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January 1, 2018 to April 1, 2018

Social Science and Technology Seminar Winter 2018

Social Science and Technology Seminar Winter 2018

Seminars take place on Wednesdays 4-5:30pm in the 3rd Floor Conference Room, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Building at 366 Galvez Street unless otherwise noted.

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Seminar organizers:

Chuck Eesley, Associate Professor, Stanford, Management Science & Engineering, Stanford Technology Ventures Program

Abhishek Nagaraj, Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley-Haas

Tim Bresnahan, Professor, Department of Economics

Woody Powell, Professor, Department of Education

January 24, 2017

4:00pm to 5:30pm
The Cost of Research Tools and the Direction of Innovation: Evidence from Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Presenter(s) : 

Florenta Teodoridis (USC)

Joint with Jeff Furman

ABSTRACT: We examine how a change in the cost of access to knowledge influences the direction of inventive activity.  To do this, we leverage an unanticipated and substantial reduction in the cost of motion-sensing research technology that occurred with the introduction and subsequent hacking of the Microsoft Kinect system. To estimate whether this shock induces changes in scientists’ research trajectories, we employ novel measures based on machine learning (topic modeling) techniques as well as traditional measures based on bibliometric indicators of knowledge accumulation. Our analysis demonstrates that the Kinect shock increases the diversity of research of both incumbents and entrants in motion-sensing and that the effect is greater for entrants than for incumbents. Importantly, the increase in diversification of entrants extends to projects that do not directly use motion-sensing suggesting that the reduction in cost acts as a conduit towards unexplored research trajectories. 

February 7, 2017

4:00pm to 5:30pm
Presenter(s) : 

Margarethe Wiersema (UC Irvine)

ABSTRACT: The growing visibility and aggressive tactics by some activist hedge funds raises the question of what determines whether these activist campaigns are successful.  We propose that the reputation of the activist hedge fund is likely to play a role in explaining their success.  Specifically, we investigate and find that activist hedge funds that signal a reputation for being confrontational based on prior proxy fights are more likely to be successful in achieving their intentions in an activist campaign.  In addition, we find that the effect of reputation on activist hedge fund success is greater when the activist hedge is the sole activist in the campaign and when they target firms with high performance.  Our study contributes to our understanding of activist hedge funds by examining how reputation may impact their success or failure.

February 21, 2018

4:00pm to 5:30pm
Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Political Competition: How the Public Sector Helps the Sharing Economy Create Value
Presenter(s) : 

Yong Paik (Olin Business School)
with Sukhun Kang and Robert Seamans

ABSTRACT: With the recent growth of the sharing economy, regulators must frequently strike the right balance between private and public interests to maximize value creation. In this paper, we argue that political competition is a critical ingredient that explains whether cities accommodate or ban ridesharing platforms and that this relationship is moderated in more populous cities and in cities with higher unemployment rates. We empirically test our arguments using archival data covering ridesharing bans in various U.S. cities during the 2011-2015 period. We supplement these data with semi-structured interviews. We find broad support for our arguments while mitigating potential endogeneity concerns. Our study has important implications for the nonmarket strategy, entrepreneurship and innovation, and public-private partnership literatures. In addition, our findings inform policy debates on the sharing economy.

March 7, 2018

4:00pm to 5:30pm
Presenter(s) : 

Henning Piezunka (INSEAD)

ABSTRACT: When organizations crowdsource ideas, they ultimately select only a small share of the ideas that contributors submit for implementation. If contributors submit an idea to the organization for the first time (i.e., newcomers), and the organization does not select the idea, this may negatively affect the newcomers’ relationships with the organization and their willingness to submit ideas to the organization in the future. We suggest that organizations can increase newcomers’ willingness to submit further ideas by providing a thus far understudied form of feedback: rejections. While it may be counterintuitive, we suggest that rejections lead newcomers to bond with the organization. Rejections signal to contributors that the organization is interested both in receiving their ideas and in developing a relationship with them. To test our theory, we examine the crowdsourcing of 70,159 organizations that receive ideas from 1,336,154 contributors. Using text analysis, we examine differences in how rejections are written in order to disentangle the mechanisms through which rejections affect contributors’ willingness to continue to interact with an organization. We find that receiving a rejection has a positive effect on a newcomer’s willingness to submit ideas in the future. The effect is stronger if the rejection includes an explanation and is particularly pronounced if the explanation accompanying the rejection matches the original idea in terms of linguistic style.