Research Projects

Research Projects Results (89)


The Rise of Machines and Its Impacts on Work ( 2019 )

Assistant Professor Yam Kai Chi
: Management and Organisation

Robots and automation are transforming the nature of human work. Although human–robot collaborations can create new jobs and increase productivity, the media often warns about the threat of automation: wide-scale replacement of humans with robots and machines, leading to mass unemployment. Although many social commentators see robots as a threat, relatively little research has directly assessed how laypeople react to robots in the workplace. Drawing from cultivation theory, we suggest that employees would generally view the rise of machines negatively. Four studies—including an archival data across 185 metropolitan US areas, two pre-registered experiments conducted in the United States and Singapore, and an experience-sampling study among engineers conducted in India—find that the increasing presence of robots and automation leads to greater job insecurity. Data from the India study also reveals that this robot-related job insecurity, in turn, is positively associated with burnout and workplace incivility. Our findings hold across different cultures and employees, and even in industries not threatened by robots and automation.

Towards a Positive Theory of Regulatory Enforcement ( 2019 )

Assistant Professor Wenjie Xue
: Accounting

This paper develops a theory of regulatory enforcement in which enforcement and investments are jointly determined by economic fundamentals. Enforcement disciplines misreporting of investment outcomes, which reduces reporting biases as well as market discounts, benefiting entrepreneurship. However, a government is unable to commit to any long-term enforcement policy but discretionarily chooses an enforcement level that is positively associated with the market size. As a result, entrepreneurs collectively have incentives to overinvest to induce excessive enforcement as a public good. However, a large market requires them to coordinately invest more. If the economic environment is not conducive to the coordination, the market can be under-sized and under-regulated.

Research Motivation and Technology Commercialization Performance in Universitites ( 2018 )

Professor Wong Poh Kam
: 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 Labor Market Information in Financial Markets ( 2018 )

Assistant Professor Michael Shen Lulu
: 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 ( 2018 )

Assistant Professor Ruan Tianyue
: 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 ( 2018 )

Assistant Professor Gong Jie
: 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 ( 2018 )

Associate Professor Lim Wei Shi
: 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.

Identify Disguised Industrial Pollution in China ( 2018 )

Professor Sumit Agarwal
: Finance

In this project, we study the disguised pollution of industrial firms in China. We find that sulfur dioxide (SO2) readings increase by 15.9 per cent in monitoring stations four hours after sunset, relative to four hours before, in high factory density areas, controlling for station-day and city-hour fixed effects. We also find significantly increased readings for PM2.5 and PM10 in these areas after sunset. Next, using daily hospital visits data, we document that such disguised pollution behaviour has unforeseen health consequences: cumulative exposure to SO2 above 40 𝜇g/m3 for three days increases hospital visits on the entire population’s respiratory diseases by 15.6 per cent. Inspections by the Ministry of Environmental Protection can only temporarily reduce pollution and hospital visits, and local economic growth pressure is likely to encourage disguised pollution.

Learned Young, Done Old? Optimising Learning On-the-job ( 2018 )

Assistant Professor Irene Elisabeth De Pater
: Management and Organisation

Work experiences that are believed to be most conducive to learning and development are challenging job experiences. Challenging job experiences also affect individuals’ affective states and well-being. They may, for instance, elicit eagerness and enthusiasm and foster individuals’ health and well-being. They may also elicit feelings of threat and anxiety and result in emotional exhaustion and burnout. Thus, job challenge is an important work characteristic that may contribute to learning and effective job performance and that may also affect individuals’ well-being and mental health. The literature on job challenge distinguishes two types of challenging job experiences: qualitative challenge and quantitative challenge. Qualitative challenges (e.g., unfamiliar responsibilities, creating change, managing boundaries, dealing with diversity, and level of responsibility) are related to the content of work and enrich jobs. Quantitative challenges are related to increased load of work and intensify work. Although there is abundant empirical evidence showing that both types of challenge predict a broad range of outcomes, they represent different phenomena that may have different consequences. The aim of this research is to develop and test a theoretical model that explores the differential processes through which qualitative and quantitative job challenge affect career and well-being related outcomes for both young and older employees.

A Genome Wide Association Study of Occupational Well-being based on UK Biobank Data ( 2018 )

Associate Professor Song Zhaoli
: 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.