Assistant Professor of Finance
Darden School of Business, University of Virginia
P.O. Box 6550, Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
Phone: +1 434 924 5856
My research interests are corporate finance and entrepreneurial finance. At Darden, I teach MBA-level Financial Management and Policies.
- Competition and Ownership Structure of Closely-Held Firms, with Jan Bena. Review of Financial Studies (2017) 30(5): 1583-1626
- Board Gender Diversity and Corporate Innovation, with Dale Griffin and Kai Li. Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, forthcoming
- Do Excess Control Rights Benefit Creditors? Evidence from Dual-Class Firms. Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, forthcoming
Minnesota Carlson MIS seminar
Individualism has long been linked to economic growth. Using the COVID-19 pandemic, we show that such a culture can hamper the economy's response to crises, a period with heightened coordination frictions. Exploiting U.S. counties' frontier experience during the 1790-1890 period as exogenous variation in individualism, we show that more individualist counties engage less in social distancing and charitable transfers, two important collective actions during the pandemic. An interquartile increase in individualism offsets 41% of the effect of state lockdowns on social distancing and dampens COVID-related donations by 48%. We confirm the social distancing results at the individual level using de-identified cellular location data and exploiting migrants for identification. The effects of individualism are stronger in counties where social distancing has higher externality (i.e., higher population density and more seniors). Our results replicate at the country level and are not driven by political beliefs or social capital. Overall, this paper suggests that individualism can amplify economic downturns by exacerbating collective action problems precisely when such actions are most valuable.
- Investor Tax Credits and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from U.S. States , with Matthew Denes, Sabrina Howell, Filippo Mezzanotti, and Xinxin Wang
This paper subsumes two prior working papers: Denes, Wang, and Xu (2019) and Howell and Mezzanotti (2019)
Best Paper Award, Mid-Atlantic Research Conference in Finance 2020
AFA, Red Rock Conference, WFA, Finance in the Cloud II, FIRS, ASU Sonoran Winter Finance Conference, Southern California PE Conference, Jackson Hole Finance Group Conference, Young Scholars Finance Consortium, MFA, Northeastern Finance Conference, Mid-Atlantic Research Conference in Finance, Duke/UNC Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Symposium, HEC Paris Entrepreneurship Workshop, 3rd Junior Entrepreneurial Finance and Innovation Workshop
Angel investor tax credits are commonly used around the world to spur entrepreneurship. Exploiting the staggered implementation of these tax credits in 31 U.S. states, we find that while they increase angel investment, marginal investments flow to relatively low-growth firms. Tax credits induce entry by non-professional, inexperienced investors, and are often received by firm insiders. Consistent with these findings, we show that angel tax credits have no significant effect on state-level entrepreneurial activity or on beneficiary firm outcomes relative to failed applicants. Overall, the results raise concerns about whether investor tax credits achieve their stated goal of promoting high-growth entrepreneurship.
13th Annual Northwestern Conference on Innovation Economics, EFA, FIRS, MFA, NFA, 3rd Junior Entrepreneurial Finance and Innovation Workshop
We identify strong cross-border institutions as a driver of the globalization of innovation. Using 67 million patents from over 100 patent offices, we introduce novel measures of innovation diffusion and collaboration. Exploiting staggered bilateral investment treaties as shocks to cross-border property rights and contract enforcement, we show that signatory countries increase technology adoption and sourcing from each other; they also increase R&D collaborations. These interactions result in technological convergence. The effects are particularly strong for process innovation, and for countries that are technological laggards or have weak domestic institutions. The mobility of financial and human capital are the key channels.
- Does Career Risk Inhibit Potential Entrepreneurs? (NBER WP No. 22446), with Joshua Gottlieb and Richard Townsend
Revise & resubmit, Review of Financial Studies
NBER Entrepreneurship, NBER Corporate Finance, AFA, AEA, Southern California PE Conference, MFA
The career risk associated with taking time away from wage employment may prevent individuals from pursuing entrepreneurship, or even from realizing that they would like to pursue it. We use a Canadian reform that extended job-protected leave to one year for women giving birth after a cuto˙ date to ask whether having the ability to take time away from wage employment—while insulated from adverse career consequences—increases entrepreneurship. A regression discontinuity design reveals that longer job-protected leave increases entrepreneurship by 1.9 percentage points. These entrepreneurs start incorporated businesses that hire employees—in industries where experimentation before entry has low costs and high benefits.
AFA, EFA, USC CETAFE, IZA/Kauffman Entrepreneurship Workshop
Can crowdfunding benefit entrepreneurs beyond providing finance? This paper shows that crowdfunding extends early feedback to entrepreneurs about the market demand for their projects, thereby mitigating uncertainty associated with entry. Using Kickstarter data and exploiting a weather-based instrument, I show that more positive feedback (i.e., more initial pledging) from the crowd increases entrepreneurs’ chances to continue and commercialize their projects. The effects are stronger when entrepreneurs face higher uncertainty or when the crowd is more experienced. Consistent with crowdfunding feedback containing real option value, entrepreneurs launch riskier projects when the opportunity cost of crowdfunding increases. A survey of Kickstarter entrepreneurs corroborates these results.