Troesh Scholars | Affiliated Researchers

2021 Scholars

Emir Malikov, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Lee Professor of Economics


Abstract: Location matters for production and firm performance. Exogenous locational endowments and institutional environments are key drivers of entrepreneurship and firm efficiency. Most industries are also geographically concentrated, whereby firms tend to spatially cluster benefiting from agglomeration economies. To understand the role of location for production, this project develops a novel semiparametric methodology for estimating production functions and benchmarking firm performance that explicitly accommodates locational heterogeneity in production. I apply this methodology to study locational/spatial effects on the firm’s technology and productivity among the Chinese manufacturing firms in the chemicals industry.

Nicholas Irwin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Economics

Topic: Do fiber networks stimulate entrepreneurial activity? Evidence from fiber expansion and new business starts

Abstract: Despite the enormous economic value generated by broadband expansion, its role in stimulating entrepreneurial activity is severely understudied, especially in a United States context. This project will explore the causal linkages between fiber network expansion – a broadband type – and new business creations using micro-level data on businesses and fiber networks with a novel IV approach to mitigate fiber network endogeneity. This framework will be extended to analyze the differential effects of regulatory burden across states, which have the potential to create synergistic effects or dampen new business formation with respect to fiber expansion.

Hans Rawhouser, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, MET

Topic: Paths to Social Hybridity: A Configurational Approach

Abstract: Relying on concepts from configurational thinking and biology, we use fsQCA of the social impact activities reported by 1483 U.S. ventures certified as B corps from 2007 to 2019 to determine whether multiple distinct types of social hybrids exist. We identify multiple paths for achieving both distinctive and borderline levels of social hybridity. We find that organizations with higher levels of social impact tend to more narrowly focus on few types of social impact, while those that are lowest in social impact are broader in their focus and tend to be late in their pursuit of social hybrid certification. Some behave like a charity, focusing their social impact activities to achieve distinction and differentiation as leaders among hybrids. Others behave like a business, engaging in activities related to several stakeholders, reacting later in the hybridization process. These findings are compatible with biological principles of hybridization complexity, parental dominance, and reproductive advantages among hybrids.

Jin Ouk Choi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering & Construction

Topic: An AI-driven Integrated Monitoring System for a Volumetric Building Module Transportation

Abstract: This proposal proposes to develop an AI-driven integrated monitoring system that assesses vibration/impact, temperature, humidity, wind pressure, and visual cracks for volumetric building module transportation. The developed monitoring system will effectively assess and monitor its impact/damages, and the embedded AI will automatically determine and provide suggestions during module transportation which will help the industry improve modular project performances. If the expected outcome, an AI-driven integrated monitoring system, shows promising results (i.e., automatic abnormalities detection, determination of actions, and alerting humans), with additional user interface (UI) improvements, the system will attract attention from the modular construction industry stakeholders.

Arkur Pareek, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Lee Professor of Finance

Topic: The Accruals Anomalies and Short-Term Investors

Abstract: In this paper, we examine whether accruals anomaly introduced by Sloan (1996) is considerably stronger using quarterly accruals rather than annual accruals, which seems to have disappeared in recent years. Analysis of return predictability conditional on quarterly accruals has received relatively little attention in the academic literature, which is almost exclusively focused on annual accruals. We also examine whether quarterly accruals anomaly is especially strong for stocks held by relatively short-term institutional investors giving only limited attention to the quality of firm earnings as argued by Hirshleifer, Lim and Teoh (2011).

Richard Gardner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, MET

Topic: Impostorism among entrepreneurs

Abstract: Entrepreneurs deal with many challenges as they begin new ventures which can range from acquiring resources to product development. Throughout the entrepreneurial process entrepreneurs may also have to deal with the challenges of their own internal cognitions and sense of self. My research related to this grant proposal investigates how entrepreneurs navigate feelings of impostorism—faulty perceptions of fraudulence by individuals who are typically highly accomplished. Entrepreneurs may feel like impostors despite projecting confidence to several audiences. My research will utilize a qualitative design to uncover impostorism for entrepreneurs and how it may affect the decisions related to entrepreneurship.

Soumya Upadhyay, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Public Health

Topic: Does Patient Engagement through Health IT affect Patient Safety?

Abstract: Patient engagement using health IT functionalities can be a powerful innovative tool in managing their own care for better health outcomes. This study will explore if patient engagement IT functionalities and EHR can affect patient safety outcomes. Using longitudinal study design, we will examine the interaction effects of EHR and patient engagement IT functionalities on patient safety outcomes (adverse incident rate) using a generalized estimating equation. Our national sample will consist of 9,759 hospital-year observations from 2014-2018. Results will develop insights into the potential synergy between a hospital’s existing EHR maturity and patient engagement health IT functionalities in affecting performance.

Yoohwan Kim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Computer Science

Topic: Developing a secure communication scheme for emerging renewable energy systems

Abstract: With a growing interests for renewable energy, customer-owned Distributed Energy Resources (DER) are being deployed rapidly in the US. A typical DER station is composed of rooftop solar panels connected to the grid through a smart inverter. DER devices are equipped with a range of physical and logical communication mechanisms to report performance data and enable grid operator control and monitoring. However, the emerging DER architecture introduces a variety of potential vulnerabilities to various cyber threats as they are connected to the public Internet. In this research, we will investigate the security vulnerabilities of DER systems, and develop devices authentication schemes and secure communicating protocols for DER. In particular, we will study the feasibility of hardware-based device authentication methods with TPM (Trusted Platform Module), develop secure communication method using IPsec-based VPN as well as the associated key management schemes, and investigate an identity management scheme on blockchain that will replace traditional PKI system. The result of this research will contribute to the security of the next generation DER and enable a wider adoption of DER systems. It will also serve as a basis for future grants or collaboration with commercial entity.

Jianzhong Andrew Zhang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, MET

Topic: Political Heterogeneity, Board Independence, and the Cost of Debt

Abstract: Independent directors are a sensible check on CEO power. But board independence is hard to achieve because it could be threatened by intangible connections between directors and top executives, such as the similarity in less discernible individual characteristics. Prior studies find that board and CEO traits affect yield spread and credit rating. We propose to investigate whether and how shared values and belief systems as measured by political alignment between the board and CEO affect bond values. This research has practical implications on how an independent board should be formed to lower the cost of debt financing for innovation investments.

Jianzin Danel Chi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of MS in Quantitative Finance (MSQF) Program

Topic: Transportation Infrastructure and Information in Financial Markets

Abstract: In the age of the Internet, does transportation infrastructure affect information in financial markets? The answer has implications for a wide range of finance topics, including venture capital financing to entrepreneurs. A main empirical challenge is to infer causality of transportation infrastructure on financial markets. We employ the staggered buildout of high-speed rail (HSR) in China as an exogenous shock to firms along HSR lines and find that HSR connections significantly improve the discovery and dissemination of firm-specific information. A severe HSR accident caused by a lightning strike allows us to observe the counterfactuals and further confirm causality.

Scott Abella, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Life Sciences

Topic: Developing Ecologically and Cost-Effective Desert Habitat Rehabilitation Techniques

Abstract: Innovative techniques that successfully rehabilitate damaged desert habitats and that are cost-efficient are needed in a variety of environmental settings, such as for rehabilitating temporary disturbances associated with renewable energy development. End users include private companies and landowners, non-profits, and federal and local agencies. This work proposes to identify the most successful plant materials and to test abiotic habitat structures as surrogates for live plants. Developing these techniques could enhance both ecological effectiveness and lower costs of habitat rehabilitation. The proposed output is a journal article further positioning UNLV to become a leader in this rapidly developing field.

Prashant Modekurthy, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

Topic: Online Energy-Minimizing Scheduling of Parallel Real-Time Tasks

Abstract: Real-time performance and energy efficiency are critical requirements for many embedded systems applications. Typically, these applications have many parallel tasks, where each task can run on multiple cores. To conserve energy, existing works have proposed processor frequency scaling based on tasks’ worst-case execution time (WCET). Although necessary for real-time guarantees, using WCET for energy conservation is limiting since a task usually completes execution significantly before its WCET. On the contrary, this work focuses on developing an online energy-aware real-time execution of parallel tasks, which focuses on scaling frequencies by leveraging on a task’s actual execution time while ensuring real-time guarantees.

Wonyong Oh, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, MET

Topic: Discretionary slack resources and innovation-seeking behavior: The moderating roles of CEO cognition

Abstract: There has been extensive research on the impact of slack resources on a firm’s innovation-seeking behaviors. However, relatively little research paid attention to the psychological aspects of key decision-maker. Therefore, using a panel sample of U.S. manufacturing firms, this study examines whether a CEO’s cognition (i.e., promotion focus, future focus, and aspiration level) plays a moderating role in the relationship between discretionary slack resources and R&D investment. This paper will improve our understanding by explaining a firm’s innovation-seeking behaviors beyond the behavioral theory of the firm with an emphasis on the roles of key decision-maker’s psychological traits.

Brian Hedlund, Ph.D.
Professor, Life Sciences

Topic: A Novel DNA Polymerase for Improved Early Cancer Diagnosis

Abstract: Next-generation DNA sequencing has revolutionized biomedicine by providing a massively parallel, highly quantitative, and widely adaptable toolset for nucleic acid sequence analysis. This technology is the cornerstone for modern molecular diagnostics; however, its sensitivity is limited by the accuracy of DNA polymerase enzymes used for DNA amplification and sequencing. This proposal focuses on the biochemical characterization and evolution of a novel error-correcting DNA polymerase from a thermophilic (heat-loving) virus. The work will lead to foundational knowledge about this new enzyme family and has potential to feed into a multi-billion dollar per year industry by replacing current enzymes.

2020 Inaugural Scholars

Sutirtha Chatterjee, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, MET

Topic: The Idiosyncratic Nature of OSS Innovation: An Interpretive Study.

Abstract: OSS innovation is one of the critical examples of social innovation and entrepreneurship. We conduct a qualitative study within the GNOME community to reveal theoretical insights of how OSS innovation occurs. Our study presents three themes of OSS structures, OSS innovation processes, and the relation between the two. These themes are accompanied by assertions and highlight the findings that OSS communities exhibit structural oscillations which drive the OSS innovation process. The OSS innovation process plays out through shifts between radical and incremental innovations. Further, processual mechanisms such as branching and merging sustain the incremental innovation, while forking sustains radical innovation.

Daniel Chi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Science in Quantitative Finance (MSQF) Program, Finance

Topic: Product Market Competition and Total Liquidity Management. 

Abstract: Product market competition is key to innovation and economic growth, but competition creates pain – some entrepreneurs and businesses succeed, while many others fail. A crucial element for staying in and winning the competition game is ample liquidity. While the literature has provided extensive evidence on cash holdings, there has been little study on how competition affects the use of credit lines or the choice between cash and credit lines. I attempt to fill this void by studying how competition affects total corporate liquidity, defined as the sum of cash holdings and available credit lines.

Richard Gardner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, MET

Topic: A little help from my enemies: Organizational disassociations and related outcomes.

Abstract: Organizations frequently engage in social comparisons with other organizations to achieve strategic benefits and to communicate to their stakeholders “who they are.” Although social comparisons are often positive, many organizations benefit from distancing themselves from other organizations, groups, or individuals. I argue that these distancing efforts of communicating “who we are not” are important in the lives of most organizations. I provide a framework of organizational disassociation and expound on its antecedents and outcomes. I conclude by discussing how scholars can apply the concept of disassociations in their future work.

Han fen Hu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, MET

Topic: Beyond Purchase: Placebo Effect of Electronic Word of Mouth on Task Performance, Learning Outcomes, and Change of Beliefs.

Abstract: This project aims at investigating the potential placebo effect of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), in terms of task performance, learning outcomes, and change of beliefs, as well as understanding the underlying mechanisms via which eWOM induces the placebo effect. Anchoring on the framework of response expectancy theory (Kirsch, 1997) and social learning (Bandura, 1977), this project focuses on the effects of eWOW characteristics (i.e., valence, social tie, and credibility) on users’ behavioral outcomes and changes of beliefs. It also takes into account the situational conditions and verifies the moderating role of cognitive load and message focus in the placebo effect of eWOM.

Emir Malikov, Ph.D.
Lee Professor of Economics

Topic: Scope Economies in the Post-crisis US Banking.

Abstract: The reforms enacted since the financial crisis limit the scale and scope of bank activities. Such policies neglect potential cost savings from operating at a large scale with a more diversified scope of financial services, which must be forgone owing to the new regulations. Large banks may enjoy such efficiency benefits due to their unique position to innovate and expand the scope of offered financial products and thereby lower their cost (“scope economies”) via input complementarities and risk diversification. This project tests for scope economies in the U.S. commercial banks since 2009 along the entire cost distribution via quantile approach.

Ian K. McDonough, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Economics
(with Punarjit Roychowdhury, Ph.D., University of Nottingham)

Topic: The Impact of Labor Regulations on Entrepreneurship: A Heteroskedasticity-Based Instrumental Variables Approach.

Abstract: A sizable body of literature exists examining the relationship between regulations and entrepreneurship with this work suggesting that regulatory stringency is inversely related to regional entrepreneurial activity. However, establishing a causal link in this context is difficult due to the challenge of isolating the direct effect of regulations from a number of institutional factors that may be correlated with both the regulations and entrepreneurship. Using state-level panel data from the U.S. coupled with the identification approach of Lewbel (2012), we explore how labor-related regulatory stringency impacts state-level entrepreneurial activity, both in one’s own state and spatially with respect to neighboring states.

Greg Moody, Ph.D.
Lee Professor of Information Systems, MET

Topic: A Longitudinal Examination of Mobile Security Notifications on Security-Related Behaviors.

Abstract: Mobile security notifications (MSNs) that are “pushed” to mobile apps are widely used to help users cope with security threats. However, the evidence of the effectiveness of MSNs is mixed, especially because users often find them intrusive or annoying, and thus disregard them. Studies on security warnings have been conducted to understand their influence on users’ security coping behaviors; however, more research needs to focus on the negative effects of the intrusive delivery of security warnings. We thus apply the extended parallel process model (EPPM) to identify the mechanisms underlying users’ decisions to follow or disregard MSNs based on both message content and message delivery.

Ankur Pareek, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Finance

Topic: Women in Politics and Donald Trump: The Effect on Diversity on Corporate Boards.

Abstract: In this paper we examine if gender issues highlighted in visible political races change gender biased social norms and impact subsequent women representation on corporate boards. The surprise win for Donald Trump in 2016 Presidential Election is associated with a significant subsequent drop in the growth of women directors on boards of firms headquartered in counties where Trump won. Viable women candidates in US Senate, US House and Gubernatorial elections also significantly impact women board representation. Firms in districts that experience an increase in viable female candidates are associated with a significant increase in the growth of women directors.

Nadia Pomirleanu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, MIB

Topic: I Am, therefore, I sell: Low Salesperson Self-Esteem and Sales Performance.

Abstract: The idea that salespeople sell products to self-verify is new to sales management. Salespeople are trained to put the interests of the sales organization first. Through this study we forward the idea that salespeople sell products to confirm their self-views (i.e. self-verification). Although self-verification provides self-related benefits, its role in sales management is not researched to date. To redress this gap, we examine a dispositional variable, ‘salesperson self-esteem’ and propose that law (vs. high) self-esteem salespeople gravitate towards inferior sales strategies (i.e. lower prices, ineffective objection handling, product portfolio selection) because the choice of these strategies confirm their pessimistic self-views.

Hans Rawhouser, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, MET

Topic: Learning from Entrepreneurial Role Models in Developing Countries.

Abstract: While entrepreneurs can act individually, they largely learn what to do as entrepreneurs from other entrepreneurs who they can observe. In developing countries, entrepreneurs confront a shortage of growth-oriented entrepreneurial peers or role models. We have performed 90 open-ended interviews with growth-oriented entrepreneurs in Central America to understand the workarounds that entrepreneurs employ to overcome the several local contextual factors that interrupt the ability of entrepreneurs to learn from entrepreneurial peers and role models.

Aaron Saiewitz, Ph.D., CPA
Assistant Professor, Accounting
Robyn Raschke, Ph.D.
Professor, Accounting

Topic: Can Artificial Intelligence Detect Biased Client Statements to Improve the Auditor-client Inquiry Process?

Abstract: Prior research identifies extensive limitations in the auditor-client inquiry process. To address these concerns, we are developing an innovative automated inquiry system. In this study, we will demonstrate the evaluative capabilities of the AI-based automated inquiry system. We hypothesize that the system will be able to identify aggressive reporters (i.e., clients who aim to report income as high as possible) versus accurate reporters at a rate greater than chance and greater than human auditors, demonstrating the feasibility of the technology. This study has important practical contribution as audit firms invest heavily in automation to enhance audits of complex global companies.

Andrew Zhang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Finance

Topic: Liquidity Characteristics of Market Anomalies and Institutional Trading. 

Abstract: The long and short legs of stock portfolios formed on market anomalies have different liquidity characteristics. For anomalies with long return-predictive horizons, the long legs tend to be less liquid and have deteriorating liquidity relative to the short legs. Short-horizon anomaly portfolios exhibit an opposite pattern. This is the new finding in the literature. I hypothesize that this liquidity characteristic causes institutional investors’ trading in the right direction of short-horizon anomalies and in the wrong direction of long-horizon anomalies. I also plan to investigate a potentially different impact on market mispricing of liquidity and non-liquidity driven components of institutional trades.