.Ballesteros~[organizational decision making_uncertainty_risk]+[economic consequences_business strategy]

I hold a PhD in Applied Economics and Management from The Wharton School and degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and ITAM. Prior to joining academia, I worked with financial derivatives for two private banks and with policy instruments to finance catastrophic risk for two multilateral agencies.


My research centers on the individual and institutional drivers of organizational decision making and the economic consequences of firm strategy. I am fascinated by what drives organizations to make specific choices in the context of systemic risk and uncertainty–the known or unknown probability of a big shock, such as a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, or a political coup, disrupting the market’s status quo–and the consequences of such decision making for firm performance and social welfare.

Deciding under systemic risk and uncertainty is in the essence of contemporary entrepreneurship and a driver of global competitiveness. According to FEMA, over 40% of businesses do not reopen after being hit by a flood, hurricane, earthquake or other disaster, and these shocks are associated with a mortality rate of 70% of local firms within two years.

What inherent systemic risks does the firm face when expanding to a foreign market? What are the benefits and costs of taking market (e.g., investment in innovations) and non-market strategies (e.g., strategic philanthropy) to manage such risks? How such behavior affects the relationship between the firm and key stakeholders? My research agenda centers on similar questions and the fundamental transformation that the business world is now undergoing in attention given to systemic risk at the global level.

In this spirit, I co-direct GLOB~S, a  platform led by business managers, policymakers, and academics toward science-based evidence on the sources and effects of the risk and uncertainty associated with the internationalization of business.

Current work:

  • Uncertainty shocks and innovation. Exposure to low-probability, high-consequence exogenous shocks reduces risk aversion and exposed firms engage frequently in comparatively risky projects.
  • National disasters and market entry. Major disruptive events, such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters, generate temporal changes in institutional and stakeholder dynamics that mitigate liability of foreignness and facilitate market entry by foreign firms.

Recent findings:

  • Humanitarian aid from local for-profit organizations help countries affected by disasters recover faster and greater than aid from foreign governments, multilateral agencies, and individual charity. http://amj.aom.org/content/60/5/1682.abstract


  • Over 51% of firms supplying public goods in the aftermath of disasters obtain losses than are not explained by market operation. Ballester et al., 2018 Halos or Horns 2 22
  • Company giving via non-profit organizations (such as the Red Cross) is socially inefficient versus having for-profit organizations (firms) implementing their aid directly when firms have a local presence in the disaster-stricken country. (As of 07/15, this study has been conditionally accepted, please ask for a draft).