupling. Second, I argue that employees’ UPBs are only positively related to supervisors’ evaluations of their job performance when supervisors themselves report that they morally decouple. I test these hypotheses in a field sample of supervisor¬–employee dyads and two experimental studies. This combination of studies highlights the complex link between ethics and perceptions of performance in organisations.

Parental Consumption Decision and Children’s Well-Being

by Associate Professor Li Xiuping (Department of Marketing)


In this project, we examine how the lay beliefs of parents’ impact the way they spend on their children. Some people, termed as entity theorists, hold a relatively fixed view of personal traits and characters and do not believe that they can change much over time. Others, named as incremental theorists, hold a malleable view and believe that their personal qualities are changeable.

For parents with incremental theories, they are more likely to have a balancing strategy regarding how to choose the extra-curriculum activity for their children. If their children show characteristics such as being an extrovert, they would put their children in training programs that would instil qualities of an introvert in the children.

In comparison, parents who hold an entity view about self-concept, are more likely to choose a training program that would be compatible with the revealed characters of their kids.

We hypothesise that parents with an incremental theory, compared to those with entity theory, are more likely to balance their children’s characters and choose a training (education) program that is incompatible with their kids’ revealed characters.

The Impact of Disruptive Technologies on Maritime Trade and Maritime Industry

by Associate Professor Goh Puay Guan (Department of Analytics and Operations)


This project aims to generate new insights on the impact of major technological shifts on the maritime industry and maritime trade. The project is to be conducted in collaboration with MPA, the World Bank and NTU to provide a short, high-level report on this topic and will be announced at the “Maritime Outlook Forum” in Oct 2019

The project discusses key technological trends under Thrust 1 (Efficient intelligent world-class next-generation port) and Thrust 5 (Sustainable maritime environment and energy) of the Singapore Maritime R&D roadmap, and aims to understand the potential impact of these trends on the maritime industry and maritime trade in Singapore.

The technology trends include :

  1. Manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing
  2. e-commerce and impact on logistics and distribution patterns
  3. Blockchain and its application to shipping documents and trade finance

The Effects of Feedback on Project-Based Learning

by Associate Professor Sarah Cheah (Department of Management and Organisation), Dr Bimlesh Wadhwa (Computer Science) and Dr Mark Gan Joo Seng (Centre for Development of Teaching & Learning)


This study investigates the effect of various feedback levels and feedback agents on students’ performance in project-based learning. While feedback is provided, there is no way to track or monitor how students are using the feedback. In addition, the nature and quality of the feedback provided are also unexplored.

This study addresses the above issues by introducing three feedback levels (task, process and self-regulating) and two groups of feedback agents (academic and industry advisors) on students’ project performances to reduce the gap between actual and expected learning outcomes. The following two research questions form the basis for our study: How do the feedback levels affect the students’ industry project performance? To what extent do students use academic and industry advisors’ feedback to accomplish their project team report?

Volume-Based Export Restrictions: Choice, Design, and Effectiveness

by Associate Professor Lucy Chen (Department of Analytics and Operations)


The 21st century has seen a marked expansion in efforts to regulate the supply and export flows of materials through the use of export restrictions around the globe.

While most existing research focuses on the economics of export restrictions, no one looks at the impact of export restrictions on commodity producers’ supply chain decisions such as production quantity, capacity investment over time, and product’s availability under price fluctuations, etc…

This research aims to shed light on the impact of different types of trade barriers on supply chains by examining (a) domestic consumer surplus (b) producer surplus, (c) producers’ investment decisions and (d) regulators’ policy choices.

Benchmarking Productivity in Singapore: The Productivity Research Network (PRN)

by Professor Filippo di Mauro (Department of Strategy and Policy)


Singaporean companies have successfully made the transition from a manufacturing- based economy to a service-based, technology-enabled ‘New Economy’. They are synchronized with the global business ecosystem and offer innovative products and services that are ahead of the curve. But, despite significant efforts to maintain competitive advantages and spur innovations, their productivity performance – in the aggregate – is rather lacklustre. This project aims to tackle the challenges posed by the New Economy from the perspective of the nexus between innovation and productivity.

We have identified three main areas where the changes brought about by the New Economy have the greatest impact: supply chains, industrial policies, and labour markets — particularly, the development of human capital. Our empirical strategy is drawing on our team members’ track record of data collection (particularly survey data) and top-notch research within these areas.

Our first aim is to develop and run a set of new dedicated surveys, developed by our team members, for Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region:

  1. International Firm Localisation and Productivity (IFLP) for Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia
  2. extension of World Management Survey (WMS) – currently covering over 20,000 firms in 35 developed and developing economies – to Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region
  3. Singapore version of the Management and Organizational Practices/Uncertainty Survey (MOPS)

Our second aim is to match this survey information with a variety of firm-level data sources collected under the project initiative and develop insightful research as described in detail in the individual study proposals.

Our research focus – given the track record of the promoters and collaborators – is expected to result in at least 10 articles published in leading journals. Our first goal is to understand how technological changes affect the labour market and ultimately spill over on company productivity. Second, we focus on global value chains and supplier-customer linkages. Third, we explore the potentially corrective role of targeted industrial and financial policies. Fourth, we focus on the role of human capital in the new economy.

Competitive Strategy in Marketing

by Assistant Professor Jeff Cai (Department of Marketing)


The frontlines of quantitative marketing have progressed rapidly along both empirical and analytical dimensions. The former is now riding the wave of big data provided generously by consumers and the advancement of technology, and oftentimes concerns itself with the “how much” question. My specialization in the latter, known as analytical or game theoretic modelling, advances our understanding of counterintuitive – hence interesting – and increasingly relevant marketing phenomenon through tackling the “why” and “how” questions.

Let me provide a few examples. Why do firms, who are intense rivals in a market, sometimes collaborate with each other to take on a weaker rival in another market? How is it that horizontal rivals form an R&D alliance, knowing that there will be downstream product market implications? What type of alliance structures are more stable, and why is that the case? Why do certain retailing practices, which may seem odd at first glance (e.g., a dominant retailer like Walmart delegating important marketing decisions to a manufacturer like P&G,) actually work in practice? And why do certain practices by sales force managers (e.g., performance posting) work under certain circumstances, but not others?

The above are examples of marketing phenomena that I am currently examining. Together with other related questions, these form the cornerstones of my research program. The work of an analytical modeller revolves around elements such as robustness and parsimony. These are also elements that practitioners appreciate – a better understanding of “competitive strategy in marketing” will yield useful managerial implications.

Consumer Behavior in Digital Media

by Assistant Professor Daniel He (Department of Marketing)


While social media has expanded the size and reach of social networks, people paradoxically feel less connected with the friends and acquaintances they communicate with online. This occurs because, compared to face-to-face communication, digital communication is relatively impoverished and lacks the same level of richness, immediacy, and feeling of presence. To investigate the differences between the virtual world and the physical world, this research protocol will examine the unique properties of digital media that affects how people think, feel, and behave.

Healthcare and Supply Chain Analytics

by Assistant Professor Joel Goh (Department of Analytics and Operations)


This research comprises two separate streams. The first stream aims to develop models and analytical methods to improve healthcare delivery and inform health policy. Specific topics include developing optimal payment schedules to incentivize adherence to tuberculosis treatment, developing propensity score-based methods of causally estimating medication effects using observational data, and estimating the economic cost of physician burnout. The second stream aims to investigate issues around supply chain efficiency, with a particular focus on modern supply chain models empowered by digital technology. Specific topics include understanding the role of sequential product concealment and revelation in assortment planning, understanding the role that digitally-enabled supply chain intermediators play in the context of an agricultural supply chain operating in a developing economy, and understanding the role that a digitally-enabled on-demand workforce can play in last-mile delivery operations.

Research Motivation and Technology Commercialization Performance in Universities

by Professor Wong Poh Kam (Department of Strategy and Policy)


Funded by a grant from the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, this is a follow-on from a pilot project funded by the NUS Business School HSS Seed Fund. This 2-year project commenced in July 2018 and will be carried out in collaboration with Tsinghua University.

Recent public policy focus on university-industry collaboration has created a tension between the core university mission of university research and the “third mission” of contributing economic value and societal impact. This study frames the debate in the context of Stokes’ quadrant model, which postulates two motivations for scientific research: (a) furthering fundamental scientific understanding, and (b) addressing user problems.

Using data on NUS, Tsinghua and Stanford University faculty members, the project examines the links between scientific motivation of individual researchers and the technology commercialization outcomes achieved. Comparative analysis between NUS and Tsinghua will examine the role of heterogeneous institutional structures. A proposed focal research area is talent mobility as a source of academic entrepreneurship, and how research motivation influences this relationship.

The Application of Labour Market Information in Financial Markets

by Assistant Professor Michael Shen (Department of Accounting)


In this project, I explore the application of labour market information (e.g., financial analyst turnover, corporate accounts’ career paths, the revolving door practice of regulator, etc.) in topics related to financial accounting. For example, I use an innovative dataset of lower-level employee profiles from a large professional social network to examine the turnover of lower-level accounting employees in financial misconduct. Specifically, I examine two research questions: (1) whether accounting employees proactively leave before financial misconduct is revealed; (2) whether accounting employees who do not proactively leave are punished in the labour market after financial misconduct is revealed. In another working paper, my co-author and I assemble a comprehensive dataset of individual characteristics (e.g., SEC-affiliation, educational background, gender) of lawyers based on LinkedIn and other public sources. We examine the impact of SEC-affiliated lawyers on the SEC comment letter process and shed light on the concern that former SEC employees may continue to influence the agency even after they leave.

The Economics of Shadow Banking: Lessons from China

by Assistant Professor Ruan Tianyue (Department of Finance)


Shadow banking, or credit intermediation outside the formal banking system, has continued to evolve since the 2007–09 Global Financial Crisis. The shadow banking sector in China has been growing by more than 20% per year from 2007 to 2017. Due to data limitations, not much is known about the cause of this rapid growth or the potential impact it has on financial and economic stability. This study aims at filling this gap in the literature by examining micro-level data compiled from primary sources. I identify shadow banking activities of both regulated banks and non-financial firms in this project and plan to study their performances and risks.

With the Chinese economy is at the forefront of some of the crucial developments in this area, this study can also shed light on the economics of shadow banking.

The Long-run Effect of Adolescent Environment on Human Capital

by Assistant Professor Gong Jie (Department of Strategy and Policy)


A central question in human development and policy design is how environmental factors and interventions at different stages shape individuals’ human capital. This project investigates the long-run effect of adolescent environment on non-cognitive skills. We will use exogenous shocks that influence individuals’ adolescent environment, such as the historical episode of Cultural Revolution in China, where millions of teenagers were forced to leave their urban homes and life to work in the countryside, to establish a causal link between adolescent experience and long-run non-cognitive outcomes, including their core beliefs, preferences, and health outcomes.

Voluntary Cost Transparency in a Competitive Setting

by Associate Professor Lim Wei Shi (Department of Marketing)


To generate and compete for product demand, firms usually promote product information (product functionality, product comparisons, product quality, selling price, warranty and returns policies, etc.) to create consumer awareness and to help consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. Besides “product promotion information”, most firms are tight-lipped about supply chain and cost related information. However, we are intrigued by the radical strategy implemented by a San Francisco-based apparel retailer Everlane.com who discloses its supply chain (input) costs (material and labour costs) as well as the average profit margin by other firms selling similar items. In general, the manufacturing cost of a product is a closely-guarded secret for two major concerns: (1) cost transparency can make a firm more vulnerable to competition; and (2) cost transparency can create unhappy consumers who feel that the firm’s profit margin is unreasonably high (i.e., the selling price is too high relative to the manufacturing cost). While many firms are keeping their cost information as trade secrets, third-party infomediaries now offer various product cost information online. As more infomediaries are offering cost estimates about different products, we wonder if a firm should disclose its cost information voluntarily.

In this project, we examine the following research questions. Firstly, does a monopoly benefit from voluntary cost transparency? If so, what are the key market parameters that determine the extent of the benefit? Secondly, under what conditions would competing firms adopt voluntary cost transparency? Would cost transparency undermine the competitiveness of the firm? To this end, we first develop a theoretical framework to examine if firms have incentives to adopt voluntarily cost transparency in a monopolistic setting. We then extend our analysis to a competitive setting. To validate our theoretical findings, we report on the results of our experimental findings.

Co-working for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Study

by Associate Professor Cheah Lai Yin Sarah (Department of Management and Organisation)


While co-working spaces were initially established to provide a supportive environment for mobile professionals or freelance consultants to work alongside one another, a new generation of co-working spaces such as ecosystem builders, has emerged with a different strategic focus and operating model. This new generation of co-working spaces has been regarded by policy makers as an important part of the ecosystem in fostering entrepreneurship and innovation. This study aims to investigate the role and impact of co-working spaces on the innovation performance of its entrepreneurial members.

Debt, Innovation, and Measurement in Tiered-Production Networks

by Assistant Professor Ben Gossin Charoenwong (Department of Finance)


Given the rise in international trade and development in logistics, studying how firm-level networks introduce vulnerabilities is important for understanding a firm’s direct and indirect risk exposures in supply chains. The paper presents a new channel for operational and financial risk management.

This project aims to identify different sources of risk affecting a firm’s financial policy and supply chain decisions. A firm’s capital structure and supply chain decisions may be intertwined because it establishes supply and customer relationships in order to produce.

The absence of a unified framework to study both leverage and supply chain network formation has resulted in disjointed literature. In addition, studying either leverage or supply chain variables in isolation misses equilibrium pricing and quantity effects that propagate through the entire network.

Digital Economy

by Professor Ke Bin (Department of Accounting)


The world economy is becoming increasingly digital creating both opportunities and challenges for businesses in Asia. We propose to establish a research platform between NUS Business School and Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management so that faculty and PhD students can initiate regular contact, exchange information and propose joint research projects about the digital transformation of the world economy in China and the ASEAN region. The proposed exchange platform will be on WeChat.

To make the proposed platform more effective, we have identified the following organizations as the key champions of this initiative. Within NUS, we have secured the support of the Asia Accounting Research Center (AARC) and the Centre for Business Analytics. Within Tsinghua University, we have secured the support of the School of Economics and Management’s Center for Internet Development and Governance (CIDG).

We will also organize two academic conferences in the next two years (one in China and one in Singapore) to promote research on the digital economy in Asia. Our hope is to use this initiative to encourage interested faculty members and PhD students from both sides to develop joint research proposals for funding from either China or Singapore.

Environmental Performance and Operational Performance

by Associate Professor Thompson Teo (Department of Analytics & Operations)


While more organisations adopt sustainable practices, research is divided on the impact of environmental performance on organisational performance. In this study, we use secondary data to examine the relationship between environmental performance (direct and indirect emissions) with operational performance (cost efficiency and productivity). We also examine the role of environmental management systems and quality management in moderating the relationships.

Exploring the Predictors and Dark Sides of the Employee Creativity

by Assistant Professor Ke Mai (Department of Management and Organisation)


At the societal level, innovation and creativity are essential for economic growth and social progress. They are also arguably key enablers of and contribute to performance, entrepreneurship, growth, and competitiveness. Given the importance of employee creativity and innovation, this study would like to address two unique predictors of employee creativity, as well as the potential dark side of the employee creativity.

Research traditionally focus on predictors at the individual level (personality, motivation) and organisational level (organisational structure and policy). Yet, very few have explored one of the most salient predictors – the physical environment and an individual’s daily activities. This study examines how the digitalised nature (nature present using digital format) can affect employees’ routine and creative performance. The other predictor that I look at is the contagious (or threatening) effect of leader creativity on employee creativity. Finally, this study will examine whether a leader’s creative performance could potential entitle employees’ norm-breaking behaviours (deviant and unethical behaviours).

How Generalizable are Findings from Archival Research? A Large-Scale Empirical Test

by Professor Andrew Delios (Department of Strategy and Policy)


The crisis of confidence in science has largely centred on psychology, medicine, and experimental research. However, there are reasons to be concerned about the robustness of findings from archival research in management. These include the poor availability of data for re-analysis due to confidentiality concerns, non-disclosure agreements with private companies, loss, and investigator unwillingness, and anecdotal cases of findings collapsing when errors are corrected and alternative analyses are attempted.

This research leverages an expansive longitudinal archival data set to examine if findings from a given span of years emerge in adjacent spans of years using the same analytic approach in the original investigation. We conduct “robustness + extension” analyses to examine the extent to which the findings do or do not extend to similar but distinct contexts. Importantly, this is a test of the generalisability, not replicability of archival findings.

Regulating the Housing Market

by Associate Professor Qian Wenlan (Department of Finance)


Housing is a consumption good, an important savings vehicle, as well as a self-insurance mechanism for most households. Such investments typically require borrowing from banks and other financial institutions, leading to a large and significant mortgage market in most countries of the world. Therefore, a stable housing market with a sustainable growth trajectory is crucial in promoting consumer lifetime welfare, stimulating economic growth, as well as maintaining a healthy and stable financial system.

Despite the prevalent practice of housing market regulations, there are many heavily debated questions yet remain unresolved. First, are these regulatory practices effective in achieving the original objectives? Second, are there any unintended consequences (or externalities)? Finally, are there alternative and better (regulatory) approaches? These questions form the central theme of this project.

My co-authors and I exploit a unique policy measure in Singapore that differentially targeted second (or investment) homes to understand the effects and the transmission channel of a tightening policy in the mortgage market.

We analyse the differential selection and treatment effects across synthetic cohorts of loans issued within adjacent time windows before and after the policy implementation and trace credit outcomes up to 18 months thereafter. We will study the effect of the credit tightening policy measure on the mortgage borrower default (or delinquency) behaviour.

Resource Need or Social Status: Marriage Ties of Large Family Business Groups

by Professor Chung Chi-Nien (Department of Strategy and Policy)


Why do large business group families in Asia tend to marry their family members to each other? It is possible that the marriage ties among large family business groups are driven by their needs of resource access and maintaining market position and hence the groups unite with each other in order to secure the resources and coordinate prices. It is also possible, however, that marriage ties form to maintain an elite social status. Elite families establish marriage ties with each other to sustain the exclusive boundaries of their status group and maintain their apex identities.

Although family business groups are widely connected to each other through various formal connections and informal social ties, less attention has been paid to marriage and its impact on group strategy and performance. Drawn from interdisciplinary studies in sociology and management science, I plan to develop a theoretical framework that specifies how resource considerations of business group families promote marriage ties and how it may strategically vary among families with distinct social status during the market transition.

This study highlights the potential trade-offs that family business groups may confront when they form marriage ties in emerging economies where traditional social structures and market-oriented transitions co-exist. I also seek to contribute to research on business groups in emerging economies by switching the traditional focus on intragroup networks and their outcomes to the genesis and evolution of intergroup networks.

The hypotheses derived from our framework will be tested with a unique data from family businesses in Taiwan.

Social Intelligence with Big Data

by Associate Professor Chong Juin Kuan and Co-PI Assistant Professor Yao Dai (Department of Marketing)


The advances in internet technology over the past decade have accumulated voluminous amounts of social interaction data in different business contexts. The wide availability of these data has attracted researchers from both business and economics, and computer science to analyse customers and their online behaviours.

An overt gap exists in the perspectives that researchers in different areas take. Business and economics researchers mainly focus on analysing the triggers and consequences of certain customer behaviours, while computer science researchers are more focused on developing smarter and more efficient algorithms to infer the true social connections between customers and their social interaction data, without inquiring if and how customers may influence each other through their connections and interactions.

Motivated by the need to bridge the gap, we engage in several lines of investigations incorporating the perspectives from both fields, to deepen our understanding and utilisation of social interaction data, and to influence customer behaviours.

The Effects of Group Gender Composition on Project Planning and Execution

by Associate Professor Wu Yaozhong (Department of Analytics & Operations)


Our project aims to address the impact of gender composition on group interactions and decision making in the context of two typical behavioural biases that are of particular interest to project management: (a) planning fallacy and (b) escalation of commitment. Both biases have been widely shown to have a pervasive influence on project management.

This research makes an important contribution to the literature on project decision making, which has mostly focused on studying individual decision makers. Previous research have not considered the impact that group-specific factors—such as gender composition and the resulting quality of within-group interactions—might have. Our work will provide managers with guidelines to manage the increasing gender diversity in organisations and better take advantage of the potential benefits of this diversity while avoiding possible downsides.

Asset Pricing Implications of Changes in Variance

by Assistant Professor Pyun Sungjune (Department of Finance)


This project studies how variance shocks affect asset prices. Variance risk affects investors’ portfolio decisions. Positive variance shock means smaller investment opportunities for investors. As a result, investors consider the possibility of variance shocks when making their portfolio decisions. This information – the possibility of a variance shock and how asset prices react to changes in the shock –is critical for investors after major finance events similar to the Global Financial Crisis.

In this project, I propose a new out-of-sample prediction methodology of market returns using the variance risk premium and explore several asset pricing implications for individual stock returns.

Distance Education in Underdeveloped China: Challenges and Opportunities

by Assistant Professor Yang Nan (Department of Strategy and Policy and Department of Marketing)


This project intends to improve the adoption and utilisation of distance education in China’s underdeveloped regions. In this study, we plan to use government/school funded information and communications technology investment as an exogenous intervention that enables Internet access for teachers.

The teachers’ subsequent online shopping activities quantify their internet proficiency. We will then measure this effect of proficiency against the intensity of distance education engagement. Therefore, we will empirically identify the obstacles in current engagement, design treatments for improvement (e.g. monetary incentives, training on flipped classroom), and eventually test the treatments using field experiments.

Economic Interventions and Behavioural Studies towards a Car-Light Singapore

by Assistant Professor Yang Nan (Department of Strategy and Policy and Department of Marketing)


This research project centres on designing and testing effective pricing schemes for the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP2) system. ERP2 is a Global-Navigation-Satellite-System (GNSS)-based, in-vehicle meter that allows for more flexibility in managing traffic congestion and other negative externalities through distance, time, and route-based road pricing.

The Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) is rolling out ERP2 in the coming years but has yet to decide how distance-based charging will be implemented under the system. This project focuses on designing ERP2 pricing scheme, testing the effectiveness of the proposed schemes through Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT), and understanding the underlying behavioural mechanisms.

Gender Peer Effects on Students’ Academic and Noncognitive Outcomes:
Evidence and Mechanisms

by Assistant Professor Gong Jie (Department of Strategy and Policy)


In this project, we study the gender peer effects on students’ academic performance and non-cognitive outcomes. The analysis uses a nationally representative survey of middle school students in China and focuses on schools that randomly assign students to classrooms.

Preliminary findings show that having a higher proportion of female peers in class improves students’ test scores and non-cognitive outcomes, such as mental stress, social acclimation and satisfaction, and disciplinary problems. There is evidence of improved classroom environment, teacher-student interactions, and teacher’s level of job satisfaction when there are more female students in the class.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship in China

by Assistant Professor Wang Yanbo (Department of Strategy and Policy)


This study examines how the design and implementation of state subsidy programs shape firm behaviours and performances in China. Working with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Science and Technology, I investigate how random factors such as the gender composition of the evaluation committee, the temporal order of the review, and the seniority of committee members, influence a firm’s likelihood of receiving state grants. Furthermore, I examine the conditions through which small amounts of public subsidy grants may help boost firms’ survival rate and innovation activities.

Investment Adviser Governance

by Assistant Professor Ben Charoenwong (Department of Finance)


The investment advisory business manages over US$66 trillion in assets just in the US. Despite its size, the regulation and enforcement of legal requirements for these firms are inconsistent between states and the federal government. In this project, we study the impact different regulatory designs have on adviser misconduct.

The project also studies whether external and internal governance mechanisms are substitutes. We also examine whether investment advisory firms themselves establish internal controls and governance systems that are consistent with minimising misconduct among its employees subject to maximising firm profits. The project findings will be relevant to investors, policy makers, and practitioners in the investment advisory business.

New Frictions on the Credit Channel

by Assistant Professor Adonis Antoniades (Department of Finance)


Lending is a central pillar of a modern economy and policy-makers are strongly interested in understanding its main drivers and associated risks. This project aims to identify new determinants of credit provision that extend beyond balance-sheet type frictions typically studied in the field of financial intermediation. For example, we aim to understand how market structure may affect the supply of credit and thereby the transmission of monetary policy to the real economy.

We also examine how short-term shocks in the real economy may affect both the demand and supply of long-term credit, as well as the associated risks that this mechanism may generate. The work is empirical in nature and utilises micro-level data from a variety of international sources to identify causal relations that can directly inform the ever-evolving process of rule-making in bank regulation.

On Experience and Enterprise: Careers, Organizations and Entrepreneurship

by Assistant Professor Ng Weiyi (Department of Strategy and Policy)


What is entrepreneurship and what makes an entrepreneur? While the founding of highly innovative firms with significant growth potential forms the cornerstone of economic growth, the labour market at large is increasingly being populated by self-employed contract workers. Understanding the social histories of these two populations – where they come from, what they do, how they refer to themselves and why they succeed or fail – is important not just to the academic field of entrepreneurship, but also to informed policy making and resource allocation.

I study the socio-economic and career factors that affect both high potential start-up founding and self-employment outcomes. I address these questions through the computational analyses of start-up data repositories (e.g. PitchBook, CrunchBase, AngelList) and a hand-collected dataset of over 3 million unstructured resumes that comprise the high-technology professional ecology of the US.

Providing Mobility as a Service: Public Acceptance and Behavioural Responses

by Assistant Professor Yang Nan (Department of Strategy and Policy and Department of Marketing)


Smart payment and mobile technologies have created opportunities for Mobility as a Service (MaaS) to become a promising urban transportation solution for future generations. In 2015, The Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) launched a prototype MaaS – an Off-peak Monthly Travel Pass (OMTP). At a price of S$80, the OMTP allows subscribed commuters unlimited free trips on public transport during various off-peak windows. However, the take-up rate has yet to achieve its full potential. Studies suggest status-quo bias is an important reason for the low take-up rate.

In our study, we propose examining ways to overcome the status-quo bias in the context of OMTP adoption through field experiments. Building on the findings, we will then enrich the scope of MaaS products beyond OMTP and Adult Monthly Travel Pass (AMTP) to include complementary point-to-point transit options.

Service Productivity and Innovation Research Programme (SPIRE)

by Professor Ivan Png (Department of Strategy and Policy)


Singapore’s Social Sciences Research Council has awarded a grant of $4.74 million for research into service productivity. The inter-disciplinary project draws scholars with diverse expertise including data analytics, optimisation, stochastic modelling, applied microeconomics, and behavioural science.

The project will advance new scientific knowledge in the disciplines and develop cost-effective and scalable strategies to raise productivity across multiple industries, including retail, logistics, transport services, and healthcare. The project team is collaborating with partners in the public and private sector, including the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Infocomm Development Authority, SingHealth, Eastern Health Alliance, Yamato Asia, and Sheng Siong Supermarket.

The Downsides of Morality at Work

by Assistant Professor Yam Kai Chi (Department of Management and Organisation)


Behavioural ethics research has typically explored the benefits of morality at work. In this research, I discuss two projects that examine the unintended negative effects of being a moral person at work. In the first, I explore the tension between morality and humour and the downstream consequences of such tension. Results from five studies employing different methodologies suggest that moral employees produce fewer jokes, appreciate humour less, and are perceived by co-workers to be less funny. These perceptions, in turn, lead to reduced likeability at work.

In the second, I explore the tension between morality and creativity. Using primary, multisource, multi-wave data from a sample of CEO and Chief Human Resources Officer dyads in the biotechnology industry, I find that CEOs with strong moral identities promote rule-adhering organisational norms that negatively impact firm innovation. In sum, I suggest that although morality is generally a positive trait, it can have downsides in certain situations that must be recognised and effectively managed.

Consumer Decisions in a Dynamic Social Context

by Assistant Professor Adelle Xue Yang (Department of Marketing)


This research aims to understand how a dynamic social context affects consumer decisions. Currently, research in this area is focused mainly on factors that affect individual decision processes without a social context. The findings will shed light on consumer purchase decisions and satisfaction, and help marketers better understand consumer behaviour.

I examine in a number of projects how the presence or anticipation of social presence affects consumer behaviours. These include how people make gift-giving choices, surrogate decisions for others, reciprocation decisions (e.g., how people initiate and repay favours), as well as prosocial decisions (e.g., donations and volunteering).

Corporate Cash Holdings: Theory, Evidence and Policy Implications

by Assistant Professor Gao Xiaodan (Department of Strategy and Policy)


Non-financial corporations in the United States hold more than 20 per cent of the aggregate money stock, and they account for approximately 50 per cent of annual output. As such, the effectiveness of monetary policy depends crucially on this source of money demand. Examining the interest sensitivity of corporate cash has important policy implications.

Managing Relationships and Civility under Stress

by Associate Professor Sandy Lim (Department of Management & Organisation)


In a global environment that is increasingly characterised by unpredictability and complexity, leaders are often thrown into highly stressful situations such as natural or man-made disasters, terrorist attacks, and major product failures, where they have to lead ad-hoc task forces or project groups to meet specific objectives within a short timeline. This study examines how leaders manage relationships and civility with team members in high-stress situations. Both qualitative and quantitative data will be collected to understand critical issues that leaders must deal with when managing crisis situations.

Sensemaking and Organisational Growth across Recurrent Economic Shocks

by Professor Kulwant Singh (Department of Strategy & Policy)


Studies suggest that when shocks recur, firms revisit their experience in prior shocks to make sense of current challenges. This research will evaluate firms’ understanding of previous shocks, of their reactions to these shocks, and of the outcomes of such reactions.

The study evaluates 607 firms from five emerging Asian economies that survived serial economic shocks between 1997 and 2008. This study will improve understanding of how firms’ interpretations of previous shocks influence their choices and outcomes in current shocks.

The Effects of Intensity and Variability in Job Demands and Resources on Employee Outcomes

by Professor Remus Ilies (Department of Management & Organisation)


The experience of stressful job demands can help to build more resilient employees in the long run – individuals who are not only able to manage the demands of the workplace, but to also recover and develop their abilities as they encounter setbacks. This study seeks to investigate how fluctuations in (stressful) job demands and the availability and use of resources work in concert to develop employee resilience. Findings from this study would contribute toward knowledge of how employees can develop their abilities to cope with various job challenges and inform organisations on how they can support employees to become more resilient.

2016 Quality of Life Survey

by Associate Professor Tan Soo Jiuan and Co-PI Associate Professor Tambyah Siok Kuan (Department of Marketing)


Research studies on happiness and wellbeing are of interest to academics, policy makers and practitioners as they seek to enhance the lives of individuals and communities. In our project on the quality of life of Singaporeans, we use theories and measurement tools from three main streams of research: (1) the subjective wellbeing perspective (2) values, and (3) socio-political indicators. The 2016 Quality of Life Survey comprises a fairly comprehensive set of social indicators that have been validated for use in the Singapore context through past surveys (in 2011, 2006 and 2001). The sample of 1500 respondents is a stratified and random one that is representative of the demographics of Singaporeans according to the latest Population Census.

Through the data analyses of this project, we aim to answer research questions pertaining to the quality of life and wellbeing of Singaporeans from a holistic perspective. Who are the happy Singaporeans, and what contributes to their life satisfaction? Issues like the impact of demographic variables on Singaporeans’ cognitive aspects of subjective wellbeing in terms of life satisfaction, and affective aspects of subjective wellbeing in terms of happiness, enjoyment, achievement, emotional, and psychological wellbeing will be examined. Correlation and cohort analyses will be conducted to track changes in Singaporeans’ personal values over time. The value orientations of Singaporeans together with demographic variables will be used to perform cluster analyses to define psychographic profiles of Singaporeans and examine whether and how these profiles evolve over time. Additional analyses will also be conducted to help uncover the underlying determinants of wellbeing for Singaporeans.

Brokerage Culture, Tipping, and Analyst Ranking

by Assistant Professor Ma Guang (Department of Accounting)


Anecdotal evidence suggests that financial analysts tip large institutional investors prior to publicly releasing their forecast reports. While tipping generally is in the grey area, regulators view it as unethical and there are cases in which tipping is punished by regulators. We investigate whether brokerage firms’ culture affects financial analysts’ tipping behaviour, and how brokerage culture interacts with economic incentives such as analyst ranking.

Feeling the Heat of the Mid-life Pause: Impact of Menopause on Work and Well-being

by Professor Vivien Lim (Department of Management and Organisation)


For women, transiting into midlife (40-55 years) is especially significant as it is marked by the onset of and transition into menopause. Menopause brings with it many physical, psychological and emotional changes. Given that most women in this life stage are still engaged in paid employment, the physical, psychological and emotional outcomes triggered by this mid-life change, clearly, have significant implications for work and well-being, particularly in a society where the workforce is rapidly ageing, such as Singapore. This study examines the impact of menopause on employees’ work-related outcomes and well-being, as well as organizational strategies to help women cope with this mid-life transition.

Pasteur ’s Quadrant and the Technology Commercialization Impact of Universities

by Professor Wong Poh Kam (Department of Strategy and Policy)


This project addresses the tension in a university when balancing the core mission of basic research and the “third mission” of contributing economic value and societal impact. Current public policy is focused on encouraging universities to have greater industry collaborations. However, the empirical evidence on whether collaborations lead to successful commercialisation of university technologies is mixed.

Drawing on Stokes’ (1997) quadrant model of scientific motivation, industry-oriented research in universities falls into two categories. Pasteur’s Quadrant represents use-inspired research that both furthers fundamental scientific understanding and addresses real-world problems. Meanwhile, Edison’s Quadrant represents applied research that provides industry solutions. The project will collate data to construct indicators based on patenting and publication performance of researchers, in order to fulfill the project’s objectives: (a) develop a scientometrics-based methodology for classifying Pasteur’s and Edison’s Quadrants; (b) examine the comparative technology commercialisation outcomes of Pasteur and Edison Quadrant research.

Peer Effects in Corporate Disclosure Decision

by Assistant Professor Seo Hojun (Department of Accounting)


This study investigates peer effects in corporate disclosure and accounting behaviour. Peer effect is defined as the average behaviour of a group influencing an individual group members’ behaviour.

The primary contribution of this study is to document that peer firm disclosure behaviour is an important determinant of corporate disclosure decisions. Prior research in accounting literature primarily focuses on firm-specific determinants but ignores potential externalities generated by peer firms. One important implication is that the externalities might interact with other firm-specific factors, and therefore change our inferences regarding firm-specific behaviour obtained from prior research.

Pricing for Efficiency in the Sharing Economy: An Empirical Study of the Ride-hailing Platforms

by Associate Professor Chu Junhong (Department of Marketing)


We study the optimal design of the price structure and the optimal take-rate for ride-hailing platform models, and the associated efficiency and welfare implications. The study will provide recommendations on how the platform should set prices. On the supply side, commissions must attract drivers, while on the demand side, prices must attract consumers. The commissions and prices must balance demand and supply across the platform.ent findings and identifying critical questions to be addressed in future research.

Re-Examining the Dimensional Structure, Antecedents and Consequences of Interpersonal Trust in Organisations

by Associate Professor Daniel J McAllister (Department of Management and Organisation)


Scholars and practitioners alike are quick to acknowledge the importance of trust in business relationships. There is less agreement on how best to measure trust dimensions and model their antecedents and consequences.

I am now summarising key findings from more than 400 published and presented studies that have addressed one or more of these trust dimensions, testing critical assumptions about the extent to which they are distinct and differentially associated with key predictors and consequences. Beyond a distillation of key findings, my work will be focused on addressing inconsistent findings and identifying critical questions to be addressed in future research.

Strategic Corporate Disclosure upon Liquidity Shock: Evidence from the Lehman Brothers Bond Rating

by Assistant Professor Lin Yupeng (Department of Accounting)


In this paper, we found that, in response to a positive (negative) demand shock, managers strategically provide management forecasts with more negative (positive) information. This finding is robust to different measures of disclosure and various specifications that seek to rule out alternative explanations. Further evidence suggests that bond financing-dependent firms and financially constrained firms exhibit a greater sensitivity of corporate disclosure decisions to demand shocks in the bond market.

Think Unethical, Think Male: A Role Congruity Approach

by Assistant Professor Ke Mai (Department of Management and Organisation)


We have accumulated knowledge to better understand why people behave unethically, but there seems empirical research to be little to examine the outcomes of unethical behaviour at work. Based on the criminal justice literature, unethical behaviour can be categorized into either impulsive or premeditated (or pre-planned) crimes. I have data indicating that people differentiate between the two types of behaviours and punish premeditated behaviour more severely. In my dissertation, I asked participants to rate the masculinity and femininity of each act and then asked whether they thought the perpetrator was male or female. For premeditated acts, participants rated it as more masculine and felt that the perpetrator was male, which is in line with our expectations and role congruity theory. Based on the role congruence theory, I hope to explore the phenomenon in more detail to see whether third-party evaluator (e.g., manager) view individual (e.g., our employee) unethical behaviour differently based on their gender.

Travel Demand Management: Understand how and Why Commuters can (not) be Persuaded to Avoid Peak-Time Travel

by Assistant Professor Yang Nan (Department of Strategy and Policy and Department of Marketing)


This project is a field experiment on Singapore’s subways and aims to evaluate the effectiveness of using reward schemes to incentivise peak-time commuters to travel pre-peak. In a randomised controlled trial design, frequent peak-time commuters in the treatment groups will receive rebates of their subway fare for traveling pre-peak. Some of them will receive a further bonus if their numbers of pre-peak trips reach a threshold. The monetary incentives are designed to be temporary, while our observation will cover the period after the discontinuation of the incentives. In a difference-in-differences analysis, we test (1) whether the promotional scheme shifts peak-time trips and (2) if so, whether the shifts persist beyond the promotional period.

Environmental Expenditure and Firm Performance

by Associate Professor Thompson Teo (Department of Analytics & Operations)


Drawing from the resource-based view and natural-resource-based view (NRBV), we examine the relationship between a firm’s environmental expenditure on both cost of revenue and net income. We also analyse the moderating effects of R&D and environmental products on the respective relationships. Specifically, we conduct robust regression analyses using environmental and financial data of S&P500 firms from 2000 to 2014. The results provide insights into conditions when it pays to be green.

How Do Political Events Affect Politically Connected Firms?

by Assistant Professor Johan Sulaeman (Department of Finance)


We examine how political events influence the performance and behaviour of politically connected firms. We focus on the time-varying aspects of political ties over a reasonably long time horizon in countries where these ties are prevalent. Our analysis pays special attention on countries that experienced instances of political instability in the recent past as the time series variations in political conditions will allow us to examine the effect of political connections, while controlling for potentially unobserved differences in corporate and political actors.

The expected findings of our study should provide important contributions to the existing literature on the effect of time-varying political ties on firm value and information quality. In sum, our research agenda is geared towards contributing to the broad question of how a country’s political environment affects its economic development and the performance of the private (but potentially connected) sector.

Housing Market under Asymmetric Information and Behavioural Biases

by Professor Sumit Agarwal (Department of Finance)


Increased competition has a causal effect on banks’ pricing strategies to compete for consumers and profits. We test this conjecture using an exogenous shock due to the interstate banking restriction that has been sequentially lifted across states since 1994. We find strong evidence that increased competition leads banks to reduce initial rates offered on the adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) to attract borrowers but increase interest rates after the rate reset and thereby exploit consumer inattention in the pricing terms. Different banks design pricing strategies that are optimal to their own profit structures. Consistent with theoretical predictions, we find that banks shroud more with naïve borrowers or less financially sophisticated borrowers, who are more subject to behavioural bias. Subsequently, banks earn more profits from lower default risk and delayed prepayments.

MRT Travel Study

by Associate Professor Leonard Lee (Department of Marketing)


The public transportation system in Singapore faces peak-hour overloads. At times, MRT trains are over-crowded to the extent that commuters cannot board the trains. The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) have been trying to shift part of the crowd to off-peak periods by offering fare discounts for off-peak travel.

This research examines the effectiveness of a surcharge policy at shifting travel from peak to off-peak periods and commuters’ perception of the policy. We also develop and test different potential solutions to increase commuters’ receptivity toward peak-hour surcharge. In particular, we investigated the behavioural and psychological impact of donating the collected surcharge to charity—varying the proportion of the surcharge to donate (50 per cent or 100 per cent) and the degree of autonomy commuters have in deciding the benefactor of the donation. To this end, we conducted a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) involving more than 900 commuters across the nation, examining their travel patterns before, during, and after a six-week intervention period as well as capturing their attitudes toward the surcharge policy at different points in time during the experiment.

Reference Price Models and Dynamic Pricing

by Assistant Professor Hu Zhenyu (Department of Analytics & Operations)


This research project aims to understand how reference-dependent behaviours of consumers affect the aggregate level market response as well as how the firm should make optimal pricing decisions. The project investigates this question from two separate perspectives.

First, the dynamic pricing literature with reference effect commonly imposes assumptions about consumer behaviour directly on the market response. While this may be convenient for analytical purposes, it may not accurately reflect the real market response. We propose to bridge this gap and examine the analytical and empirical consequences when one builds up the reference dependent demand function from the consumer behaviour model.

Second, we analyse the problem of determining the optimal prices in more realistic settings such as reference prices can evolve stochastically or the firm needs to manage the pricing decisions for multiple products.

Sharing Economy and Sustainable Transportation: Service Region Design and Operations Management for Car/Ride Sharing Systems

by Assistant Professor He Long (Department of Analytics & Operations)


The objective of this project is to design effective models and systems for car/ride sharing services, with the eventual goal to provide viable solutions, from both operational and technological perspectives, to sustainable transportation development. The research scope covers the following three areas: 1) designing service region for one-way car/ride sharing systems; 2) managing fleet operations in various car/ride sharing business models; 3) promoting synergy with public transport.

The Effect of Social Power on Consumer Behaviour

by Assistant Professor Yan Zhang (Department of Marketing)


Social power, defined as an individual’s relative capacity to modify the states of other people by providing or withholding rewards or administering punishments, has been recognised as a persuasive influence on human behaviour.

We investigate whether power really corrupts by examining the effect of power on ethical behaviour. We are interested in testing whether the powerful are more or less likely to donate to charity as compared to the powerless, and whether the powerful are more or less likely to buy counterfeit luxury products. The research will contribute to our understanding of the triggers of (un)ethical behaviour and the role of power in the ethical domain.

Behavioural Ethics in Organisations

by Dr Yam Kai Chi (Department of Management and Organisation)


Given the numerous business scandals in recent years (e.g., Volkswagen, AIG, etc.), many scholars and practitioners have advocated for increased CEO morality. Although CEO morality is assumed to be a highly desirable trait, in this research I propose its downside —reduced firm innovation. I propose that CEOs high on morality are likely to promote a rule-adhering organisational climate within their organisations, which discourages their employees to think “outside of the box”. This rule-adhering organisational climate will in turn stifle firm innovation as a whole. This research will provide a more complete understanding of the effects of CEO morality on firm-level outcomes.

Beyond the Hype: A Taxonomy of Social Entrepreneurship in Health and an Assessment of Impact

by Assoc Prof Audrey Chia (Department of Management and Organisation)


In the last few decades, social entrepreneurs have tried to address the needs of the poor in Asia, especially where governments and markets have failed. In particular, social entrepreneurs in health stand out for their innovative and far-reaching work in disease prevention, treatment and enabling conditions for good health.

There have been many captivating stories and cases, but no systematic studies that have assessed the models and contributions of social enterprises as a whole. We shall conduct a systematic review of health social enterprises to produce a taxonomy of models and identify factors associated with their success and effectiveness.

Cultural Bias, Trust and Consumption: An Empirical Study

by Assoc Prof Chu Junhong (Department of Marketing)


Cultural proximity and trust have been found to affect international trade, portfolio investment and direct investment (Guiso, Sapienza and Zingales 2009), product adoption (Albuquerque, Bronnenberg and Corbett 2007), and pro-social lending (Burtch, Ghose and Wattal 2014). However, no study has examined the mechanisms through which culture and trust influence consumer demand. Existing studies tend to focus on cross-country cultural differences and trust. In geographically vast countries like China, India and the US, there are huge regional differences in culture and trust. There has not been any attempt to study the impact of within-country cultural differences on domestic trade and consumption and their policy implications.

This project has two research questions and objectives. First, how cross-country cultural proximity and trust influence consumer’s brand preference and price sensitivity, and consequently consumer’s demand. I will use the European car market as an empirical context. Second, how within-country cultural proximity and trust affect choices of sellers of different destination provinces by buyers of different origin provinces on online consumer-to-consumer (C2C) shopping, and what are the policy implications for regional e-commerce development and digital divide. I use the Chinese online C2C shopping as the empirical context.

Not only will this project help deepen our understanding of cultural elements in demand and consumption, it will also help policy makers to take relevant measures to alleviate the possible negative impact of cultural biases in demand and consumption.

Discrete-Discrete Choice Models

by Dr Yao Dai (Department of Marketing)


For some business contexts, a transaction starts with a customer making an initial purchase decision (e.g., reserving a specific car, or putting a specific product in the shopping cart), and ends when the customer pays for the chosen product if the initial decision is held on, or a new product if the initial decision is replaced.

This format of transaction, which comprises two related discrete decisions, cannot be fully accommodated by existing choice models which mainly deal with either discrete or concrete decisions, or, in rare cases, a combination of one discrete decision and one continuous decision (i.e., the so-called discrete-continuous choice model which has been widely used in the telecom business to model the mobile plan subscription for each month and the minute usage in the month). More importantly, this two-step transaction adds a great deal of richness into the customers’ as well as firms’ decisions which cannot be easily uncovered with existing tools. As an example, while the first decision is made for future consumption, the second one is usually for immediate consumption. Yet, these two are related decisions and it’s likely that the second one is influenced by the first one. How customers make the two decisions and to what extent the time gap between the two affects the second decision are interesting questions that this study will explore.

This proposal will complete a few on-going projects that help us better understand the customers’ and firms’ behaviours in such two-step transactions. It will also explore many new directions that are enabled by this new format of transaction.

Geographic Investment Restrictions on Asian Mutual Funds: Costs and Opportunities

by Dr Johan Sulaeman (Department of Finance)


This research will focus on legal barriers to overseas investment imposed on mutual funds across Asian countries, and particularly in Southeast Asia. Mutual funds in the region face restrictions regarding the fraction of their holdings that can be invested in foreign securities. Some of these restrictions can be relatively strict—Indonesian mutual funds are not allowed to hold more than 15% of their holdings in foreign securities. These restrictions limit the ability of local investors to invest in foreign assets, which in turn will limit the investors’ ability to diversify their portfolios and retirement accounts. As these investors are already exposed to the domestic risk through their labour income (as well as government policies), this restriction can prove harmful, particularly for the middle class.

The research will examine the costs and benefits of geographical investment restrictions on mutual funds’ investment. We aim to collect data on legal barriers to geographical diversification, and then examine research questions related to (1) the effects of these legal barriers on the performance of local mutual funds, (2) the corresponding effects on the ability of local investors to reduce their risk exposure and attain more optimal portfolios, and (3) the effects on the development of local and regional financial markets.

Impact of Daily Commuting and Work and Well-Being

by Professor Vivien Lim (Department of Management and Organisation)


Commuting to work is an unavoidable reality for majority of the working population. Research suggested that employees are spending an increasing amount of time commuting to work over the years (Lyons & Chatterjee, 2008). For instance, employees in Canada spend an average of 53.2 minutes a day commuting to work, while employees in London endure the longest average commute of 74.2 minutes a day in the UK (the UK average is 54 minutes).

In Singapore, there has been a heightened demand for public transportation amidst the growing population and tighter government regulations on private car ownership. As of 2014, per day train ridership consisted of 2.76 million passengers, and 3.75 million passengers for public buses (Land Transport Authority, 2015). These numbers are set to grow further. Against this context, the current study examines the impact of employees’ commuting experience on their work performance and well-being.

Innovation Processes in India, China and Singapore: Towards a Cross-Cultural Lens

by Professor Michael Frese (Department of Management and Organisation)


Cultural differences and similarities are examined that affect innovation processes in India, China, and Singapore. China and India are two giant economic powers that are important for the development of the world. All three countries emphasise in their public statements their wish to increase their innovative ability. However, there are differences in innovative abilities between these countries.

One potential reason for differences may be cultural. However, cultural differences do not just affect differences in innovation processes. They also may affect in a subtle way specific strategies and ideas to increase innovations, e.g., in R&D teams. Thus, cross-cultural differences are important – however, as far as we know cross-cultural psychological studies have not been done comparing these three countries.

We use the GLOBE study as a starting point to develop hypotheses on how cross-cultural differences affect these three countries. The GLOBE study examines nine cultural difference variables and is the newest and methodologically the best developed cross-cultural study (based on more than 17,000 responses from mid-level managers in 61 countries.

The study will be an important addition to the burgeoning literature on innovation and contribute greatly to cross-cultural studies. It also fills a gap of studies based in Asia and with contribution to Asian businesses.

Job Search and Socialisation: Follow up Studies Using the Genome Pool Cohorts

by Assoc Prof Song Zhaoli (Department of Management and Organisation)


College graduates transit from students to organisational members through two major processes— job search and organisational socialisation. In the last year of college life, the most important activity for most students is job seeking. A successful job search leads to an ideal employment opportunity. After obtaining that opportunity, students start their organisational entry process, which is most often been examined as the organisational socialisation process. The current proposal plans to examine both processes with college graduates.

Job search is the behavioural process through which individuals look for job. In the job search process, job-seekers undertake a series of activities, such as following leads from newspaper ads, writing resumes, contacting employers, and going through job interviews. The job interview is often considered as a popular recruiting and selection tools in organisations. Whether job-seekers can engage in job search in an effective and timely fashion has important implications for them to obtain their employment. The current proposal plans to examine college graduates’ job search behaviour from the lens of affective experience. The data can enable us to address questions of how job search behaviours change over time, how job search activities and job interviews are related to positive and negative affect, and how these behaviours and affects are related to job search effectiveness.

This study will also investigate the combined effect of newcomer’s proactivity and the leader’s support on newcomer’s organisational socialisation outcomes from two perspectives — learning and organisational identification, and in a three months period. According to person-organisation fit literature (specifically, person-supervisor fit [Kristof, 1996; Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman, & Johnson, 2005]), I propose that the more aligned a newcomer’s proactivity and his or her leader’s supports are, the higher the newcomer’s learning and identification developing. At the same time, this study will test asymmetrical incongruence effects when the newcomer’s proactivity is higher than the leader’s support, and vice versa. Finally, the study will test the newcomer’s and the leader’s combined effects on distal organisational attitudes and behaviours— newcomer’s work engagement and organisational commitment at the end of the dynamic process, three months after the newcomer’s entry.

Law, Social Responsibility, and Outsourcing

by Dr Gong Jie (Department of Strategy and Policy)


Previous research into law and corporate social responsibility mostly assumes that the vertical structure of production is exogenous. By outsourcing, a brand may avoid some liability and responsibility, but lose direct control over the evasive actions that cause harm. Here, we analyse the trade-off between avoidance of liability and control over evasion. (i) Evasive actions reduce production costs, and so, evasion increases with the speed/scale of production. Under outsourcing, the brand may depress speed/scale to induce less evasion. (ii) Maximising welfare requires comparing welfare under vertical integration and outsourcing, and so, is an inherently non-convex problem. (iii) If demand is elastic, the cost of production is high or enforcement is weak, then vertical integration is optimal. It discretely raises welfare by raising production speed/scale (increasing consumer benefit by more than production costs), and lowering evasion (reducing harm by more than it raises production costs).

Predicting Corporate Frauds

by Professor Ke Bin (Department of Accounting)


Corporate fraud is a worldwide problem, especially in emerging markets (e.g., China and India). If not detected and prevented on a timely basis, corporate fraud can cause significant harm not only to stakeholders of the firms directly linked to the fraud cases but also to non-fraudulent firms that compete with fraudulent firms for investors’ scarce capital or customers. Unfortunately, the detection of fraud is difficult, especially in emerging markets due to weak firm-level corporate governance and country-level investor protection. Even if fraud is detected, it may not be disclosed to the public. Hence, an important research question in academic research is to develop effective methods to detect corporate frauds on a timely basis so that the extent of damages from such fraud cases can be either completely prevented or minimised and an economy’s resource allocation becomes more efficient.

The existing literature has employed a variety of fraud detection techniques, ranging from the simple logistic regression model to more advanced models such as the bivariate probit model with partial observability or the SVM (support vector machines) method developed in computer science. The objective of this proposal is to develop new fraud detection methods appropriate for different levels of financial markets (e.g., the US versus China) using new ideas and interdisciplinary methodologies.

Public Release of Enforcement Actions and Financial System Stability

by Dr Ma Guang (Department of Accounting)


In the wake of financial crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (DFA) puts more emphasis on financial system stability and establishes two new regulating agencies to monitor systemic risk. Meanwhile, financial system transparency is advocated by researchers and practitioners and promoted by the banking regulators. However, the underlying assumption that transparency helps improve financial system stability is not warranted. Especially for disclosures from regulators, it is not clear whether such disclosures will improve the financial system stability, and no empirical evidence has been documented.

In this project, we investigate the impact of public releases of enforcement actions on the stability of the entire banking system. Specifically, we investigate the impact of the public releases of bank regulators’ enforcement actions against a bank on the entire banking industry, the role of the peer bank’s financial reporting transparency in mitigating or intensifying the effects of public releases of enforcement actions on financial stability, and the cross-sectional variance of impact due to types and qualities of enforcement actions.

Our project will contribute toward the debate on transparency in financial industry and have practical implications for financial regulators. Our evidence also provides rational explanations for some actions taken by the regulators in recent years. For example, during the financial crisis in 2008-2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) deliberately halted the application of fair value accounting on some financial instruments to prevent further market crash.

Retailing Analytics with Sensors

by Assoc Prof Wang Tong (Department of Analytics & Operations)


In face of increasing competition from online retailers, traditional retailers have been losing their market share. One of the key disadvantages for traditional retailing, besides higher cost due to rental for shop space, labour for salesforce, etc., is the lack of data availability. Not like an online retailer, who can easily identify which customer is browsing what product and for how long, traditional retailers have very limited visibility in customers’ activities in the store. The absence of such valuable data has been the major obstacle for traditional retailers to better understand and optimise their retailing operations. In this project, I attempt to explore various sensors technologies that may lead to cost-effective ways of collecting data on customers’ activities in retailing outlets, investigate statistical methodologies for calibrating models with such data, and optimise operational decisions such as assortment, inventory, pricing, and product display. The framework closes the loop of data collection, parameter estimation, and model optimisation.

Sustainability Reporting and Firm Performance in Singapore

by Assoc Prof Lawrence Loh (Department of Strategy and Policy)


Sustainability reporting is becoming a most critical area of concern for organisations all across the world. In particular, more and more companies are required disclose information related to sustainability. Singapore Exchange just announced plans in May 2015 to boost the transparency of governance with sustainability reporting on a “comply or explain” basis and thus making sustainability reporting an important feature in the Singapore business landscape of the future. This research aims to investigate the relationship between firm performance and sustainability reporting in Singapore. Specifically, it will generate a broad-based model of awareness, acceptance and adoption of sustainability reporting and the linkages with the key domains of firm performance.

The Construction of Social Purpose Organisation Database (SPOD)

by Dr Zhang Weina (Department of Finance)


This research project aims to collect primary data from Singapore social purpose driven organisations such as social enterprises. Although there are several existing international databases that evaluate the social impact of this type of firms, there is a lack of contextualised framework that takes into account of the local political, social and economic considerations in Singapore.

The construction of SPOD will allow the Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy (ACSEP) at NUS Business School to develop relevant training and development programmes for the social purpose organisations. Researchers can also benefit from the SPOD by conducting in-depth analysis on these organisations to contribute to the literature on social entrepreneurship and philanthropy from an Asian country’s perspective.

Triggers of and Responses to Workplace Incivility

by Dr Irene Elisabeth De Pater (Department of Management and Organisation)


Incivility is an interactive event where the target, the instigator, and the situation play a role. Research has not yet examined what actually triggers employees to act in an uncivil manner and how targets and witnesses respond to uncivil behaviour. It has been suggested, though, that targets and witnesses of workplace incivility may react with equal or harsher deviant behaviours toward the instigator or others in their environment and that uncivil incidents at work could ultimately result in a spiral of increasingly deviant and aggressive behaviour. However, because uncivil incidents are relatively mild and characterised by the ambiguous intent to harm the target, targets and witnesses may have difficulty making sense of the situation and how to perceive the uncivil incident. Hence, individuals may differ in their perceptions of and reactions to uncivil incidents, depending on their causal attribution of the instigator’s uncivil behaviours. The current study will examine these issues— what triggers workplace incivility, what are the causal attributions targets and witnesses make for instigators’ uncivil behaviour, and how do they actually respond to it.

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