Below is a list of published articles and working papers. Feel free to email me to request working papers. Please see my CV for further details.

Published and Accepted Work

Selling Out: The Inauthenticity Discount in the Craft Beer Industry
Management Science, 2017, 63(11): 3930-3943. Download paper

This paper investigates why audiences devalue organizations that behave inauthentically. One explanation is that inauthenticity leads to lower perceptions of product quality. This stems from the audience's doubt of an inauthentic actor's capability and commitment to producing high-quality goods. Another explanation is that audiences discount the symbolic value — or what the good represents — of goods from inauthentic actors. I empirically test each of these mechanisms in the craft beer industry. First, I exploit exogenous variation in consumers' knowledge of craft brewers' inauthentic identity (whether they are owned by a corporate brewer) to empirically demonstrate an inauthenticity discount. Next, I decompose audience evaluations to show that knowledge of a producer's inauthenticity does not have a statistically significant impact on evaluators' sensory experience of the product, but that it does affect audience evaluations of the product's symbolic value.

  1. Media mentions by Associated Press, Business Insider, The Conversation, and The Huffington Post

Leveraging Who You Know by What You Know: Specialists, Generalists, and Returns to Relational Capital (With Heejung Byun and Rajshree Agarwal)
Strategic Management Journal, 2018, 39:1803–1833. Download Paper

This paper investigates the interaction effects of specialization and relational capital on performance. We distinguish between upstream and downstream relational capital and theorize that higher levels of specialization will buffer against decreases in upstream relational capital, because of deeper domain expertise and stronger downstream relational capital. Conversely, higher levels of generalization permit greater gains from increases in upstream relational capital, due to leverage across a more diversified downstream portfolio of activities. We test and find support for these hypotheses in the context of the US lobbying industry. Our study contributes to the strategic human capital literature by isolating the dimension of specialization and relational capital embodied within individuals and providing performance implications of the interactions.

Mobility Constraint Externalities (With Evan Starr and Rajshree Agarwal)
Organization Science, 2019, 30(5): 869-1123. Download paper

Covenants not to compete are often included in employment agreements between firms and employees, justified by each party’s voluntary “freedom to contract.” However, noncompetes may also generate externalities for all individuals in the market, including those who have not signed such agreements. We theorize that enforceable noncompetes increase frictions in the labor market by increasing uncertainty and recruitment costs, and by curtailing entrepreneurship. We find that in state-industry combinations with a higher incidence and enforceability of noncompetes, the unconstrained receive relatively fewer job offers, have reduced mobility, lower wages, and are less satisfied with their jobs. The results offer policymakers a reason to restrict noncompetes beyond axiomatic appeals to a worker’s “freedom of contract” and highlight labor market frictions that may impact firm-level human capital strategies.

  1. Media mentions by Bloomberg, Financial Times, Bloomberg

Working Papers

Intergenerational Transmission of Organizational Misconduct: Evidence from the Chicago Police Department (With Derek Harmon)

This paper investigates how organizational misconduct is perpetuated through intergenerational transmission. We theorize that early exposure to misconduct imprints newcomers with the belief that misconduct is normal, which is then carried by these individuals into managerial positions and passed down to future generations of subordinates. We test this using longitudinal administrative data from the Chicago Police Department from 1980–2017. We exploit the random assignment of applicants to training cohorts to demonstrate that applicants exposed to higher levels of misconduct during their initial training not only engage in more misconduct over their careers (first generation effect), but also increase the misconduct of their subordinates after they become managers years or decades later (second generation effect). Mechanism tests suggest that this intergenerational transmission occurs through both incentive structures (i.e., annual reviews) and social influence (i.e., racial homophily). Taken together, these findings reveal how managers carry the normalization of misconduct from an organization’s past into its future, expanding our understanding of how misconduct in organizations is perpetuated and offering important policy implications for addressing the problem of police misconduct.

The Hidden Cost of Flat Hierarchies on Applicant Pool Diversity: Evidence from Experiments (With Reuben Hurst and Saerom (Ronnie) Lee)

This paper investigates how an organization’s formal hierarchy affects the gender diversity in its applicant pool. One perspective based on theories of gendered organizations suggests that, because women may perceive “flat” organizational structures with few hierarchical levels as egalitarian alternatives to traditional tall hierarchies that reinforce male dominance, these flat structures may disproportionately attract female applicants and thus ameliorate gender inequality and segregation in the workplace. However, we argue that flat hierarchies may reduce the gender diversity in the applicant pool because, compared to men, women will perceive flat hierarchies to offer them fewer career advancement opportunities, to be more difficult for them to fit into, and to saddle them with more work. Using a field experiment with 8,400 job candidates, we show that job postings featuring a flat hierarchy reduce the proportion of interested female candidates by 18% and decrease the share of female applicants by 25%. Our follow-up survey experiment with 9,000 subjects suggests that this decrease in female attraction corresponds with cross-gender differences in perceived career advancement opportunities, fit, and workload. These results imply that the growing trend of flat hierarchies could inadvertently exacerbate workplace inequality and gender segregation.

George Floyd’s Murder and Yelp: Product Reviews as a Compensatory Process (With Siddharth Sharma and Jared Watson)

We examine the impact of George Floyd’s murder on the review frequency and rating valence of Black-owned establishments, as well as on foot traffic to their storefronts. We integrate multiple datasets comprising Yelp reviews, US census demographics, and SafeGraph foot traffic data to demonstrate, using a difference-in-differences design, that Black-owned establishments received an increase in review frequency and rating valence in the wake of George Floyd’s murder but no significant increase in foot traffic. We posit a compensatory effect, whereby consumers chose to use product reviews to alleviate feelings of group-based guilt but do not necessarily increase their patronage of these establishments. Consistent with a compensatory mechanism, we find that the effects on ratings and reviews are short-lived and scale with the White population density in the surrounding area. This pattern of results is explained by integrating theories on group-based guilt, compensatory consumption, and system justification.

Peer Effects of Punishment (With Sarah Gordon and Derek Harmon)

This paper investigates the peer effects of punishment. In contrast to research suggesting that punishment acts as a deterrent to misconduct, we instead argue that punishment may increase the misconduct of the punished individual’s peers. We base our argument on the insight that when an individual is accused of misconduct and guilt is uncertain, their peers will perceive them to be less guilty of wrongdoing than would independent third parties. Thus, peers are likely to perceive even “just” punishments as excessively severe and unjust. In response to this perceived injustice, we argue that peers will engage in retaliatory misconduct. We test this argument using longitudinal data from the Chicago Police Department from 1980 to 2017. To address threats to inference from endogenous peer-group formation, we leverage a random lottery used by the Chicago Police Department to assign applicants to police-academy cohorts. Our findings demonstrate that punishment causes the subsequent misconduct of peers to increase. Consistent with our theory, we find that the effects are short-lived and become stronger as the severity of the punishment increases. Taken together, this study suggests that, rather than deter misconduct, organizations can unintentionally incite misconduct by punishing wrongdoers.

Does Money Corrupt? The Effect of Financial Performance on Organizational Misconduct (with Heejung Byun and Jihyeon Kim)
We investigate whether a firm’s financial performance impacts its likelihood of engaging in misconduct. On one hand, financial success may engender misconduct by spurring hubris, increasing risk tolerance, or inflating expectations and aspirations. On the other hand, increased financial performance may alleviate the financial strains that pressure firms to commit acts of misconduct. In this paper, we use a difference-in-differences design to exploit quasi-random fluctuations in retailers’ performance that result from the sale of large winning lottery tickets to show that increased financial performance reduces corporate misconduct. We find that the effects are larger for independent retailers. We also find that the effects are smaller for “corrupt” retailers (those with a history of misconduct). To identify the causal mechanism, we investigate whether the effects are driven by absolute performance or relative performance. Specifically, we leverage a second shock that temporarily increases the performance of all competitors similarly (only affects absolute performance). We find similar results. Our findings support strain theory, rule-in absolute performance as an operant mechanism, and suggest that increased financial performance may not be sufficient to rehabilitate an already-corrupt firm.