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.
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.
Signals or Shackles: How Patents Affect Inventor Mobility and Entrepreneurship
How do patents affect the mobility and entrepreneurship of inventors? Prior studies support the notion that patents constrain inventors from leaving their employers. But there are both theoretical and empirical reasons to doubt this conjecture. Theoretically, patents should act as signals of inventor quality, thus, increasing the inventor's opportunities to join or start another firm. Empirically, prior work is plagued by sampling, misclassification, or omitted-variable bias. To overcome misclassification and sampling bias that stems from using patent-based measures of mobility, I assemble a novel dataset of matched US patent and Census micro data. This dataset allows me to observe the wages, employers, and demographics of most US inventors between 1995 and 2008. To overcome omitted-variable bias, I instrument the probability of receiving a patent with the historical leniency of quasi-randomly assigned patent examiners. My findings challenge prior work and caution against patent-based measures of mobility by demonstrating that patents increase inventor mobility and entrepreneurship.
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.