Eric Werker and Aldo Musacchio
From Kenya to Kuwait, Venezuela to Vietnam, up-and-coming emerging or "frontier" economies differ in many dimensions. For almost the last two decades, dozens of countries previously ignored by investors have experienced rapid economic growth and market appreciation-some because of good policies and others simply riding the increase in commodity prices. We have developed a theoretical framework that characterizes each economy along two dimensions: whether the business activity serves the domestic market or the export market; and whether the industry features monopoly rents or hosts many competing firms. We put these two dimensions in a 2x2 matrix to delineate four distinct markets. Describing the business activity in a frontier economy in each of these four markets can help the analyst understand how countries differ from one another; what business-government relations are like in individual countries; and how this political economy of the business landscape might predict future growth-enhancing reforms. It can help the investor figure out the entry strategy required and the type of competition that is likely to occur. It can also help the government understand its own economy, and offer strategies on how to successfully develop the private sector.
We are looking to build a "scorecard" that can convert our theoretical framework into a series of quantifiable metrics that can allow the analyst to compare the business landscapes in different frontier economies using the four-market approach. Students, working closely with us, would help identify or create indicators that capture the strength and size of the four different markets in a frontier economy. They would then gather the data for these proposed indicators and score/map them for each frontier economy. We would work together to refine and calibrate the indicators such that they closest resemble the theoretical intentions of the model. Finally, the students, with our close guidance, would perform statistical analysis on the indicators, comparing them with variables such as economic growth, bureaucratic quality, and stock market performance, to see what empirical regularities result.
Requirements:We are looking for a team of three students who would work closely with us in a lab-like format with daily meetings. The ideal students would have experience living or travelling in a developing country, coursework in macroeconomics and statistics, and comfort in Excel and/or Stata.
Technological advances over the past decade have led to the proliferation of consumer review websites such as Yelp.com, where consumers can share experiences about product quality. With the click of a button, we can now acquire information from countless other consumers about products ranging from restaurants to movies to physicians. My research investigates the way consumers use this information, how this affects markets, and the motivations that drive people to leave reviews. This project will be part of this research agenda, and will use field data from Yelp and other sources. Tasks will include data collection and data analysis.
Requirements:This project is ideal for students who are interested in understanding the types of information people use, as well as the way information may be biased. Some familiarity with Stata is required. The project is a good fit for students considering graduate school in economics, although this is not a requirement.
Francesca Gino, Michael Norton, Leslie John, and Max Bazerman
Our research focuses on judgment and decision making, with applications to organizational and consumer behavior, as well as behavioral economics. The topics we investigate include: ethical decision-making (including cheating and self-deception), team and organizational dynamics and performance, whether money makes people happy, when and why people disclose information, and health behavior.
We investigate these questions primarily with laboratory and field experiments, and your role would be to assist in the entire process — from idea generation to experiment design to data collection and analysis to writing up results. We hold a weekly lab meeting with our doctoral students and research assistants in which members present their current research, and we discuss "random ideas" that we try to turn into research projects.
Requirements:Our lab is ideal for undergraduates who are interested in books such as Predictably Irrational, Nudge, and Blink, and who are interested in attending graduate school in psychology, sociology, organizational behavior, or marketing (though interest in graduate school is not a prerequisite).
Uma R. Karmarkar and Alex Peysakhovich
Nearly every choice, big or small, involves some level of ambiguity or uncertainty about the nature of the outcome. When a trader contemplates the value of a stock, or a hungry individual chooses whether to visit a particular restaurant, their decision process rests on evaluating these uncertain outcomes based on whatever knowledge they can access. Broadly speaking, our project examines how people integrate the information they do have, estimate value, and even experience the outcomes of their choices in uncertain contexts. We draw from disciplines such as psychology, economics, and neuroscience to inform our experimental research. Your role would be to assist in the design, data collection and data analysis for behavioral studies online and in the lab. There may also be the opportunity to assist with experiments involving decision neuroscience methods such as fMRI and/or eye-tracking.
Requirements:This research stream would be ideal for those interested in how people make choices, particularly in marketplace contexts. It can also offer some introduction to the emerging field of decision neuroscience and/or neuroeconomics. Some familiarity with SPSS, Stata, or other statistical packages would be helpful. Coursework or experience in neuroscience would be a huge plus, but is not at all expected. This project is a good fit for students who are considering graduate school in psychology, marketing, and other fields related to judgment and decision-making (though an interest in graduate school is also not a requirement.)
In this research project, we will explore some of the rising competitors in emerging markets that understand how to serve their value conscious customers better than most multinationals. They are masters of managing cost but also delivering value. Examples range from Mediatech in India that provides inexpensive cell phones to Shoemart Corporation in the Philippines that offers everything from real estate to banking to the masses. These firms eschew premium offerings and focus primarily on providing an affordable alternative. For this research project, the student will have to conduct extensive archival research at Baker library to identify some leading examples of such local competitors who are dominating their home markets and even considering overseas expansion. We will then conduct exploratory interviews at those companies to set the stage for more detailed case writing.
Requirements:The project will require archival research skills, good analytics, and a task orientation to get this done.
Global collaborations are on the rise in today's business. The sheer scale and complexity of many of these collaborations, which span more languages, geographies and cultures than ever, require workers to communicate effectively across various contexts using a range of communication modalities if they are to deliver results and meet performance targets. My research examines the challenges of such communication, particularly when operationalized by a standard language such as English and enabled by information technology, both of which shape the effectiveness of global collaboration. By taking an in-depth look at the intrapersonal, interpersonal and intergroup challenges people encounter in global collaborations, I contribute to a nascent field of research. Applying a problem-centered approach, I investigate how these collaboration challenges influence the way workers experience themselves, their collaboration partners and their organizations.
If possible, I would like to request at least two PRIMO students to work on a large-scale global study examining how the implementation of a language strategy at a company's headquarters influences its global work routines across several subsidiaries (Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, France, Germany, US and Brazil) and the global orientation of its workers. The company has only converted the language of its headquarters with plans to expand the conversion across operations globally. Thus far, my current research team and I have collected approximately 300 interviews from employees. A PRIMO student would be ideal to help with systematic data analysis, database building, literature review and possibly additional data collection. Experience is not necessary. I will fully train talented students with strong analytical and writing skills.
A major focus of my research and teaching at the business school is talent and career management including how high achieving professionals build and manage their own individual careers. In one of our studies, we found that there were gender differences in star men and women building their careers. Why this difference?
This very important question inspired the How Star Women Succeed (HSWS) project, and we have interviewed over 250 highly successful women across the globe to better understand how successful women build their careers — with the intent to advance a greater understanding of how women succeed. In addition to HSWS the larger research effort looks at women from undergraduates to successful corporate directors. For each piece of the study, we have collected both quantitative and qualitative data. I am seeking two PRIMO Fellows to contribute to the work on the study this summer. The Fellows will have the opportunity to contribute in important ways by organizing and working with both quantitative and qualitative study data. Possible projects may include, for example, conducting library research and interviews, reading interview transcripts and coding data.
Requirements:In general, an interest and enthusiasm for working with different research methods is desired.
I am interested in so-called inclusive innovation, ways through which products and services can be developed and made amenable for use by the four of the seven billion people in the world who are currently outside the economic mainstream. In a sense, my work is about a private sector led approach to development. This permeates my formal writings in books and articles, and my teaching at HBS and at Harvard College in the Gen.Ed curriculum.
Studies of emerging markets, home to the bulk of the disenfranchised, fall into many categories:
What is missing is the attempt to jump-start new formal sector enterprises, to facilitiate the entry of mainstream talent into the formal economy. To put it concretely, a young university graduate typically does not have the option of starting a new business, given what I call the institutional voids - absence of risk capital in particular - that pervade the economy; this means that they gravitate to established firms, there is a strong incumbency effect, and business groups and state led enterprises often are the engines of growth.
The project in mind addresses this academic lacuna. I want to analyze, quantitatively and qualitatively, samples of new deals, and how they have been put together by angel investors, philanthropic investors, so called impact investors and the like, in Asia, especially India, and also Africa and Latin America. I have access to two or three sets of such data and will amass a few more in the weeks ahead.
Requirements:Analysis will require some data collection, and much analysis, perhaps some visits to investors and maybe to companies if it seems appropriate. Some statistical savvy is very useful as there will be need to learn a statistical package perhaps less standard than Stata
Juan Alcacer and Susan Perkins (MIT)
Are you interested in how global markets evolve? How companies compete with each other in multiple markets? How local governments sell off their assets with the hopes to privatize and build larger, more efficient industries? Our research project team invites Harvard undergraduate students with interests in international business, foreign direct investment and international institutions. Our research explores the global wireless telecommunications industry in over 210 countries. This terrain captures most of the economic movement on the planet. Our team explores a broad range of research questions related to how markets evolve, how firms compete and how firms respond strategically to the institutional environment.
As the global economy expands and private participation increases in global markets, firms will continually be faced with the challenge of learning how to adapt to idiosyncratic institutional environments that differ from their home country institutional norms. The laws, regulatory environments, cultures and governmental structures have differing implications for firms' ability to organize, generate profits, sustain a competitive advantage and compete with their industry peers. Our global wireless telecommunications team agenda addresses the imperatives of understanding these factors of globalization.
The primary roles of a Harvard Primo research assistant will be to:
Shawn Cole and A. Nilesh Fernando (HKS)
Across firms and farms, there is tremendous heterogeneity in productivity around the world. This research project seeks to explore the role of management decisions in explaining this variation, and in particular the possibility that timely, relevant, high-quality advice can dramatically improve productivity decisions. The PRIMO student will work closely with Shawn Cole on two projects. The first is, a mobile-based agricultural extension service, Awaaz Otalo, which has been shown to dramatically improve agricultural decision-making by rural farmers. The second project, still in early stages, will provided customized financial and business consulting to micro- and small-enterprises in India.
Requirements:The right candidate has a outstanding analytic skills, preferably with experience working in Stata or SAS; some economics training; and careful attention to detail. This is a field project, so the candidate should be happy to perform a wide variety of tasks. Strong preference will be given to a student who can spend two weeks in India following the conclusion of the PRIMO program (travel expenses paid) working with our field team to field-test interventions.
Over the past decade, a considerable number of executives of leading firms have been incarcerated following acts of fraud and corporate malfeasance. Immediately prior to these events, many of these executives were celebrated for their leadership. The project seeks to understand the environment surrounding these managers decisions that ultimately led to their downfall.
Student researchers will investigate a particular individual (e.g. CEO, CFO). Background research will include reading media reports as well as primary source research at the law and business school libraries. We will also speak with the former executive (either in person or over the phone).
Requirements:Prospective researchers should have a strong writing background as well as an interest to learn some finance and accounting to undertake this research.
What happens with firms and industries that outsource their activities all over the globe? De-integration of in-house vertical value chains and outsourcing of business functions to external (and often foreign) providers has become a standard practice in high tech industry over the last several decades. Often a highly contested topic in politics, public policy and management, outsourcing spawned a rich stream of academic literature. However, the full long-term effects of outsourcing on firms, industries and industrial clusters operating in a global production system remain relatively unexplored. Without a doubt, outsourcing practices of manufacturing and design work to other countries and gradual decoupling of these two activities have had significant impact on high-tech industry both at home and abroad: absorptive capacities, product and process innovation, workforce skilling/de-skilling were arguably all affected. In addition, the vertical specialization of R&D and increasing modularization of product development led to more transferrable and separable activity chain, further enhancing global distribution of work. While major "outsourcers" can (and often do) suffer loss of high-tech manufacturing ability and impairment of design capacity at their home bases, at the same time they often shift their strategic focus on more high-value added activities like system integration and advanced custom design. In addition, these firms can utilize joint ventures and alliances to compensate for forfeited knowledge that could have been generated from integrated in-house activity chain. If present, inter-firm multi-directional knowledge flow allows complementary innovation to take place, permitting the continuous advancement of the industry as a whole. Also, an elimination of high initial investment as operational requirement (such as integrated semiconductor manufacturing capacity for example) can reduce barriers to entry and introduce Schumpeterian dynamics in otherwise inert industrial segments. Finally, decoupling of products and processes has a potential to reduce organizational inertia and increase rates and quality of product innovation in the industry.
A dynamic evolution of global semiconductor industry presents us with an excellent setting in which we try to answer numerous interesting questions for scientists, managers and policymakers alike: What are the conditions that allow for physical separation of activities in a value chain? How does separation of manufacturing and R&D activities affect innovative capabilities of original integrated firms over time? How does vertical de-integration affect labor force in industrial clusters? How does the subsequent change in barriers to entry affect the entrepreneurship in industrial clusters? How does vertical de-integration affect the industry as a whole? What part of value chain do most valuable innovations come from? How do firms compensate for excessive decentralization in a very dynamic high-tech environment? How does the knowledge flow and how it is allocated between global clusters of production?
To answer these questions we have compiled a unique panel dataset that combines data on international patents and inventor locations, international scientific journal publications and author locations, global manufacturing locations, and industrial and market statistics for semiconductor industry from 1950-2005. Summer work will involve reading academic literature, designing models and performing data analysis and statistical tests for this study.
Requirements:An ideal candidate should be interested in innovation and technology and have basic programming skills (Excel and Stata).
Humans are an incredibly social species. We pay especially close attention to things in our environment that are social and process social information differently than non-social information. However, before we can do any of that, we must first make the critical decision that the thing we areprocessing is social in the first place. My research focuses on how the brain identifies and evaluates other people, and how those evaluations influence the decisions we make. Specific projects will be tailored to the students' interests but all work is heavily experimental and students will be active participants in the entire scientific process, from generating ideas to designing studies to collecting and analyzing data. There are no prerequisites other than an interest in studying social behavior, attention to detail, and enthusiasm.
Online advertising continues to grow rapidly — offering dramatic efficiencies but also sharp increases in complexity and potential abuse.
Online advertising continues to grow rapidly - offering dramatic efficiencies but also sharp increases in complexity and potential abuse. I'm working on a variety of projects in this area, including incentives in affiliate marketing (can a merchant trust its affiliates?), consumer protection (all manner of deceptive offers), and antitrust (implications of Google's dominant market position).
I'll work with participating students to identify specific projects that match individual interests.
Requirements:Applicants with programming skills will find ample opportunities to put them to use, but coding is neither expected nor required.
This project has two parts. In the first part of this research project we will explore some of the fundamental theories of leadership and translate them for a younger audience. The goal here is to make the decades worth of research in businesses schools on leadership relevant to high school and college students. We will first conduct a survey of the vast domain of leadership and then look for accessible ways to communicate some of those principles. We will conduct extensive research to find illustrations, stories, and videos that will effectively communicate key principles of leadership to this audience. In the second part of this project we will explore some of the leading psychometric tools available to assess an individuals leadership potential and conduct an assessment of each of them to identify some of the top tools for various facets of leadership.
How are gender, families, communities and societies affected by the growing representation of women in the market economy? Research on women and work focuses on two extremes: high-earning women who make it to the top of their professions and very poor women with few marketable skills. But many women live and work in ways that fall between these extremes. I am looking for students to work with me on a new project exploring the full range of women and work, beginning with mapping the types of work women engage in across the globe and then interviewing women who work in representative occupations.
My recent studies explore career mobility among women, lawyers, and management consultants at one extreme, and the lives of self-employed garment workers and artisans in India and Rwanda at the other extreme. But women work across a much broader spectrum than I or other scholars have explored to date. The aim of this new project is to present a comprehensive picture of the ways in which gender, families, communities and societies are affected by the growing representation of women in the market economy. I think of this project as the unfolding of a tapestry. Throughout their lives, women around the world weave together strands of gender, work, and life outside work. Within communities, women create the fibers of society through work, involvement in their children's lives, and involvement in their communities. I've begun this project at the macro level, examining global employment data to begin to sketch an outline of women and work across the world. What economic activities do women engage in where? With this information, we can create a global, interactive map of women and work. This requires skills with large data sets and geo-mapping techniques. The next step is to fill in the details through individual life stories. How do women interweave the strands of their lives; how do individual weavings build into a larger tapestry? This will require interviews with women across countries, industries, income levels and life styles.
Requirements:I am seeking 2-4 PRIMO Fellows to contribute to this project. Applicants with quantitative and geo-mapping skills will work on compiling a global representation of women and work. Applicants with interviewing and language skills will interview women we identify together as representative of the global picture. Applicants who are fluent in multiple languages will be given special consideration for the interviewing positions.
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