Research

OSU Economics professors gain
international attention for tax cut study

Ariel West
  (September 1, 2017 at 7:49 am)

Dan Rickman (left) and Hongbo Wang (right) used a new technique to study the tax cuts in Kansas and Wisconsin.

Oklahoma State University Economics professors Dan Rickman and Hongbo Wang have been gaining media attention from both national and international sources for their research about recent tax cuts in Kansas and Wisconsin.

Rickman and Wang analyzed the 2011 tax cuts in both Wisconsin and Kansas to determine whether the cuts actually spurred the economic growth that was intended. Using a new analyzing method called the synthetic control method, Rickman and Wang grouped like-states into units to make better comparisons.

“We analyzed Kansas and Wisconsin from 2011 to 2015 by comparing them to states that had similar economies,” Rickman said. “Looking at employment, population, per capita income, poverty, and housing prices, we used this new technique to compare states with similar economies. As a result, we saw that states that cut income taxes performed worse when the claim was that the states would perform better. Government expenditures had to decline. The new businesses never came because businesses didn’t value lower taxes as highly as, say, an educated workforce or good roads.”

Wisconsin Public Television aired an interview with Dan Rickman on July 14, 2017. Rickman was also contacted by Radio France Internationale in June and was interviewed over the phone on air. The Washington Post published the study in June.

Do FOMC actions speak loudly?

Ariel West
  (August 7, 2017 at 8:51 am)

(from left) Professor of finance Tim Krehbiel and associate professor of finance Ali Nejadmalayeri investigate the corporate bond market.

Corporate bond market investors bear the risk that the borrower will not pay them as promised; that’s why corporate bond prices tend to be lower than treasury bonds. But why isn’t corporate bond investor behavior consistent with the old adage that “no news is good news?” when the Federal Open Market Committee announces a plan to stay the course?

Oklahoma State University professor of finance Tim Krehbiel and associate professor of finance Ali Nejadmalayeri, along with co-author Siamak Javadi from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, look into corporate bond investor behavior in their latest research, “Do FOMC Actions Speak Loudly? Evidence from Corporate Bond Credit Spreads.”

“If the Federal Reserve announces the intention to ‘stay the course,’ spreads between corporate and treasury bond prices widen,” Krehbiel said. “If the Federal Reserve announces the intention to either raise or lower rates, the spread between bond market prices narrows, and this is somewhat puzzling behavior. We find that staying the course seems to be unsettling for the corporate bond market.”

Corporate bond investors run a high risk of not being repaid by borrowers, so the nature of monetary policy changes is crucial to corporate bond investors.

This research is to be published in the Review of Finance. To view the article online, visit the SSRN copy.

“Ripping off the Band-Aid:” Firm reputation
and communication management

Ariel West
  (July 27, 2017 at 2:13 pm)

Owen Parker, assistant professor of management

When the going gets tough and the world is against you, research says the best thing to do is get all of the negative out at once.

Oklahoma State University assistant professor of management Owen Parker’s latest research focuses on how firms respond to threats to their reputation. When an organization faces scrutiny from the media, it tends to perform more of the unavoidable negative activities to lessen the blow to its reputation.

“Until now, what we thought is that companies don’t really care that much about what the media thinks or what people are looking at,” Parker says. “But with this paper, we’ve looked at the oil and gas industry and we found that drilling, which is sort of a hazardous activity in the industry, happens when the company is already facing negative scrutiny in the media.”

Parker found that smaller and underperforming companies tend to have to go through compounding the negative attention more frequently than larger companies, since managerial behavior tends to be less organized than a larger, more insulated firm. The major key to Parker’s research is that reputation matters: it’s not just an outcome, but what drives decision-making and perception. Continue Reading

Forecasting stock returns using
fluctuations in trading costs

Ariel West
  (July 12, 2017 at 7:50 am)

Assistant professor of finance Greg Eaton’s research shows the importance of monitoring fluctuations in trading costs.

Have you ever wondered when you should invest or make a trade in your stock?

By using United States equity market-level data from 1926 through 2015, Oklahoma State University assistant professor of finance Greg Eaton nailed down the predictive power of trading costs in his latest research, “Micro(structure) before Macro? The Predictive Power of Aggregate Illiquidity for Stock Returns and Economic Activity,” which was accepted into the prestigious Journal of Financial Economics. Eaton cut out the volatility component from trading cost measures and found that embedded volatility was causing misleading results.

“One important aspect of our study is how we measure trading cost,” Eaton said. “We document that most measures of trading cost mechanically embed a volatility component, and it’s important to extract that component so we make sure that our results are driven by actual trading costs as opposed to volatility in disguise. Making this adjustment does have an important impact on our results. What we find is that the trading costs before we made the adjustment did not forecast stock returns, but once we extracted the embedded volatility component, we found strong evidence that trading costs do forecast future stock returns.” Continue Reading

Explaining low self-employment rates among foreign-born STEM graduates: Why start a business if it doesn’t pay?

Ariel West
  (June 8, 2017 at 2:01 pm)

Economics and Legal Studies associate professor John Winters

According to analysis of the American Community Survey, foreign-born college graduates in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field have much lower self-employment rates compared to foreign graduates of other majors. Why aren’t these technologically and scientifically-minded people starting new companies?

Oklahoma State University associate professor of economics and legal studies John Winters and co-author Zhengyu Cai from Southwestern University of Finance and Economics were also curious, as individuals who immigrate to a developed country are generally thought to be more entrepreneurial. One partial yet important explanation is earning differences between STEM and non-STEM fields: employed STEM graduates make a lot more money.

“Only about eight percent of foreign-born STEM graduates own their own businesses compared to 11.3 percent of foreign non-STEM graduates,” Winters said. “We wanted to try to explain this… so we started by documenting that foreign-born STEM graduates, on average, earn much higher in paid employment than their non-STEM counterparts.” Continue Reading

How does unethical behavior affect us?

Ariel West
  (May 19, 2017 at 10:13 am)

We hear about business scandals all the time, from Wells Fargo creating fake bank accounts to increase profits to Hampton Creek’s inflated sales numbers. But what happens to us morally after we do something wrong?

Oklahoma State University associate professor of management Rebecca Greenbaum with co-authors and former OSU PhD students Julena Bonner, assistant professor at Utah State University, and Matt Quade, assistant professor at Baylor University, investigate the aftermath of unethical behavior on an individual in their latest research.

The article combines emotions theories with previous research to explain the effect unethical behavior has on an individual’s self-image. Greenbaum and her co-authors were interested to see if people fear for their own reputations and discovered that people tend to try to “make up” for their shame by displaying desirable qualities. Continue Reading

OSU associate professor Griffin Pivateau’s
research cited by Supreme Court of Nevada

Ariel West
  (January 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm)

Griffin Pivateau, associate professor of legal studies, OSU Spears School of Business

Let’s put the blue pencil down and be specific: the non-compete agreement is not an agreement at all.

Oklahoma State University’s Griffin Pivateau, associate professor of economics and legal studies in business for the Spears School of Business, was recently cited by the Supreme Court of Nevada. The Court relied heavily on Pivateau’s article, “Putting the Blue Pencil Down: An Argument for Specificity in Noncompete Agreements,” to shape the law of Nevada regarding blue pencil doctrine, where a count finds portions of a contract void but other portions are enforceable. Pivateau’s article argues that permitting courts to alter non-compete agreements, a contract that states an employee will not compete with his or her employer upon leaving employment for a specific period of time, violates public policy. Continue Reading

OSU master’s in business analytics students
gain experience by working with companies

Ariel West
  (January 9, 2017 at 10:02 am)

This article appeared in Discover Spears Research, the quarterly research newsletter released by the Spears School of Business.

Goutam Chakraborty

For more than seven years, Spears School of Business’s marketing professor Goutam Chakraborty has fostered relationships with companies across Oklahoma and beyond through data analytics.

Chakraborty sets up contracts with major companies such as Elevate, OG&E and PennWell and has graduate students research the companies’ desired projects. The student projects are fully funded assistantships that boost the students’ résumés and experience in data extraction, data visualization and modeling.

“I seek out the companies to take on my graduate students and start building relationships with them,” Chakraborty said. “The projects are usually a semester long and focus on whatever the company’s needs are, whether that’s determining customer lifetime value, customer satisfaction, predictive modeling or something else. I meet with the students once a week to see their progress, and then we meet with the company every month or so to make sure we are heading in the right direction.”

Continue Reading

Improve retention, improve lives: Why student retention
is important to society

Ariel West
  (January 5, 2017 at 10:25 am)

This article appeared Discover Spears Research, the quarterly research newsletter released by the Spears School of Business.

Dursun Delen

It’s a common issue all universities share, and it’s an issue that affects the entire United States.

For years, researchers have looked in to what causes students to drop out of college one factor at a time. Is it difficulty adjusting to college life? Does past academic success contribute? Is it a lack of commitment? Per Oklahoma State University’s Dursun Delen, a Regents Professor of management science and information systems, it’s all of the above.

“Past researchers have considered the phenomena of student attrition from a narrow perspective, one factor at a time, but we used data mining techniques to observe all of the factors at once, holistically,” Delen said. “We found that while adjustment issues, academic difficulty and isolation all contribute, the most important factor of attrition is the amount of credit hours completed in comparison to the amount of credit hours the student enrolled in their first semester of college. But, it’s a mixture of social and emotional factors as well. It’s a complex issue.” Continue Reading

The changing U.S. audit market structure and pricing: Is there enough competition?

Ariel West
  (December 15, 2016 at 10:49 am)

This article appeared in Discover Spears Research, the quarterly research newsletter released by the Spears School of Business.

Prior governmental and academic research on the structure of the U.S. audit market suggests either no association between market concentration and audit fees or even a negative association, implying that greater concentration actually results in lower audit fees. However, this finding is opposite of what many would expect.

Brad Lawson, assistant professor of accounting at Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, and another researcher decided to take a closer look into this phenomenon in their research titled “Audit Market Structure and Audit Pricing,” which is forthcoming in the Accounting Horizons journal. What they find is that prior studies did not consider the influence of individual city-level characteristics on the association between concentration and audit fees.

Continue Reading

Gender differences in performance are declining, says research

Ariel West
  (December 15, 2016 at 10:23 am)

This article appeared in Discover Spears Research, the quarterly research newsletter released by the Spears School of Business.

Men are more likely to be managers. Women are more likely to be organized and team-oriented. These are common stereotypes we hear all the time, but are they true?

A hot topic in the workforce has been gender differences in performance. Tom Stone, professor of management at Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, teamed up with Hogan Assessment’s Jeff Foster, Ball State University professor Brian Webster, NEOMA Business School professor Jennifer Harrison, and Illinois State University professor I. M. Jawahar to examine performance ratings gathered by Hogan Assessments, a human resource consulting firm in Tulsa, Okla. The sample included more than 20 years of performance ratings from approximately 3,500 managers and 9,500 non-managerial employees.

Continue Reading

Similarities vs. differences – which
appeals to us more?

Ariel West
  (October 5, 2016 at 4:17 pm)

You’re on a diet and trying to kick potato chips from your snacking habits, so you reach for the kale chips instead. After crunching in to the kale chips, even though they are salty and crunchy just like potato chips, you’re not quite satisfied. Why not?

Oklahoma State University assistant professor of marketing Zachary Arens focuses on the reasons why substituting similar items doesn’t seem to satisfy. In his research titled “Why Focusing on the Similarity of Substitutes Leaves a Lot to be Desired,” published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Arens explains how similarities of substitutes affects desires for the original item.

“Consumers can substitute for a number of reasons,” Arens said. “If something is unavailable or too expensive, they may choose a substitute option. The problem with this is that it sometimes doesn’t work. We find that dissimilar substitutes tend to be more effective than similar substitutes. By focusing on the differences of the substitutes to the original item, the consumer had less of a desire for the original item, whereas when the consumer focused on the similarities between the substitute and the original item due to the substitute not meeting that satisfaction they’re used to.” Continue Reading

Pay disparity and resource value –
are your contributions worth your pay?

Ariel West
  (September 22, 2016 at 7:50 am)
Federico Aime and Aaron Hill

Federico Aime and Aaron Hill

Firms should reward their employees based on the employee’s contributions to the organization. Sounds simple enough, right?

But what if employees don’t know their relative contribution to the firm? This is where pay disparity comes in to play.

Spears School of Business associate professors of management Aaron Hill and Federico Aime’s research, “The Performance Implications of Resource and Pay Dispersion: The Case of Major League Baseball,” dives in to pay and resource disparity using MLB as the sample. Continue Reading

Spears School’s Debra Nelson wins Best Article
in Academy of Management Journal

Ariel West
  (September 21, 2016 at 8:56 am)
Professor of management Debra Nelson

Professor of management Debra Nelson

Oklahoma State University management professor Debra Nelson and her coauthors were honored with Best Article in the Academy of Management Journal for their research paper, “Professional Image Maintenance: How Women Navigate Pregnancy in the Workplace.”

The award is presented to the article that best exemplifies original, insightful, interesting, important, and theoretically bold research. Nelson and her colleagues conducted four studies of pregnant women in the workplace and found that pregnant women actually work harder to maintain their professional images. Continue Reading

Malicious insiders may want to sabotage your business – are you at risk?

Ariel West
  (September 13, 2016 at 8:17 am)
David Biros, associate professor of Management Science and Information Systems

David Biros, associate professor of Management Science and Information Systems

We all know that one employee who’s narcissistic, avoidant and disgruntled, but did you know that one employee could take down an entire company?

The biggest problem in information security for many years has been malicious insider threat. These insiders have the knowledge and the access to organizational resources to easily launch attacks on the host organization, even causing more damaging impact compared to outsiders. Continue Reading

I abuse you, but I can’t help it: Supervisor abuse
and deviant employee behavior explained

Ariel West
  (September 1, 2016 at 10:32 am)
Greenbaum_Rebecca2016

Rebecca Greenbaum, associate professor of management, Oklahoma State University

Have you ever wondered why your boss is acting like a jerk to you? Are you a high-performing deviant in a bottom-line focused workplace? You’re automatically subject to more abuse than your peers, says research.

Oklahoma State University associate professor of management Rebecca Greenbaum’s research, “I Just Can’t Control Myself: A Self-Regulation Perspective on the Abuse of Deviant Employees,” takes a different approach to understanding abusive supervision in the workplace. By considering two perspectives (deviance from subordinates prompting abuse vs. a social exchange of deviance), Greenbaum finds that any supervisor can become abusive, and high-performing deviant employees will take more abuse. Continue Reading

(Rebecca Greenbaum) We Don’t Shun Unethical Coworkers If They’re High Performers

Spears School News Staff
  (June 29, 2016 at 2:55 pm)

Rebecca Greenbaum[Harvard Business Review] Organizations are typically encouraged to take a hard stand against employees’ unethical behaviors. After all, scandals at Enron, Arthur Anderson, and AIG have shown that unethical behaviors can tarnish an organization’s reputation, lead to considerable monetary losses, and even result in legal prosecutions and corporate shutdowns.

(Bryan Hammer) Is mobile phone addiction real? OSU research attempts to find out

Spears School News Staff
  (May 13, 2016 at 4:42 pm)

Photo of Bryan HammerNEWS OK: Are we addicted to our mobile phones? “One of the implications is that individuals can’t consciously regulate their usage once they surpass a certain time limit; thus, addiction can occur,” said Bryan Hammer, Oklahoma State University assistant professor. Continue Reading

(John Winters and Yu Li) The bigger and denser the city you live in, the more unhappy you’re likely to be.

Spears School News Staff
  (May 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm)

Photo of Winters and LiLSE US Centre: Urban living increases employment prospects and consumption opportunities but also exposes individuals to numerous urban problems including high living costs, congestion, pollution, crime, and traffic among others. New research by John Winters and Yu Li examines the overall effects of urban living on happiness in the US as measured by self-reported life satisfaction. Continue Reading

(John Winters) Students Receiving Merit-Based Aid Less Likely to Graduate With a STEM Degree

Shoko Robinson
  (March 8, 2016 at 4:52 pm)

[GoodCall] Merit aid based scholarships are designed to give students a shot at a college education, but interestingly, a byproduct of that help is less interest on the part of recipients pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to researchers at Georgia State University and Oklahoma State University.