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Research that Impacts Business

Browse a collection of articles on the business implications of selected scholarly research.

Olin professors are renowned for their research productivity within their scholarly communities. Their research employs state-of-the-art analytical and empirical methods to address substantive questions. And their research, in turn, informs and invigorates classroom instruction. Learn how research on emerging business challenges can improve your business results; email kittner@wustl.edu, call 314-935-6365, or contact one of Olin's research centers.

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Marketing
NEW
New research shows when a company changes its online game’s rewards schedule and also limits how long people can play, the firm actually makes more money — and people devote a smaller share of their time to gaming.
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Operations
NEW

Invite consumers to pop-up, and pop goes the spending

Authors:

October 4, 2019

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Olin researchers find that inviting potential customers via text message could increase buying with both a pop-up shop retailer and similar product vendors online.
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Strategy
Organizational Behavior
Marketing
NEW

Olin research: Workplace theft is contagious (and strategic)

Authors:

September 25, 2019

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In researching the effect of peer behavior in the workplace, researchers looked at data from 1,049 restaurants from 34 chains over seven years in 46 states.
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Finance
Hindu loan officers who were exposed to Hindu-Muslim riots as children are more likely to lend to Hindus, not Muslims.
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Finance

A higher purpose as ‘arbiter of all business decisions’

Authors:

August 20, 2019

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Businesses can have a higher purpose. More than that, they should, finds research by WashU Olin’s Anjan Thakor and the University of Michigan’s Robert E. Quinn.
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Economics
Medicare Part D is a role model for publicly financed, privately provided social insurance programs. But how efficient is its mechanism for setting government subsidies?
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Organizational Behavior
Dishonest acts diminish a person’s ability to read others’ emotions, researchers found. And the consequences may reach into the workplace.
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Strategy
Inequity “is likely to be a significant problem” — especially for women, according to a new study of self-managed teams.
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Finance
To examine investors’ decision-making, researchers came up with a novel idea for a laboratory: ABC’s reality TV show “Shark Tank.”
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Strategy
A longstanding thread in the academic literature says as companies grow, their R&D returns diminish. Not so fast, says Anne Marie Knott.
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Marketing
While machine learning and artificial intelligence hold hope for greater business efficiency, research hasn't necessarily backed that up—until now.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM80XaZvfqQ
Marketing

Improving choice, maximizing revenue

Authors:

May 6, 2019

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How do online retailers suggest products to shoppers that will maximize revenue? With Chinese online retailer Alibaba, researchers supplemented the shortcomings of modern machine learning with customer choice methodologies from a half-century ago, leading to a 28 percent revenue increase.
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Operations
NEW

Olin research: Could 2018 tariff impact have been foreseen?

Authors:

April 19, 2019

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A new paper from Olin's Panos Kouvelis and Lingxiu Dong begins to create a framework around the complexity of global tariffs as a trade tool.
https://youtu.be/uQSBuiRw42w
Accounting
Finance
NEW

Upbeat Message, Downbeat Market?

Authors:

February 20, 2019

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Researchers extracted positive or negative tone from 380,000 corporate documents and compared that sentiment with stock returns. The resulting index forecasts down markets when managers are overly upbeat.
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Strategy

Why Entrepreneurs Don't Quit Bad Businesses Sooner

Authors:

Oct 17, 2018

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The financial incentives that drive entrepreneurs may blind them to their firm’s prospects. They also tend to react slowly to bad news, but quickly to good news. In contrast, company advisors, with no financial incentives, make better decisions about pulling the plug.
https://youtu.be/TZA1noIcug8
Finance
Economics

Unveiling Effects of Minimum Wage Hikes

Authors:

May 303 2018

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Olin researchers are the first to use a massive set of wage data to uncover previously unrealized nuances in the effects of minimum wage hikes. Employers are more likely to reduce hiring as wages rise, rather than fire workers.
https://youtu.be/4sivt7W4BPY
Operations

Improving Crop Yield With Big Data

Authors:

Apr. 10, 2018

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A farmer’s choice of crop variety has tremendous ROI implications each planting season affecting per-acre yield and the well-being of people in regions with food security issues. A new research framework can aid the decision.
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Organizational Behavior

Three Critical Legs to Top Business Performance

Authors:

Jan. 3, 2018

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The authors provide powerful empirical evidence in support of their three-legged organizational structure theory with metrics demonstrating that organizations with higher delegation, and greater emphasis on performance measurement and rewards report better performance.
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Finance

Asset Prices Depend On Financial Strength of Primary Dealers

Authors:

Nov. 1, 2017

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Financial health of big market players like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan influences their asset price-setting role more than previously known according to new research from Olin Business School.
https://youtu.be/t7d3XxeuI0s
Strategy
Organizational Behavior

Hidden Benefits of Corporate Wellness Programs

Authors:

Aug. 3, 2017

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Researchers found wellness programs boosted employees’ productivity by 15 percent compared to employees who didn’t participate in the program. That figure equals a 76 percent ROI for the company after introducing its wellness program.
Organizational Behavior
Researchers at Olin identify three behaviors that lead entrepreneurs need in order to succeed in the earliest stages of a venture.
https://youtu.be/3sak4CI6XqI
Marketing

Forecasting Customer Behavior

Authors:

April 3, 2017

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Researchers have developed a mathematical model to predict the behavior of newly acquired customers. Marketers will find the that it outperforms existing models and can be applied to any industry that acquires customers over time.
https://youtu.be/ELHmxCYyX2E
Strategy

Is Health Insurance Making Your Firm Sick?

Authors:

Nov. 3, 2016

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By analyzing data from more than 15,000 small firms (500 or fewer employees) in the pre-Affordable Care Act (ACA) time period, this study challenges commonly held beliefs about the impact of employee benefits on the bottom line.
https://youtu.be/emguhknmrYU
Accounting
​The role of the General Counsel in company management has evolved and often moves the legal gatekeeper into the C-suite. For the first time, researcher delve into data to determine how this change is viewed by debt market participants and what effect it may have on a firm’s credit risk. Hint: it’s not positive.
https://youtu.be/0F7tjt-HxIA
Organizational Behavior

How to Remind Employees to Wash Their Hands Hundreds of Times a Day

Authors:

Aug. 16, 2016

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​Motivating hospital workers to wash their hands frequently to meet compliance standards is harder than you think. This study based on a large data base of electronic monitoring programs has unexpected findings in the hospital workplace where disease and the threat of spreading germs are constant. One big takeaway: monitoring alone won’t solve the compliance problem.
https://youtu.be/2ooaztMX1kI
Finance

The Dark Side of Incentive-Based Pay

Authors:

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March 28, 2016

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​​​​A new study based on data culled from the filings of more than 700 of the largest publicly traded firms in the U.S., finds that, on average, firms with executive pay-for-performance packages based on specific EPS targets are probably manipulating their revenue numbers in order to hit the target.​
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Accounting

A Crystal Ball for Borrowers and Lenders

Authors:

January 26, 2016

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If a company has proven it’s good at forecasting its operations, costs, and earnings, it’s a safe bet that it will be able to negotiate favorable debt contracts. Researchers find that the accuracy of a borrower’s management forecasts is a valuable screening tool for lenders, and that borrowers with more accurate forecasts receive lower interest rates.
https://youtu.be/qFVoc8xLU5U
Strategy

The Broken Link Between R&D and GDP Growth

Authors:

Dec. 15, 2015

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Outsourced research and development has zero returns and appears to be a key culprit in the broken link between R&D and GDP growth. Knott proposes how to restore R&D productivity and higher economic growth with evidence from her Research Quotient (RQ) analytics and case studies.
https://youtu.be/GE1Puc1L7Mc
Organizational Behavior

Clues to Creating Productive Teams

Authors:

Dec. 15, 2015

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Why people defer to one another in multidisciplinary teams shapes how effectively teams can leverage the diverse expertise of team members in order to produce innovative outputs.
http://youtu.be/y7qi3nQowZ4
Strategy

The Follower's Dilemma

Authors:
Nicholas S. Argyres | Jackson A. Nickerson | Lydia Bigelow, University of Utah

Oct. 1, 2014

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Innovation shocks shake up industries frequently and leave rival firms scrambling. Find out if your firm is ready to mount a strategic response to future shocks.
http://youtu.be/f_Ume0Zifdo
Organizational Behavior

Don't Sit Through Another Meeting

Authors:

Oct. 1, 2014

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Standing instead of sitting at meetings has several known benefits, but until now, researchers didn't have empirical data to prove it. Using wearable technology, researchers now have empirical evidence that detects advantages to standing versus sitting for more creative and productive meetings.
http://youtu.be/vCHfJZ9Z13s
Accounting

Follow the Money

Authors:
Xiumin Martin | Matthew T. Billett, Indiana University | Chen Chen, University of Auckland | Xin Wang, University of Hong Kong

Oct. 1, 2014

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If division heads don't report accurate numbers to corporate HQ or withhold important information, the firm is at risk. This research identifies a new way to detect an internal imbalance of information that could negatively affect firm value and shareholder confidence. ​​
http://youtu.be/LVGV1yRlihI
Marketing
Operations

Quantity vs. Price Theory Re-visited

Authors:

Oct. 1, 2014

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In a challenge to traditional quantity vs. price competition theory, researchers find that firms don't always follow the same supply chain path as expected. In fact, competitors within certain industry sectors will often choose opposite strategies.​​