• Research Projects

    Schulich researchers continue to successfully secure external funding from Canada’s Federal Tri-council agencies. The Tri-council agencies are the major source of funds for research and scholarship within Canadian academic institutions. Schulich faculty members primarily receive funding from The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

    Previously Funded Projects (2013-2014)

  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

    Luxury Brand Consumption in India: A Culture in Transition
    Principal Investigator: Russell W. Belk
    Co-Investigator: Annamma Joy (UBC, Okanagan)

    India is second only to China in its rapid economic growth and its concomitant embrace
    of luxury brands. According to 2011 projections from The Hindustan Times Mint Luxury Conference, the Indian luxury market will be worth an astonishing $30 billion USD by 2015 (Media Sarkar, 2011). Such rapidly emerging growth has inevitably engendered an enormous cultural transformation within India, with major foreign brands taking centre stage in the country’s collective consumer desires. The goal of our research is to examine the aspirations of India’s rapidly growing middle- and upper-class consumers, and how they perceive the implied narratives of status, style, and identity itself inherent in luxury brand consumption. Through observational study, interviews, and discourse analysis, our ethnographic study will focus on how Indian consumers incorporate “otherness” through luxury fashion, and on how their collective and individual sense of self is constructed and reinvented through luxury brands.

    Syndicate Loans, Loan Sales, and Accounting Discretion
    Principal Investigator: Nadia Massoud

    As the financial intermediation industry (commercial banks, investment banks, etc.) has come under increasing scrutiny following the recent financial crisis, one of the most heated public debates has been about the deterioration in the quality of loans. Concerns have been particularly raised about how financial intermediaries perceive and manage the credit risk associated with their loan portfolios. These concerns are compounded by the recent explosive growth in the loan sale markets. These issues and these new trends raise very important finance and accounting questions, including how excessive usage of both bank and firm managers’ accounting discretion, along with the new wave of using loan sales to transfer the credit risk of loans to outside parties, are responsible for the deteriorating quality of loans. This research program proposes to address this question. A particular focus of the research will be on the link between loan contracting and sales, the corporate governance of borrowing firms, and the accounting behavior of managers of borrowing firms, especially managers that abuse accounting discretion (which includes boosting reported earnings via loan-loss reserves, abnormal accrual usage, smoothing of earnings via accruals, the tendency to avoid negative earnings surprises, cash-flow management, as well as loan loss reserve manipulated by banks).


    Hybrid Organizations in Digital Markets: Building Brand Strength and Organizational Legitimacy

    Principal Investigator: Eileen Fischer
    Co-Investigator: R. Reuber

    The purpose of this grant is to investigate how companies such as Twitter, which operate in digital markets where their technologies are inherently malleable and frequently changing, can create strong brand- and organizational level identities among diverse stakeholders. We plan to focus our attention on new digital market contexts to understand the practices that enable innovative entrants to build legitimacy at the organization level while simultaneously building a powerful brand. Organizational scholars have long studied how new firms acquire legitimacy with stakeholders, but have not considered constraints in this process with respect to brand-building among end users. Marketing scholars have long-studied how firms can build powerful and sustainable product brands, but have paid little attention to the particular challenges facing new firms that are still striving to gain legitimacy. We plan to draw on both bodies of research, and focus on deriving insights from a detailed single case to sharpen gaps in existing theory and generate new constructs and theoretical insights.

    Does Management Earnings Guidance Benefit Shareholders?
    Principal Investigator: Ming Dong

    Many companies provide a preview of their earnings before the scheduled earnings announcement date. Most of such preannouncements are bad news earnings surprises to the market, which lead to negative market reactions. Therefore, why firms voluntarily provide earnings guidance seems to be a puzzle. This research aims to empirically test whether loss aversion helps to explain why firms provide earnings guidance, and whether management earnings guidance benefits stock performance, especially in the case of bad news earnings guidance. For firms with comparable earnings surprises, I will test whether firms that provide earnings guidance ultimately outperform firms that do not pre-announce earnings, and whether the effect of guidance is stronger among firms with uncertain and hard-to-predict earnings patterns such as firms with volatile stock prices and technology firms that invest heavily in R&D. The current literature on management guidance focuses mainly on the accounting aspects such as disclosure quality and analyst forecast accuracy, but the fundamental questions of why firms voluntarily provide earnings guidance and whether earnings guidance benefits shareholders are yet to be answered. I seek to fill the gap by linking management voluntary disclosure to investor psychology.


    CBERN Winter Research Meeting and Webinar Series
    Principal Investigator: Wesley Cragg

    The overall goal of this connection project is to promote cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral dialogue on current research in business and economic ethics in Canada. The specific objectives are to:
    • Support research that incorporates and works to address the critical questions of stakeholders who have an interest in the issues under consideration by academics
    • Make the role of business in producing and discussing business ethics research visible and valuable
    • Facilitate critical engagement on business ethics issues from people working outside academia
    • Develop highly qualified expertise in the field of corporate/business and economic ethics, who can work in multi-disciplinary and multi-sector environments
    • Highlight the importance of extractive industry impacts on business ethics and corporate social responsibility practice, and the benefits of cross-disciplinary and cross-sector research on this topic
    • Build on the expertise of existing networks to mobilize and engage professionals on
    ethics issues

    Other External Grants Other External Grants


    Use of E-Views for Macroeconomic Simulation
    Principal Investigator: John Smithin

    The project will restate, rehabilitate (even reinvent) the fundamental principles of monetary macroeconomics, using advanced numerical (computer) simulation techniques. The results of existing projects in the field, to date, have not been user-friendly, due to the size of the models used, theoretical underpinnings, software, mathematical methods (continuous time versus discrete time) or issues of documentation. These problems can be resolved using the SOLVE application in E-Views to simulate a small macroeconomic model in closed and open economy versions. The closed economy version explores fundamental issues in monetary theory and solves for time paths of growth, inflation, the aggregate profit mark-up, average after-tax real wages and the real prime interest rate. The open economy variant is orientated to practical policy analysis and also solves for the real exchange rate and foreign debt position. Multi-stage techniques can replicate the behavior of real world historical cases. The empirical method is “abduction” (rather than induction or deduction) and is not reliant on conventional statistical probability theory.


    The Impact of Management Control Systems Across Three Sectors
    Principal Investigator: Linda Thorne
    Co-Investigators: K. Fiolleau, and T. Libby

    Traditional management control systems have been developed in for-profit organizations, and increasingly have been applied to other organizational sectors, non-profit (NFP) and public enterprises, with little consideration or regard for the appropriateness of their application. Our project proposes to investigate the effectiveness of management control systems across the for-profit, NFP and public sectors. The first step in our proposed project involves in-depth interviews with key managers of NFP and public sector organizations to better understand what is working well and not so well in practice. The second step, based on the results of the interviews, is to develop an informative large scale online survey of managers with authority to enact management control systems across the three sectors. We will analyze this data to understand the similarities and differences in effective and ineffective control structures across the three sectors. This understanding will allow us to expand our practical and theoretical understanding of the mechanisms and appropriateness of effective control systems.


    Research on Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities
    Principal Investigator: Melanie Cao

    This project is partnered with Dominion Bond Rating Service Ltd. (DBRS), a privately owned Canadian company that provides timely credit rating opinions for a broad range of financial institutions, corporate entities, government bodies and various structured finance products worldwide. In addition, DBRS provides Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) investors and stakeholders with detailed surveillance reports, in-depth rating reports, industry studies, and DBRS commentaries.
    There are two objectives of this project. The first one is to create a new CMBS market index. To do so, we will examine the relationship between loss severity and demographic statistics for Europe (Germany, UK, France, and Spain), the US and Canada, and identify new factors that can be incorporated into the existing CMBS rating model, which will also help create a new CMBS market index. The second objective is to provide an interactive mobile application to CMBS market stakeholders.

    Financial Service Applications
    Principal Investigator: Melanie Cao

    This project is partnered with Dominion Bond Rating Service Ltd. (DBRS) as well. There are two objectives: 1) to create a Web subscriptions services to allow DBRS’ clients to gain access to its research and ratings through its website; and 2) to create a new service called RatingsNow, which provides data feed for its DBRS debt ratings.


    The Impact of Management Control Systems Across Three Sectors
    Principal Investigator: Moshe Milevsky

    The specific issues being investigated will be:

    1. Given a choice between a tontine and annuity, what are the conditions under which a lifecycle utility maximizer would select one over the other? How does health status affect this choice?
    2. What is the structure of the tontine payout function that maximizes the utility to the
      individual? Does longevity risk aversion and subjective discount rates affect the optimal payout function?
    3. Is it possible to correlate theoretical (model) factors that affect the decision, to the characteristics of the wealthy individuals who participated in the British tontine of 1693?
    4. Is there a justification for individuals to hold a mixture of tontines (that share longevity risk fully) and conventional (expensive) life annuities in the optimal product allocation?
    5. Finally, can one argue (convincingly) that tontines should be re-introduced to help mitigate the concern over aggregate longevity risk and the risk profile of the insurance company?


    Proposed Network: Canadian Business Ethics Research Network
    Principal Investigator: Wesley Cragg

    This project will address the ethical challenges faced by Canadian companies, business leaders and their stakeholders in today’s global economy through research and the transfer of new knowledge beyond the academy to industry and the policy community. The proposed NCE has developed out of a long-term collaboration between York University and our CBERN project partners, with a demonstrated track record in research and knowledge-transfer activities. In 2006, CBERN was launched with a $2.1-million SSHRC cluster grant with the goal of networking a rich but fragmented national pool of research talent. CBERN’s evolution through the proposed NCE will create economic efficiencies and social benefit to the Canadian landscape through its research program.