I believe that high-stakes decisions explaining firm performance and competition occur more often in the aftermath of social crises and systemic shocks than in stable conditions. Industries undergo technological change, firms adopt innovations, and consumers modify their willingness to pay for certain goods. Building on this causal intuition, I seek to understand what factors make some decision-makers comparatively efficient to capture and some contexts particularly conducive to generate private benefits and economic value for society at large.

Credit: Tang Yau Hoong

A summary of my dissertation for which I was named SRF Dissertation Scholar:

Economic Reliance to National Markets and the Corporate Provision of Public Goods: Evidence from Corporate Disaster Philanthropy

The central goal of this dissertation is to contribute to the understanding of the determinants of non-market strategy and its consequences for the firm and its stakeholders. I follow an integrative theoretical framework whose cornerstone is the strength of a firm’s economic connection with a country or economic reliance—i.e., the extent to which firms sell, buy, or rent raw materials, final products, or services, or hire human capital to/from a given national market. In three chapters, I offer evidence that economic reliance facilitates the identification of i) firms that are likely to engage in strategic philanthropy that helps restore the market in the aftermath of a disaster—i.e., the provision of cash and in-kind resources aimed at recovering public goods that are key for firm performance, ii) firms that are prone to imitate the non-market behavior of rivals despite significant differences in size, performance, and market share, and be affected by stakeholders’ perceived appropriateness of such behavior, and iii) firms comparatively capable to help countries recover faster and greater from disasters than other entities in society. I coordinated a collaborative project to build the main dataset that covers over 93,000 donations from almost 39,000 firms from 83 countries to 4,637 disasters that affected 176 countries, which I evaluate using novel quasi-experimental methods to increase the identification of causal effects.