Conference Archive

Presentation Abstracts: 2016

 

Accounting and Taxation

State Income Tax and Resulting Migration
Dorina Cipollone – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
There is no question of the Baby Boomer’s positive economic impact to New York State. The longevity economy, or the “sum of all economic activity in New York that is supported by the consumer spending of households headed by someone age 50 or older,” contributes to the state’s economy in an outsized proportion compared to its percent of the population (33%). Nearly all of New York regions have at least 30% of the population contributing to the longevity economy. Currently approximately 34.2% of the New York population is over 50, and that percentage is expected to increase to 35.4% by 2040. Together, the workers within the longevity economy contribute $600 billion annually. The AARP cites that the workers support 53% of the state’s jobs, 48% of state employee compensation, and 44% of all state taxes ($64 billion).
The current longevity economy is largely supported by the work of the Baby Boomers, or the “cohort born during the post-World War II baby boom in the United States”. They contribute $179 billion annually to the New York economy. However, “60% of working Boomers could be headed out of state, carrying with them over $105 billion annually”. AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, has coined the term “Boomer Flight.” Reasons for their migration range from pursuit of a milder climate to movement of family members’ jobs, but the most pressing and under cited reason is pursuit of a friendlier tax climate. While the problem of high New York State income taxes and the migration patterns within the United States have both been studied, the research has not been linked. Is the New York State income tax system incentivizing retirees to move out of state? To answer this question, migration patterns between states before and after the 1996 federal law PL 104-95 that abolished Source Tax must be analyzed. Based on the economic impact of the longevity economy and the Baby Boomers, the answer to that question could have a pivotal, catastrophic effect on the future health of the New York State economy.
Creating a Charitable Deduction for the Fair Market Value of Athletes' Services
Danielle DiGrazia – Fordham University – Gabelli School of BusinessThis proposal will be in favor of the creation of a federal income tax deduction that athletes may claim for the value of the services they provide to qualified charitable organizations.  An objective of this policy paper is to present the current tax law as well as the rationale that allows charitable deductions for cash and the fair market value of certain property. Charitable services are not deductible under the current tax law; however, they can be instrumental to a charity’s mission.  For example, the Make-A-Wish Foundation relies on services of athletes and celebrities to “grant wishes” to children with life-threatening conditions. While services are not taxed on imputed income and are not deductible, donations of appreciated property are not taxed on built-in capital gains but are fully deductible.  The main argument of this proposal is that charitable services should be deductible at their fair market value because donations of most appreciated property are deductible at fair market value.  Previous law research argues for a charitable deduction of pro bono services, which are professional services provided voluntarily, but this proposal will focus on athletes’ services that are given absent a professional obligation to do so and that disregard their skill sets in practice.  Because the fair market value of an athlete’s personal services is not as objectively observable as in the case of most property, this paper will propose determining the fair market value of her paid endorsement deals, which place a value on her personal appearances at the endorsed brand’s corporate events.  An implication of this research is to show that an individual’s time and services can be as valuable as donations of cash and property, and the tax law should take this into consideration through the charitable deduction to continue encouraging charitable behavior. 
Tech Bubble 2.0: Uncovering the Relationship Between Traditional Accounting Metrics and Stock Valuation

Billy Diakogeorgios and Thomas Fink – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business

This paper seeks to answer whether there is a current bubble in technology stocks using the dot-com bubble of the early 2000’s as guidance. Recent sky-high valuations of both private and public technology firms like Snapchat, Uber, Netflix, Groupon and Yelp, have raised awareness over the roles of valuation metrics and venture capital in technology firms. We hypothesize that the current tech sector is experiencing bubble-like behavior in the extremely high valuations of companies like Yelp, with P/E’s in the hundreds, and in the continued use of “users,” “eyeballs,” and “subscribers” in valuing software firms like Twitter. However, we note there are several key differences from the previous software bubble. On the one hand, studies have shown that the majority of capital in the tech sector today is changing hands privately. Data suggests that there are significantly higher numbers of American venture-capital backed private firms worth $1 billion or more than in 2000. Moreover, large tech firms like Google and Amazon are investing large amounts of capital on property, equipment and people, whereas they would have spent it on mergers and acquisitions in 2000. Today’s financial excess, therefore, is hidden partly out-of-sight. To test the public side of tech-valuations we will select a sample of publicly-traded tech companies using SIC codes in the Compustat database. Using CompuStat, we will obtain a hypothetical market value of equity (MVE) for each company and perform analysis using the following equation (Core et. al, 2003). Using regression analysis, we may determine whether valuations are straying from the traditional accounting variables.

MVE=α0 + α1(BVE) + α2(NI) + α3(NEG_NI) + α4(RND) + α5(ADVERT) + α6(CAP_EX) +  α7(SALES_GR) + ε

The literature shows that in the years leading up to the 2000 technology bubble, the relationship between traditional accounting metrics and market value of equity for these stocks weakened considerably. After the bubble burst and the market collapsed the relationship grew stronger, indicating a return to traditional accounting metrics. Our statistical analysis attempts to continue this study for 2004-2015.

Political Influences in U.S. Accounting Standard Setting

Kara Norton – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
In the United States, accounting standards—known as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)—are set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). The standards are intended to create the most objective and accurate representation of a company’s financial position, and as such are intended to be independent of politics. Political influences could induce FASB to set standards that are less accurate representations of the true position of a company, because those standards would lead companies to report reduced earnings, higher liabilities, etc. I’m interested in studying how political pressure is put on FASB and the SEC, the governmental organization that delegates accounting standard settings to FASB. Past FASB chair-people have explicitly stated that the accounting standard setting process is not apolitical, though it is intended to be free of such influences. I define political influence to have taken place when Congress is involved, whether with legislation introduced or hearings.
As the normal FASB process of standard setting includes many periods of time and opportunities for industry professionals and observers to comment and give feedback, it is clear that these organizations do not have to resort to lobbying and law simply to make their voices hear. Instead, these organizations do not respect the supposedly objective process and turn instead to the media, lobbying, and even Congress to get their way. I plan to study specific decisions. First I will explain the role of FASB and establishing its intended purpose and objectivity, following with up to an example of fairly objective and apolitical standard changes, to establish a baseline for comparison. Finally, the bulk of the analysis will be done with examples of rule changes that caused companies and politicians to turn to means beyond the established FASB commentary process to affect change in the standards. By studying empirical data and changes in the FASB standard from proposal drafts to final standards, I will demonstrate the effect that political lobbying has on the U.S. accounting standards, that indeed there is an effect.

Corporate Governance

The Impact of Female Risk Aversion on Environmental, Social, and Governance Disclosure
Leona Lam – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
Women and c-suite or corporate board inclusion has been discussed in both the public and private sectors recently resulting in legislation and strategic corporate initiatives to promote female representation. Female executives tend to have higher risk aversion and may choose to make more conservative projections, to make fewer acquisitions and divestments, or to adopt fewer risky tax shelters. These decisions have both short term and long term impacts on companies’ financial reporting. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing has also been widely discussed and has grown tremendously from slightly more than $500 billion to over $6.5 trillion assets under management subject to sustainable investment strategies. This study examines the impact of female risk aversion on ESG disclosure. Using over 1300 observations from Bloomberg, ExecuComp, and Compstat, this study analyzes the relationships among ESG disclosure, chief executive officer and chief financial officer gender, and other financial performance measures such as revenue, gross profit, and net income. The conclusions will be drawn from Pearson correlations, t-tests, and ordinary least squares regressions. There will be multiple regressions that segregate the data by industry and that remove the impact of the recent financial crisis. My analysis should show that increased risk aversion of a company can be attributed to the hiring of a female chief executive officer and/or chief financial officer based on increased ESG disclosure. Overall, increased transparency through enhanced ESG disclosure under the leadership of female executives is beneficial for companies’ corporate social responsibility initiatives, is viewed favorably in the investing community, and encourages increased female representation in c-suites and on corporate boards.
CEO Risk Taking: Does Generation Matter?
Tahseen Hasan – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
Studies have shown that there are inherent characteristic differences between people belonging to Baby Boomers (Boomers), Generation X (Gen-X) and Generation Y (Gen-Y). Moreover, there is extensive research available on how riskiness of corporate decision-making policies among CEOs vary across age. Merging these topics together, this paper will explore whether CEOs belonging to different generations (Boomers, Gen-X and Gen-Y) have inherently different characteristics with respect to their risk taking preferences. This paper studies whether there is a negative correlation between the generational group of CEOs and the level of financial risk they undertake, as a result of their inherent generational differences in characteristics (i.e., older generations will take lower risks). In order to test the hypothesis, regression analyses will be performed to test for Innovation (research and development and number of patents / citations), stock return volatility, mergers and acquisitions, firm diversification and operating leverage. The goal is to find a correlation between generational group and the differences in riskiness in their financial policies. This research will contribute to literature on the inherent difference in characteristics between Boomers, Gen-X, Gen-Y, by using CEO characteristics to represent their respective generations. This will also highlight and narrow down corporate policies and risk taking preferences among large, identifiable groups of CEOs, who typically have a significant impact on of the future of their respective companies.

Ethics and Equality

Income Gap and Productivity in the United States
Megan Collier and Troy Feldman – Clarkson University
In this paper, we use a new and improved dataset to examine the effects of income inequality and productivity in the United States. We input our cross-state level data into our fixed effects model. In this model we removed factors that are fixed to individual states, in order to more thoroughly understand how inequality effects the United States. Results show that inequality is actually harmful for productivity growth, and the negative effect is statistically significant.
Privatization of Eminent Domain: The Misconstruing of Eminent Domain's Ethical Underpinnings
Federico Giustini – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
This paper is centered on the ethical and legal distortion that came about with the privatization of eminent domain. The paper will discuss how the privatization of eminent domain has distorted the ethical underpinnings that this state power was originally founded upon. The paper shines a critical light on the modern application of eminent domain by showing how the collectivist accounts of property rights, the original justification of eminent domain, have been broadly interpreted to favor private interests over public ones. The paper will begin by presenting the background facts on when the Fifth Amendment Taking Clause began to be interpreted to favor private developers, culminating in 2005 with the controversial Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London. The paper then analyzes the two moral arguments, based on individual rights vs the rights of the community, and argues that the latter argumentation can be used to justify the use of eminent domain. After examining how the ethical theories of property rights within a community have been used to justify the use of eminent domain, the author will make the claim that this justification has been unfairly implemented by the government to favor private interests. Four modern cases will be highlighted to show how this original ethical justification of eminent domain and its “public use” constraint has been supplemented by a much broader “public purpose” standard, in order to pursue economic betterment. The paper aims to show that the misconstruing of the original ethical justification of eminent domain has developed into a trend of private business leveraging their ability for economic development, in order to abuse this state power to pursue their own interests.
The Effect of Public Expenditures on the Poor on Microfinance Institution Performance
James Kodi – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
Microfinance has been touted as a “weapon against poverty and hunger,” and plays a large part in applications of economic development, by providing low-income individuals (mainly women) with access to credit. With roots in Bangladesh, microfinance institutions have now sprung up in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the broader Asian continent. Whether MFIs perform well depends on various institutional, organizational, and macroeconomic factors. Microfinance institutions are unique among financial institutions in their dual mandate: achieving financial and operational profitability (sustainability), and reaching the greatest number of borrowers (outreach). Microfinance research has focused on understanding and parsing the effects of various factors on these two performance measures. This paper will utilize data from the Microfinance Information Exchange as well as social spending data from various inter-governmental sources to explore the role of government public expenditures, especially on the poor, on microfinance institutions’ levels of outreach and financial sustainability in various countries. It aims to do so by correlating a time series of government expenditures on health and education, the most impactful on the poor, against operational sustainability and borrower data. The hypothesis is that such expenditures will be positively correlated with positive microfinance performance. In doing so, this paper aims to contribute to the research of the political and macroeconomic effects on microfinance performance, incorporating theories from development economies on the efficacy of pro-poor government expenditures on poverty alleviation and economic growth.  Microfinance is often considered a pillar of economic development; understanding the relationship between government policies and MFI performance will help determine the broader factors that need to be in place for microfinance to truly alleviate poverty. 
Addressing Peru's Child Labor Problem

Alisha Mehndiratta – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business

Around the world, children are not receiving the quality of life they deserve in the modern 21st century, continuing to suffer from poverty, hunger, and curable illnesses. Perhaps the greatest evil of all is that millions of children are still being deprived of an education, the one tool that could help them climb out of the poverty cycle. 168 million children worldwide engage in child labor, making up a substantial 8.8% of the world population. While virtually all governments condemn child labor and understand the importance of providing an education for the youth, eradicating child labor is not as simple as a single piece of legislation banning the practice. The majority of children work to keep their households from drowning in poverty; some even work to pay for their own schooling. Banning child labor outright is naive because of the crushing effect it would undoubtedly have on affected families. Moreover, effectively enforcing an outright ban is infeasible. Governments instead have to understand the root causes of child labor in their respective countries to then enact policy that addresses each of the challenges individually. Households must be coaxed out of the practice by convincing them that a better life lies in the alternative. While poverty is of course a general root cause of child labor, a deeper study reveals that the specific drivers that lead families to make the choice between child labor and education are much more nuanced, and they are unique to each society. This paper focuses on Peru, which is plagued by the highest child labor rate in all of Latin America: a staggering 34%. The goal is to conclude with policy recommendations for the Peruvian government that are tailored to the specific needs of the country’s people. Our research starts with a discussion about the general determinants of child labor, as they have been discovered and written about by organizations studying cases all over the world. We then narrow our analysis to Peru, and outline our understanding of the primary drivers faced by the Peruvian population. Finally, we take a look at the variety of policies addressing child labor that have been implemented by governments in the past, and attempt to use this information combined with our knowledge of the unique challenges in Peru to build a set of strategies for the Peruvian government to follow.

Finance

Regulating Money Market Mutual Funds
Noelle Brennan – Fordham University – Gabelli School of BusinessThe aim of this paper is to increase understanding about the risk profile and regulation of money market mutual funds in the United States in light of the 2014 amendments to Investment Company Act Rule 2a-7. The role of money market funds in the financial system is first examined within the shadow banking framework, due to money market funds’ shadow bank classification. Additionally, money market funds are discussed in terms of their connectedness with traditional banking activities. Next, this paper delves into the investment objectives, various holdings, and market performances of money market funds over their history with particular emphasis on the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Several case studies are employed to track money market fund resiliency after the enactment of the 2010 amendments to Investment Company Act Rule 2a-7, including Eurozone instability in 2011 and U.S. debt ceiling impasses of 2011 and 2013. This paper then discusses the impact that the 2010 reforms may have had in 2008 if they had been applied and assesses the need for additional regulation. After providing a summary of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s 2014 amendments to Rule 2a-7, this paper draws arguments from regulators and economists to determine the efficacy of the reforms in increasing fund resiliency and adding greater stability to the financial system. This paper finds that the additional requirements on specific money market funds regarding changes from fixed to floating net asset value and the imposition of liquidity gates and redemption fees could pose threats to the financial system. 
Contango & Normal Backwardation in VIX Exchanged Traded Funds
James Deleener – Saint Joseph’s University
In recent years, index specific funds that utilize forward and futures contracts have been subjected to extreme price movements due to contango and normal backwardation in spot & future pricing. Using data available through numerous trading platforms such as Bloomberg Terminal, FactSet, & Morningstar, this study looked to identify a potential investing strategy that would utilize these exchanged traded funds for speculative purposes. Beginning in 2009, ETF’s that track the overall volatility of the stock market by using VIX short-term futures contracts were shown to generate significant gains and losses relative to the overall market. For example, a long call strategy in VelocityShares Daily Inverse VIX Short-Term ETN revealed gains in excess of 675% (stock ticker: XIV) over a four year span dating back to 2011. It was visible that the fund was in normal backwardation due to the fact that the futures price was below the expected future spot price on a month-to-month basis. On the other spectrum, a short-sell strategy in ProShares Trust Ultra VIX Short Term Futures ETF (stock ticker: UVXY) generated a return of more than 99% dating back to 2013. This exchanged traded fund was in contango, (opposite of normal backwardation) meaning that the futures price was above the expected future spot price on a month-to-month basis. Before making any conclusions, many factors needed to be examined outside of unrealized gains – including default risk, bid-ask spreads, and minimum daily volume. Even with the risks associated from a VIX exchanged traded fund, a purely speculative strategy has appeared to generate an abnormal rate of return compared to the overall market. However, many investors are unaware of these distinct funds due to the fact that they leveraged products specifically designed for large financial institutions as hedging tools.
Algorithmic Trading for the Retail Investor
Seve De Respino – Fordham University – Gabelli School of BusinessDue to developing technology, algorithmic trading has become significantly more accessible to the retail investor. As a result, this paper examines the usefulness of algorithmic trading for a typical retail investor. In order to do this, a simple algorithm was designed and back tested subject to restraints a typical retail investor might have. In this case, a simple momentum strategy using 50 day and 200 day moving averages was devised. This was applied with the challenges faced by a retail investor in mind. As a result, large blue chip companies that are widely recognized and understood were the subject of the algorithm. The results were compared to buy and hold investing as well as empirical data about how retail investors perform. The results reaffirm that active trading does not perform as well as buy and hold investing. However, there is some potential for algorithmic investing to improve results compared to the empirical data about how retail investors perform. By making automated decisions, algorithmic trading removes the behavioral fallacies described by behavioral finance and allow the retail investor to potential enjoy better returns than purely actively trading.
Tech Bubble 2.0: Uncovering the Relationship Between Traditional Accounting Metrics and Stock Valuation
Billy Diakogeorgios and Thomas Fink – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
This paper seeks to answer whether there is a current bubble in technology stocks using the dot-com bubble of the early 2000’s as guidance. Recent sky-high valuations of both private and public technology firms like Snapchat, Uber, Netflix, Groupon and Yelp, have raised awareness over the roles of valuation metrics and venture capital in technology firms. We hypothesize that the current tech sector is experiencing bubble-like behavior in the extremely high valuations of companies like Yelp, with P/E’s in the hundreds, and in the continued use of “users,” “eyeballs,” and “subscribers” in valuing software firms like Twitter. However, we note there are several key differences from the previous software bubble. On the one hand, studies have shown that the majority of capital in the tech sector today is changing hands privately. Data suggests that there are significantly higher numbers of American venture-capital backed private firms worth $1 billion or more than in 2000. Moreover, large tech firms like Google and Amazon are investing large amounts of capital on property, equipment and people, whereas they would have spent it on mergers and acquisitions in 2000. Today’s financial excess, therefore, is hidden partly out-of-sight. To test the public side of tech-valuations we will select a sample of publicly-traded tech companies using SIC codes in the Compustat database. Using CompuStat, we will obtain a hypothetical market value of equity (MVE) for each company and perform analysis using the following equation (Core et. al, 2003). Using regression analysis, we may determine whether valuations are straying from the traditional accounting variables.
MVE=α0 + α1(BVE) + α2(NI) + α3(NEG_NI) + α4(RND) + α5(ADVERT) + α6(CAP_EX) + α7(SALES_GR) + ε
The literature shows that in the years leading up to the 2000 technology bubble, the relationship between traditional accounting metrics and market value of equity for these stocks weakened considerably. After the bubble burst and the market collapsed the relationship grew stronger, indicating a return to traditional accounting metrics. Our statistical analysis attempts to continue this study for 2004-2015.
The Effects of CCAR and Stress Testing on U.S. Banking
Nicholas Scover – Fordham University – Gabelli School of BusinessThe Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has been the most wide reaching legislation for the banking world since the Great Depression.  A significant part of the law includes the annual exercises now carried out by the Federal Reserve known as Dodd-Frank Act Stress Testing (DFAST) and Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR).  The two complement one another in that DFAST lays out the scenarios for firms to model their capital against, while CCAR takes the results of the tests and reviews the proposed capital plans for the firms in question.  These annual exams are part of a slew of new regulation as the banking world enters a new age of oversight.  The goal of this paper is to analyze the changes that banks have had to make and are making to respond to the regulations.  This analysis will include gaining an understanding of what DFAST and CCAR are, and how they are affecting financial firms.  This paper will also touch on related pieces of Dodd-Frank such as the systemically important financial institution designation (SIFI).  A conclusion will then be drawn on how these regulations have impacted a bank’s ability to do business and where regulation should go from here.
Living Outside the System: Increasing Financial Inclusion for Unbanked and Underbanked Americans
Sean Sullivan – Fordham University – Gabelli School of BusinessCreating a sustainable financial institution that caters to the needs of America’s low and middle income individuals (LMI) has proved virtually impossible in the country’s 239 year history. Despite attempts by countless philanthropists and entrepreneurs, LMI in America who are attempting to pay off everyday expenses still lack access to reliable lines of credit. Though current methods do exist for LMI to secure consumer credit loans, gain access to their money, and generate savings, none of these options are successful enough to be considered sufficient.With the traditional banking system unable to help improve their financial situation, many LMI turn the lottery in hopes of improving their financial situation in a quick and easy manner. If LMI spent a small sum on lottery tickets each year then many would not consider the lottery to be harmful. However, the fact is that LMI can spend hundreds of dollars per year on lottery tickets in pursuit of huge cash prizes that are highly likely to go unrealized. Even with such a high percentage of LMI income going to lotteries, many believe that the lottery isn’t harmful because money spent on lottery tickets represents disposable income that would be spent on other useless items if not for the lottery.Through my research I have analyzed current financial tools that could be utilized by LMI in lieu of the lottery system. My research specifically analyzes prize-linked savings programs (PLS), which give LMI access to a lottery system while also encouraging systems. I then look at how money saved via PLS programs can be invested in order to further access to traditional banking services like checking and savings.
A Study of the Efficacy of the Altman Z-score Bankruptcy Prediction Model to Predict Bankruptcy within the Nonprofit Sector
Christianna Wymbs – Fordham University – Gabelli School of BusinessThis study seeks to find the ideal tool to better assess the financial health of nonprofit organizations. It is common for companies, during their life cycle, to vacillate between periods of positive and negative phases, as well as periods of success and failure. However, when a negative period shifts from temporary to structural and chronic, the company is likely destined for bankruptcy. The uncertainty in regard to the exact moment when bankruptcy takes place has evoked a plethora of quantitative and qualitative models aimed at predicting bankruptcy. Yet, there is a dearth of research assessing the relationship, if any, between nonprofit organizations and bankruptcy prevention. This study will mainly analyze this relationship through the use of the Altman Z-Score. I will be applying the Altman Z-Score, while altering the original formula to reflect nonprofit financial metrics, to nonprofit organizations in an effort to predict bankruptcy within the nonprofit sector.

General Business

The Value of a Safety Index for the Automobile Consumer
Dana Andrea – Iona College
Automobile recalls represent critical information pertaining to vehicle safety. Currently, there is no way for the consumer to evaluate this large amount of information when buying a new car. In this thesis, a Safety Recall Index is developed as an aid to the consumer to better understand the safety issues related to 32 different car models. This Safety Recall Index was created using the recall data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and sales data from Automotive News from 2005-2010. When compared to two major existing surveys using Spearman’s correlation ranking, the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study and the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, the Safety Recall Index proved that it provides new, useful information about safety for consumers to use when making the decision of their next automobile purchase. Since full comprehension of recall data may take up to five years to collect for a specific vehicle, the Safety Recall Index will prove most useful using a moving average index for present day decisions. In the future, the Recall Safety Index could become more refined by ranking recalls on a scale of liability and then creating the index. This next step will make the vast amount of recall data even more digestible for the automobile consumer.

Information Systems

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Data Cleansing Techniques to Strengthen a Business Intelligence Initiative
Haley Martens – Saint Louis University
Data cleansing should be an area of concern for companies as it is believed that “dirty data costs US business over $500 billion annually” (Data Entry Outsourced) and “the average business loses 12 percent of its revenue to inaccurate data, due to reductions in productivity, wasted resources and, crucially, missed opportunities for cross-channel marketing due to gaps in contact data records” (Kramer, Shelly). It is also reported that “40 percent of all business project failures involve poor quality data as the primary reason” (DataEntryOutsourced). Another important effect dirty data can have on a business is decreasing the relevancy and accuracy of analytical analysis and forecasting. Data analytics is widely used in order to analyze past performance to discover patterns and areas of improvement for a company that can in turn provide them a competitive edge. This important topic leads to the research question: How can data cleansing be implemented as a precursor to business intelligence activities in a large organizational context? Follow up questions include: why there is not clean data to start with, how dirty data can be prevented from the beginning, and how data can be deemed truly clean. To address these questions, I applied my observations from an internship where dealing with data cleansing was my primary assignment. Based on these observations, I scanned the relevant literature and condensed findings from these written works into a set of tentative conclusions presented below. Finding 1: There appears to not be one commonly accepted procedure for how to prepare data and make it useful for a business intelligence initiative. Therefore, this makes finding such a procedure that much more potentially valuable. Finding 2: One goal of implementing data cleansing techniques is to reduce redundancy in the form of duplicate information, which in turn reduces human errors. Finding 3: When selecting systems, firms need to understand that there are trade-offs, for example between cost and performance. Therefore, a company should evaluate each system’s strengths and weaknesses along with the scope of their project before choosing which system is right for them. For example, some systems, like AJAX, might require more human intervention to do the matching, but would most likely make the matches more accurate whereas a company that doesn’t have the time or human resources available might choose IntelliClean, a system that would automate much of the cleansing for them, but may be less accurate. This will also be helpful in research terms as a guideline to create constant improvements for increasing knowledge about how this is done and how it might vary from company to company. Finding 4: Based on personal experience matching data extracted from multiple ERP systems, more standardized records prove easier to match. Where invoices were highly standardized, company addresses were not. As a result the same company could input its address in multiple different ways requiring more effort for matching. Techniques such as producing drop down selection boxes for entering customer address might address the variance in input data. Finding 5: Preventing the entry of ambiguous data can be even more valuable than cleansing data once ambiguity has crept in. A one-time investment in prevention can eliminate many repetitions of cleansing. While these observations reflect my experience in this one company, other industries and firms with other cultures and challenges may have different approaches.

International Economics

The Impact of Islamic Business Organizations on the Turkish Political Economy
Antonio DelGrande – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
MUSIAD (standing for Association of Independent Industrialist and Businessmen) is an Islamic special interest group that began operating in Turkey, a constitutionally secular country, in 1990. This group operates within two spheres, business in civil society and Turkish Islamic movements. MUSIAD emphasized Islamic ethics and religiosity in business and everyday life. To this end, they support more than 2700 small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and produce almost 15% of the country’s national revenue. Largely these companies make up what are considered to be the Anatolian Tigers, the typically more conservative and religious businesses in the eastern part of the country.
To investigate the effect of groups like MUSIAD on the Turkish political economy, I use Rehman and Askari’s 2010 Economic Islamicity Index (an index of 12 Islamic principles and 113 economic variables that plots each country according to how well it fits teaching in the Quran) as well as other religion-based variables to see if there has been a change over the past twenty years, and whether this change can be correlated with a positive or negative change in economic and prosperity variables such as GDP, literacy, and unemployment. By comparing these trends with MUSIAD’s impressive growth and by including relevant information about MUSIAD’s launch into the political sphere, I expect to produce results that describe MUSIAD as a powerful force within Turkey that, due to its emphasis on community outreach and its work in propelling SMEs into the mainstream, has been a boon to Turkish prosperity.
Food Security in North Africa and the Middle East: Food Prices and Instability
Kiersten Schmidheiser – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
In the Middle East and North Africa, a lack of strong political systems and an increased vulnerability to drought and high temperatures due to the region’s geographic location and the potential effects of climate change compound the issue of food security. In these areas, food price spikes can have a more drastic impact. Many countries in the Middle East and North Africa rely heavily on the global food market and food importation, especially now that industrialization and urbanism have decreased dependence on subsistence farming and local food sources. Thus, when food becomes unavailable due to shortages or unreasonable prices, the people affected can view the political system as the problem, leading to social unrest and violence. In many of these cases, corruption and other government failings also exist; however, researchers have started to explore the idea that food prices can lead to and indicate when social unrest will occur. For this project, I evaluated food price data and indexes of political stability generated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations between 2004 and 2014 for twelve countries from the Middle East and North Africa. The countries were also given designations depending on their membership in OPEC and the occurrence of a regime change over the years evaluated. I found that significant correlations existed between rising food prices and decreasing political stability in all cases. In OPEC member countries, a stronger correlation existed than in non-OPEC member countries. Also, in countries that experienced a regime change, the correlation was stronger than in countries without a regime change. I also found a significant correlation between a nation’s food price index increasing difference from the world average and decreasing political stability. Although these results do not necessarily suggest causation between food prices and social unrest, they can provide insight into possible relationships pertaining to food security and stability in the region.
The Effect of Democratization on the South Korean Won
Ha Young Shin – Georgetown University
There has been strong, empirical evidence that an undervalued currency is linked to higher rates of economic growth and an increase in GDP for the country with the undervalued currency. Due to these economic benefits, many countries strive to keep their currency undervalued, leading to what is commonly referred to as a “currency war” or competitive devaluation. However, despite these beneficial factors, some countries refrain from devaluing their currency. To test the hypothesis presented in Dennis Quinn and Maria Toyoda’s “The political origins and consequences of exchange rate: currency under- and overvaluations,” which proposes that countries with high levels of political competition generally choose to adopt a relatively neutrally-valued currency, South Korea was chosen as a case study because it evolved from a dictatorship with an undervalued currency to a democracy with a relatively neutral-valued currency. This study aims to determine the effect of democratization on the valuation of the South Korean Won by scrutinizing the evolution of the Won pre-post 1987, year of South Korea’s first free election. The political activity of labor unions that prefer overvalued currency, and chaebols, South Korea’s large, export-dependent conglomerates that prefer undervalued currency, was analyzed. Findings using a valuation index showed that the Won was relatively more neutral-valued after democratization than pre-1987, when it was under a dictatorship.
India's GDP Growth and Air Pollution
Karthik Sunkesula – College of New Jersey
India has long been considered as one of the largest democracies in the world. Despite the numerous organizational issues that are associated with such a huge population, India’s GDP growth has averaged high rates for 50 years. Some of the factors that have played a significant role in expanding India’s GDP growth are trade liberalization, increased human capital, and growing foreign direct investment. However, in light of recent global concentration on the issue of climate change, it is necessary to determine not only the natural effects of carbon dioxide emission, but also the economics consequences that follow from an increased output of harmful gases. Recent literature (Holtz-Eakin and Selden) on air pollution and economic development hint at diminishing marginal propensity (MPE) to emit harmful gases in the short run, while predicting that the MPE will increase in the long run. Given that research has been inconclusive regarding the relationship between economic development and air pollution, this paper will help provide some insight into the causal relationship between the two. This paper will use empirical analysis at the national level to examine the positive and negative contributions of air pollution, and the relationship between air pollution and economic development in this developing country. The hope would be that this empirical time-series analysis to develop better public policy in the long run.

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

Hospital Readdmissions Management Strategies: carrort or stick?
James Finora – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
Readmissions are receiving increasing attention due to their costliness and prevalence. A readmission is defined as a patient who is admitted to the same or different hospital within 30-days of discharge. Approximately one in five Medicare patients is readmitted costing $26 billion annually. Section 3005 of the Affordable Care Act initiated the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) which issues financial penalties to hospitals with high readmission rates starting 2012.
Reducing readmission is expensive. Unlike other similar government programs the HRRP is a penalty-only system and does not offer shared-savings to help offset costs for hospitals. The HRRP is the only healthcare program in recent years to only use penalties to motivate hospitals to change their organizational behavior against their financial best interest. Similar hospital incentives use rewards/penalties, or “carrot or stick,” systems to motivate hospitals and have yielded mixed results. In addition, the causes of readmissions are complex and not fully understood. Many of the risk factors that contribute to a readmission are beyond the hospitals control resulting in disproportionate penalties to hospitals treating at-risk patients, specifically hospitals treating low socioeconomic status patients.
The HRRP is changing the fundamental role of the hospital. To reduce readmissions the hospital must act as the center for care coordination. This research combines organizational behavior and management theory to explore how the HRRP penalties are shaping hospital practices as well as unintended consequences of the HRRP. This research also explores the implications for the future of readmissions management with the goal of suggesting improvements for the HRRP.
An Agile Approach to Improve Post-disaster Routine Care to Chronically Ill Patients
Madison Shea and Aadhilakshmi Balasubramanian – Clarkson University
Post Disaster Reconstruction (PDR) has been studied for years regarding how to properly plan before and execute necessary procedures after disasters. The main research streams in the PDR area include preparedness, response and recovery, and how to best deal with the chaos and destruction disasters cause. When disasters occur, hundreds of chronically ill patients are suffering from a lack of treatment and medication while hospitals and other care facilities focus primarily on the disaster victims, ignoring the effect disasters take on the routine care of chronically ill patients. The focus of this research is to highlight the need for routine patient care for the chronically ill patients and develop a model that can be followed to provide continuous care for these patients throughout disasters while promoting disaster resilience. Our model has been developed based on the newly adapted methods of agile project management. While traditional project management methods focus on a heavy amount of pre-planning and are designed to stick exactly to what was set out, agile project management methods are based on the ability of a team to learn and adapt over the course of a project. The adaptability and flexibility are essential characteristics of PDR teams to ensure proper response and recovery especially to victims and chronically ill patients. Through the adaptation of agile project management, our model is able to expose the community to innovative and effective ways of managing post disaster recovery, shift recovery focus to the routine needs of chronically ill patients as well and promote a healthier society even after disasters.
Drivers of Drug Pricing Strategy
Felicia Zhang – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
Today, drug prices are higher than they have ever been, leading critics to suspect that there is much more that drives pricing strategy than the cost of drug development, which the pharmaceutical industry maintains as the primary reason for high drug prices. On one hand, drug companies are justified in claiming that research and development costs are exorbitant. Revenues have to cover not only the cost to develop drugs that are selling today but also the thousands of failed projects, some of which fail eight to ten years into the process. In addition, they must watch their returns on investment, which is difficult in face of the large losses that they accumulate. Yet, granting drug companies the validity of high development costs, critics point suspiciously at the fact that prices tend to increase well ahead of inflation after drugs have been approved to market, even though post-market clinical trial costs are insignificant. Recent literature has also pointed to evidence that the United States is not innovating proportionally higher than countries that have government-controlled—and thus much lower—prescription drug prices. Furthermore, other literature has suggested that pharmaceutical pricing relies on market-can-bear strategies that are capped only by public and private insurers’ willingness to pay. If true, the outcome of such a system is bleak, for insurers’ role as negotiator and gatekeeper may, instead of place downward pressure on prices, block some patients from receiving the medications that they need. This paper thus strives to understand what drives pricing strategy, mapping out factors that affect the pricing of three types of drugs: priority, me-too, and orphan. The goal of this research is to discover what factors affect pricing more in which scenarios, so that we, as outsiders to the notoriously close-lipped pharmaceutical industry, can better understand both sky-high drug prices and the cost burden that they place on our health care system.

Marketing

Disruptive Marketing in the Fashion Industry
Sai Boyella – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
A theoretical background of the fashion industry and why social media and bloggers have great appeal to consumers especially in the area of fast fashion. The implications of my research findings point toward newer marketing endeavors such as product placement and celebrity endorsement rather than print media and traditional advertisements for organizations and brands to profit the most from campaigns.

Sustainability

Impacts of Energy Benchmarking and Disclosure Legislation on Commercial Energy Efficiency
Travis Navarro – Fordham University – Gabelli School of Business
This project will concern investigating on whether data supports recent efforts by municipalities to promote greener buildings through passed laws and ordinances. Specifically, this study will seek to evaluate whether evidence from these benchmarking and public disclosure ordinances support the conclusions from past studies on India’s Green Rating Program and Indonesia’s PROPER program. To complete this analysis this study will analyze commercial building energy efficiency data in cities that have passed benchmarking laws and public disclosure laws. The subject population for this study will be Austin, New York City, San Francisco. The study will use these cities because by 2011 they had passed laws/ordinances requiring certain non-residential buildings to report energy benchmarking data allowing for implementation to have occurred and potentially to allow trends to have emerge. Specifically, the study will seek to extend the previous conclusions that initial relative rating and community wealth have significant impacts on site pollution, and therefore efficiency. From this research, I hope to provide recommendations on how to best implement future energy benchmarking laws in green building legislation.

 

Presentation Abstracts: 2015

Accounting

The Impact of Financial Transaction Taxes: An Examination of Italy’s Tax on High Frequency Trading

Ashley Menjivar – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business
With the release of Michael Lewis’ book, Flash Boys, controversy surrounding high-frequency trading (HFT) has returned, and regulators are devising policies to curtail the activity. The goal of this thesis is to reach a conclusion on whether HFT strategies should be regulated or not, and whether or not a tax would be an efficient regulatory response to HFT. It examine the overall market impact of high-frequency trading strategies based on academic literature. The effects of Italy’s tax on high-frequency trading will be analyzed. On September 2, 2013, Italy introduced a law directed at HFT that taxed trade orders and cancellations that occur with a fraction of a second, becoming the first country to introduce a tax on high-frequency trading. Trading volume will be observed via the Financial Times Stock Exchange Milano Italia Borsa index (FTSE MIB) before and after the law was enacted. In addition to collecting daily data on Italian equity market, the research will compare Italy’s daily trading volumes to the volumes of other European markets. Economists have been suggesting a similar tax on HFT in the U.S., and so analyzing the impact of Italy’s tax on the Italian market will provide further insight into the effects of tax policies and how the issue of HFT should be approached.

Fair Value Accounting and the 2008 Financial Crisis
Chris Mitschow – John Carroll University
In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, fair value accounting in banks has come under a great deal of criticism by those who believe it to be at least partially responsible for the crisis. We approach the question of whether banks’ use of fair value accounting was responsible for the financial crisis by using the SEC’s EDGAR database to read and analyze the financial statements of public banks which received Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds and have since repaid them. We looked to see if banks treat fair value assets and liabilities differently when they are distressed than they do when they are stable. In determining whether or not a bank is distressed, we view a bank as distressed in the quarter prior to receiving TARP funds, and as no longer distressed in the quarter in which the final repayment of TARP funds took place. In our research, we used data such as the ratio of fair value assets to total assets, fair value liabilities to total liabilities, and the composition of fair value assets and liabilities by level (levels 1, 2, and 3) from both when the banks were distressed and when they had become stable again. We find that fair value assets are correlated with whether or not a bank is distressed. This suggests that these portfolios of fair value assets contributed to the distressed state of banks which received TARP funds. These findings call for closer scrutiny and regulation of fair value assets that banks hold.
The Impact of Geographic Proximity and Audit Pricing

Katrina Wu – Pace University
This study examines whether there is an association between the geographic location of industry leaders in an auditing firm and differences in audit pricing for that same auditing firm’s industry clients.  Prior research provides evidence that audit pricing is not uniform across auditor office locations, including due to industry specialization (e.g. Francis et al. 2005) and office size (e.g. Francis et al. 2010). Organizational learning research (e.g. Huber 1991) posits that companies learn from their organizational experience and potentially use that knowledge to provide a “better” audit. In this study, we posit that the human capital of the audit partner in charge of an industry practice serves as a silo for this knowledge and provides an opportunity to charge a fee premium to their local clients. This study samples only Big 4 firms since data on the partner in charge was hand collected from audit firm websites. Analyzing the full sample of 1,144 Big 4 firm-year observations from fiscal year 2013, there was no difference in audit fees between observations in the local office of the partner in charge and those outside that office. However, there is a positive association between audit fees and the location of the audit industry leader in the same city as the client for industries where human capital is less concentrated (i.e. one or two Big 4 firms have their industry leader in the same city). This suggests provides additional insight into the human capital of audit firm industry leaders and the dynamics of audit market competition.

 

Business Ethics / Economic Development

Corruption and Economic Growth in China
Nicholas D’Amico – John Carroll University
China’s rise to global superpower in the last 35 years has been nothing short of extraordinary. Factors that have played a part include China’s liberalization of its financial system, opening up to foreign markets, and massive comparative advantage in labor. But what role has corruption played in China’s unprecedented economic growth? Recently, attention to this issue from inside and outside China has led to Xi Jinping’s campaign against corruption. Much of the literature on corruption and economic development cites corruption as detrimental to growth. Others see corruption as a way for firms to sidestep the regulations put in place by governments. In these cases, firms would not be successful in developing countries if not for corruption. Some literature even notes a growth cycle of corruption, where corruption is beneficial to growth to a certain point, at which point it begins to be a detriment. This paper will use empirical analysis at the provincial level to explore the positive and negative effects of corruption in China, and whether corruption in China is correlated with high levels of economic growth. A time series analysis will be applied to examine the cyclical nature of China’s corruption, and discuss the path China will take as it moves forward. 

 

Sports Business

The Fall of the Sport of Kings
Ashley Meeks – Loyola University New Orleans
Due to changing consumer interests and available substitutes, horse racing as moved from the famed “Sport of Kings” to gamblers paradise. The result has been unfortunate and astounding, as horsemen struggle to prevent the close and decline of multiple tracks, as well as foal crop sizes and prices increasing. Purse sizes and race numbers are dwindling, which decreases incentive to invest in the sport. It is becoming increasingly clear horse racing in the traditional sense is moving through the product life cycle to the mature, and—in the case of some tracks—decline stage. Through battling litigation and intervention, many tracks survive on minimal subsidization from off-track gaming facilities. This alone is not enough to save the industry. The emotional connection of insiders to the track will aid in the maintenance of many of America’s remaining tracks. Dedication to the tradition held in track visits, the love of the horses, and willingness to invest on the hopes of breaking even keeps thousands involved in lower level racing. The desire for fame and wealth recognition keeps many investing in high-level racehorses. While the movement of theses owners, trainers, and consumers alike is noble; the industry should not rest on their backs alone. As a result of the gaming industry’s reliance on the racing industry for success, and in some cases survival, the gaming industry should subsidize a larger percentage of income to tracks as they are incentivized to do so, and should feel the ethical duty to aid in the survival of the industry it consumed to make gaming industry’s start.
Economic Factors to Optimize US Olympic Bid City Selection
Aurelia O’Keefe – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business
The publicly financed 1976 Montreal Summer Olympic Games resulted in such a large deficit that is scared most countries from bidding on hosting the next available games. Conversely, the nearly fully privately funded 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games turned such a profit that it sparked a rapid increase in bids from around the world to host the next games. In this modern consumer driven global economy, world class cities that bid to host the Olympic Games often do so hoping to run not only a memorable event, but also a profitable one. For this paper, cursory review of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) bid city selection process identifies the considerations currently used to choose a bid city. A section describing the cities that have been selected for the summer games US bid since the 1984 Los Angeles games highlights the economic and political factors in the current system. Once a city is selected for the Olympic bid, the USOC utilizes marketing and politics to make the city appealing in a presentation to the International Olympic Committee members. These tactics can be applied to any city, but why not choose a city that would most benefit and that could best use the resulting post games infrastructure? This study evaluates a selection of United States cities in order to choose a US bid city based on economic factors and not political biases by which the current system is sometimes colored. An initial pool of twelve cities was selected for their climate, international airports, public transportation systems, and sports minded citizens. A review of previous literature on the cost benefit analysis of running the Olympic Games, based on past notably successful and unsuccessful games, identified key variables. These variables were then assigned appropriate weights of importance and used to compare the potential US cities with the intent to identify the city with the best abilities to run the most profitable Olympic Games. Profitability measures include not only the ending dollar amount, but also improvements to the city’s infrastructure that would be useful for future economic growth and social benefits for the city’s population.

 

Entrepreneurship

Assessing The Determinants of Entrepreneurial Intention
Kaitlyn Rodriguez – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business
Entrepreneurship has witnessed growing attention since the 2008-09 financial and the subsequent recession. Entrepreneurship has a wide range of meanings and definitions but it is widely understood as the creation of new business.  In this research, working for a start-up post college will also be considered entrepreneurial. Within the past few years entrepreneurship education has especially thrived within the United States because it has been recognized as a catalyst for economic development and job creation that would help rebound the United States from the recession. As a result, policy makers, universities, and foundations are interested in the factors which drive a student’s entrepreneurial intent. Azjen’s 1991 Theory of Planned Behavior and Shapero’s 1982 model of “The Entrepreneurial Event” both support that entrepreneurial intent is predictive of students becoming entrepreneurs. This research paper aims to predict the factors which influence a student’s entrepreneurial intent. Shapero and Azjen both agree that attitude also referred to as perceived desirability affects entrepreneurial intent, and they both agree that perceived feasibility also referred to as self-efficacy affects entrepreneurial intent. This research paper will explore variables which impact student’s attitude towards entrepreneurship post-college such as perceived support from their family. Secondly, the research will explore how perceived university support and perceived structural support affect a student’s perceived feasibility of entrepreneurship post-college. Thirdly, personal factors such as student’s debt level will be accounted for as a third influence on entrepreneurial intent. This research will help universities, policy makers, and students determine how perceived desirability, feasibility, and barriers influence entrepreneurial intent. This paper supports the premise that entrepreneurs are not born and they can be taught, and if we can understand the leading factors which influence student’s entrepreneurial intent then programs, classes, and attitudes can be shaped to

 

Finance

The Changing Impact of Index Inclusion
Jonthan Dokler – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business
Peer-to-Peer Lending: Analysis on the returns and volatility of P2P Loan Portfolios from 2007-2010

Ross Garlick – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business
Peer-to-Peer Loans are a relatively new form of asset class for investors to allocate some of their wealth towards. Major players in the industry, such as Lending Club are keen to promote the potential ROI of some of these loans, but do not typically show the potential volatility of owning a portfolio of loans, or whether investors receive a higher risk-adjusted ROI by taking on a basket of riskier loans.

Using data available from the Lending Club on over 250,000 loans (both current and matured), this study will focus on the various characteristics of investing in P2P Loans, and evaluating the various investment strategies investors can undertake to try and produce the highest risk-adjusted ROI. These investment strategies will be compared to the risk-adjusted ROI of corporate bond indices with similar default risk to the P2P loans.
The study will analyze the loan pool in 3 ways: as a whole – looking at the ROI and default risk of all completed loans over the time period being analyzed; in 100 standalone random loan portfolios – seeing the volatility of expected returns and default risk if an investor invests in 100 loans; through the creation of 100 standalone loan portfolios built around different investment strategies (low credit rating vs. high credit rating, reasons for borrowing loans).

Effect of The Stock Act on Congressional Stock Returns
Gregory Giordano – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business On April 4, 2012 President Barack Obama passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (the Stock Act). The Stock Act seeks to prohibit Members of Congress and employees of Congress from using nonpublic information derived from their official positions for personal benefit. However, the Stock Act seems to fall far short of its intentions, leaving considerable doubt as to whether the act was a legitimate attempt by Congress to police itself, or just a publicity maneuver enabling Congress to continue its trading practices.The study will test whether the Stock Act had a significant effect on the stock trading behavior of Members of Congress.  If in fact congressional information is material insider knowledge, then the ability to trade on such knowledge should produce abnormal stock returns. Moreover, banning the usage of that knowledge should diminish stock returns. It is hypothesized that we should see stock returns diminish after the passage of the Stock Act. The study will test whether Members of  Congress exhibit abnormal returns on their stock transactions, and whether there is any difference in returns from the period before the passage of the act, to the period after.
Can the Financial War on Terror Be Viewed as Successful?
Nicole Iman – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business
The study will focus on the Financial War on Terror, and everything it entails, in order to come to a conclusion about whether or not it can be seen as successful. The Financial War on Terror is the part of the war that has not been fought by soldiers and guns, but by accountants and sanctions. This aspect of the war has not been in the news as much but it has had a large impact of how terrorists are tracked and how terrorist organizations are targeted.In order to determine whether or not it has been successful the research will use a list of success measures and will judge whether or not the Treasury department, and other governmental agencies have seen the war as successful in terms of each measure. The success measures, as well as the determinations of success, are from governmental sources and as such are not the researcher passing judgement individually. The judgement of success are based on the findings of the Treasury department and others within the government.Preliminary results show that in many ways the financial war has been successful, but there are some areas that need to see improvement in order to really be successful in the coming years. A lot of the areas that are not currently successful have the possibility to be if the proper changes can be made. By judging the success of this war the study aims to show that the United States can still fight the terrorist threat, but without the huge loss of human lives that the War on Terror has had. The focus will be to see whether the current framework that is in place is enough to fight the growing threat of terror organizations like ISIS, or what changes need to be made if what is in place is not enough.
The Long-term Attractiveness of China’s Automobile Market
Nevin Kulangara – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of BusinessThe study will focus on  the potential risk profile of long-term investments in China’s automobile market. Specifically, large, multinational carmakers have chosen the Chinese market as their source of growth. However, this market is not free of serious potential headwinds. Increased government regulation in the automobile space, urbanization patterns, and public transportation development are just a few of the risks to be explored.A dynamic economic growth model methodology will be employed. This model forecasts automobile unit sales in the Chinese market over time, factoring in base assumptions on population growth rate, urbanization, demographic shifts, and other potential drivers. The model also features scenario analysis in order to account various shocks. For example, the implementation of a particular government policy regarding pollution from automobiles could affect the profitability of carmakers in this market. A simple button in Microsoft Excel can be utilized to factor in the effects of this policy on projected sales.This project has various implications. As the length of this project will cease at less than one year, the intention is not to debunk the idea that the Chinese automobile industry is worthy of investment by large automakers. Rather, the plan is to compare the risk profile of this investment to that of other countries with more transparent governments and fewer pollution concerns. The project will not end with a “yes” or “no” to a particular question, but rather a deeper understanding of the challenges facing a leading economy.
Executive Compensation Structure

Robert Landhauser – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business

Executive compensation structure has been constantly changing and adapting to try and align CEO interest with that of the shareholders (as well as comply with dynamic accounting standards). The issue arises when the structures that are put in place to align interests actually incentives the opposite.  Although the majority of executive compensation is tied to stock performance, this can be manipulated easily and results in (perceived) better short term performance while sacrificing long-term shareholder health and performance.  This can be most exemplified around share buybacks which have become increasingly popular over the past few years.

Share buybacks allow executives to manipulate perceived company performance in a handful of ways by extracting value out of the firm rather than creating it.  Although there are instances where share buybacks are important, companies do not usually use them at the right times.  For example, it would be beneficial for firms to buy back their stock when the market (and hence their shares) are declining in a bear market.  In this case the company can purchase shares at lows when the prices are below the intrinsic value of the company.  Instead, most buy backs occur during bull markets when prices are already at relative highs.  Because of this, there is usually a temporary win for the company but overall hurts the company and shareholders.  The extra cost of paying a premium for the stock hurts the company’s ability to invest in capital expenditures (which have provided higher returns than buybacks themselves).

All of the buybacks also decrease shares outstanding which will artificially increase earnings per share (one of the major deciders for executive pay raises).  At the same time, the fundamentals of the company aren’t changing, but it appears that the health is stronger due to the increase in earnings.  This leads to runaway executive compensation which is not warranted and is one of the largest expenses of company earnings.

Student Loan Industry: Some data trends and experimental evidence
Wyatt Miller – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business
Outstanding student loan debt in the United States totals more than $1.2 trillion, surpassing credit card debt. Although consumers have deleveraged since 2008, student loan debt has continued to grow rapidly. This study examines two sources of financial assistance to students that have grown substantially since 2008: TEACH grants and online social loans, also called peer-to-peer (P2P) loans. The study uses both publicly available data and experimental data to examine grant trends and gain deeper understanding of the heuristics used by borrowers and lenders online, since consolidation of personal debt, including student loan debt, is a frequent loan purpose on P2P platforms. More specifically, the study includes analysis of three data samples. From TEACH grant sources, a total of 776 observations at the institutional level, both in terms of total grant amount and number of awardees, between the 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 academic years. Preliminary results show that public institutions are more likely to receive higher TEACH grant support, and that the highest increments in TEACH grants per institution take place in institutions that already had higher support in 2008. In addition, from Prosper.com, data on 1,500 actual P2P loans, some in process and others fully funded. Third, an experimental survey uses a mock online social lending site in order to control for irrelevant information that may vary on actual P2P loan applications and impact lending outcomes. A controlled mock P2P lending site facilitates the isolation and examination of herding behavior and rules of thumb used by student borrowers and their lenders, heuristics that may at times lead to suboptimal decisions. Overall, the use of TEACH grant data as well as actual and experimental P2P lending data allows for a better understanding of these two options available to student borrowers that have experienced rapid growth since 2008.
Value vs. ValueS: Investment and Investor Longevity in SRI Funds
Kevin Soares – The Gabelli School of Business

 

General Business

Materiality and Access-Based Consumption: Understanding Consumer-Object Relationships in an Increasingly Cosmopolitan World
Lauren Teske – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business
Over the past decade, society has witnessed the rise of the Sharing Economy, or a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources. This research will focus on one single type of consumption that falls under this category: access-based consumption.Access-based consumption is characterized by access over ownership—the borrowing and lending of objects—as opposed to the transfer of ownership. While this type of consumption is not a new phenomenon, it has received greater attention and participation in the 21st Century. The motivations for participation in access-based consumption have been highly hypothesized, however no studies have been conclusive. Today, access-based consumption can be seen in the form of car or bike-sharing programs, online borrowing programs, accommodation rentals, and the online borrowing of any other item one can imagine.The growth of access-based consumption marks a significant shift in the consumer-object relationship, or the way in which consumers view and interact with their possessions. This shift challenges the common construct of the extended self—that consumers use objects to contribute to and reflect their identities—as the complexity of this relationship is intensified when consumers only have access to these objects for a short period of time. Under such conditions of temporality, research suggests that many consumers reveal attitudes of immateriality, marked by experience-value over ownership-value. Further research also postulates that an immaterial attitude results from a seemingly cosmopolitan disposition.The purpose of this study is to explore this changing consumer-object relationship in the context of access-based consumption. Specifically, this research seeks to understand:

  • The extent to which a cosmopolitan disposition impacts attitudes of immateriality
  • The extent to which attitudes of immateriality impact participation in access-based consumption
  • The extent to which a cosmopolitan disposition impacts participation in access-based consumption

By exploring these suppositions, the overarching goal is to understand the shifting attitudes of consumers in an increasingly collaborative, cosmopolitan and temporal age of consumption, drawing connections between the effects of globalization and participation in access-based consumption. This goal is achieved through both survey and content analysis of a diverse subject pool.

Access-based consumption is the most sustainable form of consumption, extending the lifetime of possessions and promoting environmental consumption habits. This leads to less waste, and fewer idle products. For this reason, it is vital that more research be focused on understanding the consumer behaviors fueling this type of consumption. This study recognizes the positive implications of access-based consumption and aims to contribute to this effort.

 

Marketing

More Than Just Fonts: Display Typography and Consumers’ Perceptions of Brand Personality
Nicole Holm – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of BusinessBrand personality is a set of human characteristics associated with a brand—it dictates how consumers of different ages, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, and emotional characteristics relate to a brand, and how they expect the brand to behave. For example, Coca- Cola is perceived as a classic, conservative, American brand while Pepsi is perceived as more bold and youthful. Brand personality is crucial in differentiating brands, particularly in markets where competitors share similar product attributes. Establishing and communicating a strong brand personality lends richness to the character of the brand and helps build relationships with consumers and create long-term brand equity.Display typography refers to the artfully designed and arranged typefaces that we see in company logos and wordmarks, advertising materials, packaging and labeling, and other business communications for a particular brand. These brand communications can be powerful tools for establishing and strengthening brand personality, which, again, is crucially important when product differentiation is not enough to capture a loyal following of consumers. Managers working for a company with a large marketing budget can often afford to outsource this work to a team of specialists in the field of design without having to have much of an understanding of the underlying design principles themselves. However, this may not be the case for smaller businesses with limited budgets, and regardless of company size, it is always beneficial for a manager to have at least a general understanding of the principles behind the design decisions he or she is approving. Unfortunately, there is very little literature to help guide managers in making these decisions. We hope that this paper, when finalized, will help managers see the importance of choosing appropriate typefaces for brand communications in terms of conveying an intended brand personality. 
Entertainment Marketing Strategy and Transmedia Storytelling
Vincent Pellizzi – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business
Transmedia storytelling is defined by media scholar Henry Jenkins as “the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies.  From a production standpoint, it involves creating content that engages an audience [by] developing stories across multiple media forms in order to deliver unique pieces of content in each channel”.  Most prevalent in the realm of entertainment marketing, the technique aims to create a cohesive consumer experience across multiple mediums, taking advantage of the rise of new platforms for communication and content delivery.  Jenkins proposes that transmedia storytelling “is the ideal framework to allow brands to connect with multiple-device using consumers, consistently across different platforms.”  Marvel Studios’ immensely successful “Cinematic Universe” exemplifies how the company’s carefully interwoven use of comic books, television shows, streaming content, and feature films has resulted in an enormous surge in consumer awareness and interest, and high streams of revenue for the company.This research project reports on transmedia marketing strategy in theory and application. The research and analysis reports on what creative, logistical, and financial resources are required to successfully implement the strategy, identifies specific marketing concepts that the strategy embraces, establishes a correlation between innovative strategy implementation and success, and proposes an ideal framework for transmedia strategy in modern media marketing practice.  The research format takes the form of three pillars: literature and scholarship review, framework establishment, and case study.  A review of existing literature and scholarship on the subject allows a discussion on infrastructure, strategy, planning, implementation and technology involved in developing a transmedia strategy, consideration of how concepts of transmedia have evolved over time, and brief overview of “proof of concept” examples.  This discussion informs the establishment of an outline of an ideal transmedia framework, highlighting the importance of each component and its role in the success of the model while summarizing the literature review.  Finally, this paper presents a case study on Marvel’s “Cinematic Universe” in which the established framework is applied.  Through analysis of Marvel’s planning and execution of its strategy and resulting effects on the company and industry, competitor analysis, and application of the established framework, this case study portion of the paper addresses each of the posed research questions and draws conclusions on the effectiveness and viability of transmedia as a marketing and media strategy.
Gender Roles in Advertising
Kathleen Schmitz – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business
Over the past half-century, the percent of women in the workforce has consistently increased. Today, women fight to be guaranteed equal treatment in the workplace. As “work” has shifted from a domain dominated largely by men, many wonder whether the corresponding shift (or lack thereof) of the “home” domain from belonging to women has been just, resulting in a feeling of under-appreciation from women who both work and manage household and childcare duties. The perpetuation of the woman controlling the household domain is common in both pop culture and advertisements, particularly in consumer packaged goods advertisements (ie cleaning supplies), as they are frequently used in the home.This study uses an experiment that exposes subjects to a loaded image that either supports, rejects, or neutralizes gender role imagery in the context of the use of a cleaning product, and subsequently measures self-esteem, in order to gauge the impact these images may have on women viewing the ads. It is predicted that the subjects shown images of couples sharing housework (neutralizing traditional gender roles) or a man doing housework (rejecting traditional gender roles) will record higher levels of self-esteem than those shown images of woman completing housework (supporting traditional gender roles). Other measures such as age, employment status, and sex-role orientation will be taken into account. Should the study support my hypothesis, advertisers could use that information to actively take into account consumers’ feelings when designing advertising campaigns. This would lead to stronger relationships between brands and consumers, who would feel that brands better understand them.

 

Natural Resources

Tapping out the Tap: America's Water Crisis
Rachel Aguilar and Melanie Falk – Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business
Water has frequently been referred to as the ultimate resource, a possible cause of worldwide conflict as dwindling supplies are needed to sustain growing populations.  Yet, many in the United States do not realize the severity of the global water crisis and how quickly water scarcity is expanding in even the most developed parts of the world.  The scope of the thesis revolves around the United States because America has the capital, technology, and resources to create and implement effective water management strategies.  Extensive qualitative research was conducted on a plethora of subjects related to the economics of water consumption as well as effective and sustainable solutions to the water crisis.  Reports and surveys generated by governmental organizations, the scientific community, and industry innovators were used to gather data regarding the water resources on the planet and determine the value of water as a commodity.Research shows that the agriculture, manufacturing, and domestic sectors exacerbate the water crisis.  However, each sector can radically decrease its water consumption by implementing new technologies and other innovative solutions.  In addition, water regulations are difficult to enforce due to the essential nature of water and its widespread use in various industries.  The government is the only organization that can effectively enforce widespread changes, especially in multi-state operations and long term projects that would benefit society but may not produce immediate results.  Ultimately, permanent change will only occur if all sectors, public and private, take action to ensure that there is a constant water supply for generations to come.

 

Pharmaceuticals

The Replacement of Internal R&D in the Pharmaceutical Industry with M&A
Khushali Upadhyay – New York University
In the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, there is a focus on new drug development through R&D spend to obtain FDA approval for new drugs. The motivation for incurring considerable expenses stems from the idea that the company will have a near monopoly through a combination of patent protection and FDA approval for the patented drug. In recent years, however, there has been a decline in R&D productivity for the industry as a whole. Many companies are focusing on riskier projects that have larger, less tapped markets with the rational that the bigger potential population size will lead to greater profits. The gap created by the change in R&D productivity might be getting filled through M&A activity.A proxy for R&D productivity that can be used is # of new chemical entity FDA approvals vs. R&D spend. R&D spend for pharmaceutical and biotech companies is focused on getting FDA approval which would eventually lead to revenues, profits, etc. By overlaying the number of FDA approvals, it is possible to see the % of total FDA approvals each bracket is responsible for. Calculating this overtime would show any trends in efficiency allocations. For larger companies that experience a lot of M&A activity, each of their products can be separated between internal development and a specific mega merger acquisition. Through this process, internal productivity can be compared to productivity brought on because of M&A. It would lead to a conclusion about whether these companies have replaced their internal R&D focus with acquisitions.The data should establish that internal R&D is decreasing while M&A activity is increasing. It should also provide some evidence on the relationship between declining productivity of internal R&D and increasing M&A. It will show the actual value M&A has on the industry and will shine light on which growth paths are most beneficial for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, specifically between the choices of internal R&D investment vs. M&A growth.

Presentation Abstracts: 2014

 

Accounting

Accounting For Time Value of Money In Depreciation
This project will seek to answer the following fundamental question: Why, under current US GAAP, do we not use present value techniques with respect to depreciation? Depreciation is the process of allocating the initial cost of an asset over the asset’s useful life. Used by businesses of all sizes, depreciation enables a company to spread the cost of its assets, rather than take them all at once when the assets are acquired, in order to receive tax deductions for several years instead of receiving one large lump-sum deduction. This study will look at the financial statements of the Dow 30 companies for the year 2012 as well as comparative hypothetical financial statements for this same year had depreciation accounted for time value of money.
It has been over twenty-five years since the Financial Accounting Standards Board looked into this pending question regarding depreciation. Although there are several different methods of accounting for depreciation, none of these methods take into consideration the time value of money. Yet, the time value of money is taken into consideration when dealing with bonds, leases, and pensions. Some analysts argue that this consideration is irrelevant because depreciation does not affect cash. However, this project will look at the merits of this viewpoint and analyze how the effects of depreciation go far beyond merely a company’s asset account.
This project confirms the hypothesis that accounting for time value of money in depreciation will save both larger and smaller companies significant amounts of money each year. This hypothesis arises from the fact that, although depreciation does not affect a company’s cash flows, depreciation expenses act as a tax shield, aiding with the burden of hefty taxes these companies face in certain years, despite the reduction in income represented on their financial statements.
The study will first analyze the accounting, or book, perspective of the depreciation issue at hand. A brief tax analysis will then be performed, including the implications of using the MACRS Schedule, followed by a thorough analysis of the accurate discount rate that should be used to discount depreciation schedules. The accounting aspects of the issue will then be analyzed before a pro-forma financial statement analysis for representative firms is created and empirical analysis is provided.
A Proposal to Change the Corporate Deduction for Employee Stock Compensation
Since 1957, the beginning of the most recent boom in employee stock options (ESOs) and stock grants (ESGs), corporations have issued stock compensation to employees in order to either reduce cash compensation, incentivize employees to work harder and improve the company’s stock performance, or both. While these forms of compensation are not inherently controversial, current treatment under U.S. tax rules makes employee stock options and stock grants unfairly advantageous to corporations. From data compiled using Compustat, a database provided by Wharton Research Data Services, the topic of stock compensation is not inconsequential. Specifically, the collective stock compensation expense of North American corporations from 2007 – 2012 has been roughly 702 billion USD. Under current US tax law, nonqualified ESOs and ESGs are deductible to corporations for purposes of calculating their taxable income. ESOs, which award employees the option (but not the liability) to purchase shares of the company’s stock, are deductible by the corporation in the year of employee exercise, in an amount equal to fair market value less the exercise price of the option. Stock grants – or shares of a company’s stock given to an employee, whether restricted or not – are generally deductible when vested. Permitting a tax deduction for this compensation ‘expense’ is unfairly advantageous to corporations, with regard to both ESOs and ESGs. At no point – including at the time of grant, vest, or exercise – are corporations’ assets negatively impaired as a result of issuing ESOs or employee stock grants. Indeed, corporations actually receive an asset – cash, in the amount of exercise price – when employees exercise stock options. Shareholders, on the other hand, are diluted as a result of corporations’ issuance of stock compensation. This is due to the fact that shareholders’ ownership of the company, and similarly the value of their stock holdings, are effectively diminished when additional shares of the company’ stock are issued in order to compensate employees. Thesis Proposal: This thesis proposes a change to the current tax treatment of employee stock compensation. While at present corporations are entitled to the deduction, this thesis explains why shareholders are the group to which the deduction rightfully belongs, due to the dilutive nature of employee stock compensation. Further, this thesis examines some counterarguments to the change, and explores some of the associated logistical challenges that would be faced were the proposed change to come to fruition.

Marketing & Communications

User Perceptions of Sponsored Posts on Social Media
The goal of this research is to examine users’ perceptions of advertisements on various types of social media. The term “social media” encompasses a wide range of platforms that fulfill different needs for their users. Some sites, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, focus on connecting users and allowing them to share within their network; while others, such as Pinterest and Foursquare, enable people to explore products, businesses, and locations that interest them. These differences may impact users’ intentions when visiting the site and subsequently influence their perceptions of advertisements. Something these five social media sites have in common, however, is their foundation as a free service and their need to monetize. In order to sustain themselves, many of these sites are exploring the concept of “sponsored posts,” which allow advertisers to place their content in users’ “feeds” in a format that closely resembles a post by anyone else in the users’ network. Sponsored posts are also targeted to individuals based upon information provided in their social media profile and their online activity. Thus, sponsored posts are more intrusive and effective than other forms of advertising. This study seeks to determine users’ reactions to sponsored posts, if the presence of advertisements will influence their future use of the social media service, if it will impact their beliefs about the advertisers, and if these perceptions vary based upon the social media site on which the ad is posted. We plan to measure these perceptions through a consumer survey, approved by Fordham University’s Internal Review Board, and distributed nationally by Qualtrics, the research software company. We believe the results of this study will have significant implications for the six social media companies of focus, as well as future services determining the best way to monetize. It will also contribute to the small, but growing, body of academic literature on social media companies, sponsored posts, and user perceptions of online advertisements.
Online Privacy and Consumer Attitudes
Virtually everyone uses email and social media today. Although companies such as Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have millions of users each, making profits has been a challenge for them. Since their major source of revenue is advertising, most of these companies have resorted to selling their users’ information to advertisers in order to better target ads. This thesis aims to determine whether or not consumer privacy is compromised by these actions and how consumers react to this. We have analyzed certain target company’s respective privacy policies from a legal prospective. This allowed us to break down the legal jargon companies include and present it to consumers in an easy to understand summary. Breaking down the policies will also allow us to understand what is being said, making the policies more transparent. Social media sites privacy policies are adhesion contracts, which are nonnegotiable contracts provided to a consumer by a business. This also provides an area of study for us to delve into, breaking down the issue and providing an analysis on potential substitutes for strict adhesion contracts regarding privacy policies. In analyzing these policies, we also point out interesting and surprising findings, especially commonalities between several of the companies examined. The focus of the paper will be Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and SnapChat.
This study also surveyed consumers about their online social media usage and their attitudes toward privacy policies. The survey measures awareness of the policies consumers have already inevitably agreed to. The survey presents consumers with surprising clauses in privacy policies and report findings on the American consumer attitude on Internet privacy and microtargeted advertisements. Lastly, the paper analyzes the results, presenting the findings on consumers’ perceptions of these policies. The study concludes with ideas on how to deal with the inevitable privacy policies our society is facing today, based on our research.
More than Just Noise: Background Music and its Effect on Consumer-Brand Relationships
Consumers are often exposed to background music as part of their daily consumption experience online and in physical stores. Copious extant research suggests that pleasant music has a general positive impact on overall consumer behavior due to the pleasant music’s inherent mood-enhancing properties, and vice-versa for unpleasant music. Among other aspects, music is one of the many background factors that creates an overall brand and shopping experience which can subconsciously foster or erode a relationship between consumers and the brand in question. A defining factor of the consumer-brand relationship is its strength, which can come in a variety of forms, from simple brand attachment to something as complex deeply involved as brand love. When consumers become attached to certain brands, they develop connections towards these brands, which can build into a personality which often resonates with the consumer. However, the strength of these connections and attachments have not been widely explored.This thesis reports research related to the nature and strength of the intensity of consumer-brand relationships when affected by a manipulated background trigger – in this case, background music of both pleasant and unpleasant natures. In addition, the research explores the relationships between music preference, consumer personality, and perceived brand personality against a proven behavior modifier such as background music. Respondents were divided into six respondent groups based on the type of music tested (pleasant, unpleasant, control/no music) and the level of attachment to a particular brand (low/high) and were surveyed on their levels of attachment and their personal resonance related to the brand. Projected results indicate that all groups will be affected positively by the positive music and negatively by the negative music, regardless of brand attachment. Additional results and implications for the results will be discussed.
Marketing Implications for Benefit Corporations
Abstract forthcoming.

Finance

The Impact of Glass-Steagall and its repeal on the Financial System during the past two decades
Recently regulators and legislators have expressed the view that the limits on banking activities in the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act should be reinstated. The Volcker Rule legislated in 2010, is considered as having “Glass-Steagall Spirit”. This paper will seek to answer how the Glass-Steagall Act and its repeal impacted financial institutions’ risk-taking behavior during 1990-2010.
Traditionally, to limit the risk to bank deposits, commercial banks could only partake in depository and lending business. They are prohibited from selling or trading securities and underwriting. Investment banks, however, could not accept deposits, but could take on activities such as underwriting securing issuance, mergers and acquisitions. In 1999, Congress passed the Gramm-Leach-Billey Act to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, effectively removing the barriers between commercial banks and investment banks. In the aftermath of 2007-2008 financial crisis, the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act has been called into question. There is a large literature on how regulations affect the banking system both theoretically and empirically. The results are mixed. Ken B. Cryee argues that banks benefit from product diversification in “the erosion of the glass-steagall act: winners and losers in the banking history”, whereas Kevin Stiroh argues that marginal risk of nontraditional activities offset benefits in “a portfolio view of banking with interest and noninterest activities”.
In the paper, I address the following research questions: (a) How did the repeal of Glass-Steagall Act affect bank holding companies’ risk and return? Did bank holding companies significantly increase their risk-taking? (c) Did the repeal of Glass-Steagall contribute to the 2007-2009 financial crisis? Was risk-taking reduced and thus stability improved afterward in the banking system? In order to answer the questions, I perform an empirical study on bank holding companies from 1990-2010. Multiple regressions with panel data are applied to test the post-Glass-Steagall effect and post-crisis effect on bank profitability, stock return, stock volatility, and other risk-taking measures. The measures are (a) return on asset and return on equity as bank profitability measures, and (b) beta, stock volatility, z-score, interest income and non-interest income as a % of total income as bank risk measure. The current results suggest that Glass-Steagall Act actually reduced banks’ risks.
Value Investing and the Post Earnings Announcement Drift
This paper aims to bring together basic principles in value investing with the well researched area of post earnings announcement drift. The end goal is to see if there is any sort of measurable effect, in terms of abnormal returns, between companies that are more conservatively valued and have earnings surprises compared to companies that have higher valuations with similar surprises. The data for the paper was collected from the CRSP, COMPUSTAT, and IBES databases. The valuation metrics were measured on a quarterly basis and the price data was measured on a daily basis in order to be able to measure returns around the actual earnings announcement date. The data was collected over the period 2003-2012 on 100 companies that were randomly selected from the S&P 500 (all companies were constituents for the entire time frame). The hypothesis is that companies that are more fairly valued will experience better returns than companies with higher valuations when they experience the same level of surprise. Implications for any sort of practical use will be concluded from the fully analyzed data set.
Post 2008 Financial Crisis Hedge Fund Activism Performance
This research reviews the performance of Hedge Funds that were using shareholder activism strategies during the post 2008 Financial Crisis. The study measures the performance of a portfolio of stock positions influenced by Activist Hedge Funds during the period of 2008-2013. Firstly, I examine what factors generally enhance the returns of a public company and create additional value for shareholders. Previous studies show that these factors are a company’s governance, capital structure decisions, cash flow distributions, and operations performances. The evidence shows that Activist Hedge Funds become significant shareholders of targeted companies and strive to implement the aforementioned changes. This research proves that Activist Hedge Funds benefit from their strategy, and that within the time of the study they were able to outperform both the market (S&P 500 and Russell 1000) as well as non-activist hedge funds. The research examines the challenged post 2008 crisis investing opportunities environment. With limited lending opportunities, a high correlation between stocks, and exponential growth in the hedge fund assets under management, the research indicates that Activist Investing was one of the most opportunistic and profitable strategies during the time of study.
The Effect of the SEC's Modernization of Oil and Gas Company Disclosures on Stock Prices
Since the 1970s, oil and gas companies have used the process of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas and oil from beds of shale rock. However, recent technological innovation has spurred a surplus of oil and gas products. To account for the changing oil and gas landscape, in 2008, the Securities and Exchange Commission modernized the 1982 rules governing public oil and gas company annual disclosures. One of the biggest changes included allowing companies to include nontraditional sourced reserves, including shale oil and gas in their proven undeveloped reserves estimates by using reliable technology. Companies could also choose to voluntarily disclose reserves that would probably or possibly be recovered. Although only already recovered oil and gas supplies are reported as inventory, required proved developed and undeveloped reserves information found in the supplementary data section plays a critical role in estimating a company’s long-term value. This study follows the 100 largest oil and gas companies by market capitalization and analyzes whether the rules’ implementation in 2009 annual reports reduced information asymmetry in the marketplace by comparing it to 2008 and 2010 data. Other literature has found that the impact of the disclosure requirements depends on whether the company is a global integrated company or simply an exploration and production company. Smaller, domestic companies primarily relying on unconventional resources like shale and oil sands will see a more noticeable increase in reserves information and therefore, will see a greater change in share prices following the updated filing’s release. By comparing companies’ stances on reporting total acreage, geographical location, proved reserves, and other disclosure factors, this study aims to help investors recognize correlations between disclosures and share prices in order to make more intelligent investment decisions.
Investing in Charter Schools: How Private Firms Can Make Money in Education
This paper will analyze the role of private investment activity in the funding of charter schools and the ensuing relationship between investors and charter organizations. Specifically, this paper will look at charter schools and investors in the Northeastern region of the United States who utilized the New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC) in their relationship. Private investors, taking advantage of the federal government-run NMTC program, play a crucial role in financing many charter schools that are opened in low-income areas. Without this investment from the private sector, charter schools often struggle to obtain all of their necessary funding, as there is a limited availability of public funds to them and restrictions on for what those funds can be used.
The NMTC program was introduced by the U.S. Congress as part of the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 with the intent of materially improving low-income communities by incentivizing the private sector to invest funds into these neglected areas. The NMTC allows investors who make Qualified Equity Investments (QEIs) to legitimate Community Development Entities (CDEs) in low-income communities to receive a 39% tax credit in total on their investments if they meet certain rules and regulations, promoting community-enriching investments in impoverished areas. Charter schools in these areas often meet the necessary requirements to qualify to receive investments.
While the NMTC can be used to fund many different types of investments, it has increasingly been used to help fund charter schools in large numbers, and has helped encourage private investors to invest more funds in charters. This paper will examine the relationship between these investors and the schools they are supposedly helping to determine if the relationship is one that is truly beneficial to both parties. While there are many papers focusing on charter schools and also several papers discussing the use of the NMTC program by investors, the relationship between the two has not been analyzed in depth. The convergence of the private and public sector in education has also been covered in studies, but not the relationship between private funds and education.
This paper will first explain the history of charter schools since their introduction in the 1990s and their huge growth since that time. A description of the NMTC program and its working structure will be included. Next, the financing structure of a typical charter school will be outlined, with an explanation of the crucial role private investment plays in this structure. This paper will cover the attractiveness of the NMTC program and charter school investments to private investors. Case studies on several different charter schools utilizing the NMTC program will be introduced to the paper. Using these studies, this research will analyze the effects of the private investments on these charter schools and determine whether the relationship between private investors and public/private charter schools is truly a beneficial one for both parties. This paper begins at the local level, selecting and analyzing charters in the Northeast, specifically, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, which benefited from an NMTC investment as part of their financing of facilities, staff, and programs. The different charter schools will vary by size, location, program, and age, to help compare and contrast their funding from private and public investments. Our methodology is comparative case studies of real schools, including their missions, ownerships, and funding, as reflected in their budgets over the last two or three years. The study is interested in funding coming into the schools and how much money investors are making on their deals. All schools will remain anonymous throughout the study to promote willingness to contribute information and to keep financial information private.
These charter schools badly need facilities but cannot receive public funding like other “public schools” (taxes and other sources). Thus, their leaders and boards must go private, approaching investment firms for loans. This side of the financing has not been carefully studied, but these charter schools cannot exist and flourish without private help. We seek to determine which parties are truly benefiting from these arrangements, and hypothesize that the investors are benefiting at the expense of these low-income charter schools.
Housing Crisis’s Impact On the Banking Sector & Sovereign Debt Crisis: The Case of Spain
This thesis will explore the hypothesis that the three crises – the housing crisis, the banking crisis, and the sovereign debt crisis – are interlocking and closely related. It will begin with the general theory of the interlocking crises in the Euro Zone put forward by Jay C. Shambaugh (2012). Then, this theory will be applied to Spain to provide a case study and analysis of the three crises specific to that country. It will show how the Spanish housing crisis had a direct impact on the banking crisis through bad mortgage loans and how it affected the sovereign debt crisis by lower tax revenues and increased financial stress.
Financial Impact of Collegiate Athletic Scandals
This thesis will focus on analyzing the impact of a collegiate athletic scandal on its university. Recently, organized collegiate sports have become a major revenue stream for universities across the country. Not all athletic teams make money for the universities; in fact, 33 of 35 D-1 sports lose money on average. Football and men’s basketball are exceptions, as top programs can generate up to $65 million in revenue per season. In these sports, there is enormous pressure to win, with enormous financial rewards on the line, and, not coincidentally, these are also the two sports in which scandals most often take place. Therefore, we have focused our research on recent college football scandals due to their frequency and scale. Each of the scandals was followed by punishments, both self-inflicted and from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), including scholarship reductions, financial penalties, and postseason bans. Although the impact of these punishments can be great, they represent only part of the actual financial impact felt by a school.
Our research centers around four universities and the recent scandals that shook their athletic programs: Pennsylvania State University (2012), Ohio State University (2011), University of Southern California (2005), and the University of Alabama (2003). We analyzed each scandal as a separate case study, as each had a unique set of circumstances. The USC and Alabama scandals came about because of players receiving illegal benefits, Ohio State players illegally sold memorabilia and the athletic department covered up the behavior when notified, and Penn State, probably the most well known case, had a decade-long cover up of sexual abuse that permeated its athletic department. To analyze the impact of these scandals and their subsequential punishments, we gathered data from the Department of Education, NCAA game records, and university and media publications. Our measurables included program revenues, attendance, team performance, transfers and administration changes.
The projected results of our study present mixed implications about the impact of these scandals and their punishments on the university. It appears that the severity of the punishment plays a large role in the short-term performance of the university. However, upon conclusion of their sanctions, schools tend to return to their previous level of performance and prominence. Based on our findings, it is unclear whether the NCAA’s sanctions have the desired effect on these guilty programs.

Presentation Abstracts: 2013

Accounting

The United States: From GAAP to IFRS
The United States is considering a switch from the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Although IFRS is currently used in a number of countries around the world, the U.S. still abides by its own unique rule set. There are a number of key differences between the two methods that will result in various changes in the business world if IFRS were to be implemented. The most fundamental difference is that GAAP is rule-based while IFRS is more principle-based. This means that by employing IFRS, there will be greater room for interpretation, allowing different companies to follow these principles in different ways. This will result in tangible changes in how certain transactions are recorded between the two standards, but will simplify comparisons between statements from different countries.While steps have been taken in the United States to ease the convergence process, there are still many obstacles to a full implementation of IFRS. By outlining the creation of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the development of International Accounting Standards into IFRS, the authors were able to set the stage for an examination of the effects that the U.S. would experience if this switch took place. The authors analyzed the accounting differences that exist between these two standards by looking at the adjustments and reconciliations that companies made to comply with US GAAP and acknowledged the drastic differences that can result in earnings recorded. In addition, the authors have reviewed the most recent pronouncements regarding the convergence process and have summarized what the SEC and IFRS Foundation have concluded, in order to create a detailed snapshot of the current state of this issue.
The Effect of Dividend Tax Rates on Firm Behavior
This research studies the impact of both actual and potential increases of the dividend and capital gains tax rates in the United States at the end of 2012. At the beginning of 2013, the 2003 Bush era tax cuts were set to expire without legislative action, and would have caused the highest marginal tax rates on dividends and capital gains to increase to 43.4% and 23.8% respectively (both marginal tax rates sat at 15% in 2012). Actual legislation on Jan. 1, 2013 caused both dividends and capital gains tax rates to rise less dramatically, but still increase, to 23.8%.There has been a great deal of research on the impact of dividend tax rates; two major theories have emerged. The traditional view claims that dividend tax rates do have a major effect on firm’s choices on dividend policy, while the new view supports the belief that dividend decisions are made independent of tax rates. The authors hypothesize, in line with the traditional view, that dividend tax rates should impact firms’ decisions in the way they choose to return capital to shareholders and how they choose to finance themselves. Specifically, the authors hypothesize that firms will respond meaningfully to an increase in dividend tax rates by increasing the number of special dividends issued and shifting regular dividend payments to avoid the tax increase.
The authors find from historical dividend data collected from the CRSP database that expected and actual increases in individual level dividend tax rates cause firms to issue special dividends and shift regular dividends into lower tax periods, as the authors observed a significant spike in special dividends and an increase in firms changing year-end dividend payable dates into 2012. The authors believe that this study adds to existing tax literature with an updated real-time example of how dividend taxation has real and significant impacts on how firms choose to distribute earnings to shareholders.

Economics

Major League Baseball: Unlimited Spending and its Effect on America's Pastime
This thesis project examines the effect that limitless spending has on the competitive balance of Major League Baseball. The paper uncovers and amplifies these effects by comparing competitive balance in MLB with the competitive balance of the National Football League and the National Basketball Association. In all three leagues, there is a positive correlation between team payrolls and winning percentages. However, the strongest correlation between these variables exists in baseball due to the absence of a salary cap. Wealthier teams in MLB spend at much higher levels than the rest of the league, creating large disparities in overall spending. These large spending disparities make it difficult for teams that are not as wealthy to become and remain competitive. Therefore, while revenue sharing and salary caps all but eliminate spending disparities and promote competitive balance in the NFL and NBA, Major League Baseball’s economic structure gives rise to considerable differences in team by team payroll, which in turn, has severely weakened competitive balance in the game of baseball.
Cigarette Consumption and Tax Rates: An Economic and Policy Analysis
Economists commonly cite cigarettes as the classic example of an inelastic good. The United States government has imposed a federal cigarette tax per pack of cigarettes sold as a method of raising revenue and public health prevention. The current federal tax per pack of cigarettes is $1.01. However, individual states also have the right to tax cigarettes in the form of an additional excise tax. These taxes vary depending on the state, from a high of $4.35 per pack in New York, to a low of $.17 in Missouri. The economics of cigarette consumption is highly relevant today as state, local and federal government entities attempt to increase revenues and as public health prevention becomes a more prominent paradigm in healthcare as a result of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. This study seeks to examine the effectiveness of state excise taxes on packs of cigarettes as a way to inhibit their consumption.The paper is organized as follows: the first section briefly traces the history in the U.S. of cigarette consumption, its taxation, and the associated health issues. The third and fourth sections of the presentation discuss the previous research on the efficiency and incidence effects of cigarette taxation, and the data used in the empirical analysis. The final sections of the paper discuss the empirical model of the determinants of cigarette smoking, the results of the estimation, and will conclude with a public policy recommendation on tax rates and public health expenditures based on results in the paper. Through literature review, demand elasticity analysis, and by use of multivariable regression, the effectiveness of higher excise taxes as a public health measure will be analyzed
Economics without Borders: Exploring New Connections between European Economic Activity and Latin American Gross Domestic Product
This paper is intended to evaluate the association of European GDP, currency, banks’ international assets, and sovereign bond yields with Latin American GDP. In the US, the author observes that bank loans are related to GDP within the single economy (Lown, Morgan, and Rohatgi 2000). Given the strong cultural connections between Europe and Latin America (Sunkel 1972), the researchers believe there is a likelihood that behavior from these two regions that is similar to that of a single economy. Specially, the focus is on whether there is a relationship between European economic activity and Latin American GDP. Correlation and regression testing of data for six Latin American countries’ GDP change was performed to determine the association with changes in European GDP, international bank assets, sovereign bond yields, and currency valuations for seven European countries. The research controlled for log real GDP per capita, inflation, total trade, interest rates, and currency valuations in the six Latin American countries tested. Thus far, there are significant correlations between Latin American GDP and European GDP, banks’ international assets, and sovereign bond yields; the authors also find that approximately 27% of the average change in Argentine GDP is explained by the change in Italian GDP.

Finance

The Effect of Dividend Tax Rates on Firm Behavior
This research studies the impact of both actual and potential increases of the dividend and capital gains tax rates in the United States at the end of 2012. At the beginning of 2013, the 2003 Bush era tax cuts were set to expire without legislative action, and would have caused the highest marginal tax rates on dividends and capital gains to increase to 43.4% and 23.8% respectively (both marginal tax rates sat at 15% in 2012). Actual legislation on Jan. 1, 2013 caused both dividends and capital gains tax rates to rise less dramatically, but still increase, to 23.8%.There has been a great deal of research on the impact of dividend tax rates; two major theories have emerged. The traditional view claims that dividend tax rates do have a major effect on firm’s choices on dividend policy, while the new view supports the belief that dividend decisions are made independent of tax rates. The authors hypothesize, in line with the traditional view, that dividend tax rates should impact firms’ decisions in the way they choose to return capital to shareholders and how they choose to finance themselves. Specifically, the authors hypothesize that firms will respond meaningfully to an increase in dividend tax rates by increasing the number of special dividends issued and shifting regular dividend payments to avoid the tax increase.The authors find from historical dividend data collected from the CRSP database that expected and actual increases in individual level dividend tax rates cause firms to issue special dividends and shift regular dividends into lower tax periods, as the authors observed a significant spike in special dividends and an increase in firms changing year-end dividend payable dates into 2012. The authors believe that this study adds to existing tax literature with an updated real-time example of how dividend taxation has real and significant impacts on how firms choose to distribute earnings to shareholders.
The Impact of Leveraged Buyouts on Corporate Governance
Over the past thirty years, a growing body of research has shown that investments in U.S leveraged buyouts (“LBOs”) have outperformed their public market counterparts. A significant reason for this outperformance has been attributed to the “value-add” strategies pursued by General Partners. In order to create value with a LBO, General Partners apply “corporate governance shock therapy.” As the majority shareholder, they implement performance-based incentives, closely monitor executives, drive value creation by focusing on financial indicators, exercise stewardship through the board of directors, and emphasize due diligence, transparency, and shareholder activism.This thesis seeks to demonstrate that the interests of managers and shareholders are more closely aligned during leveraged buyouts than when the firms are public. The paper studies the effect that leveraged buyouts have on corporate governance from the lens of agency theory. The literature has shown that firms with stronger corporate governance (stronger shareholder rights) outperform their peers with respect to both market-based and accounting-based benchmarks.The paper builds on the existing body of literature by applying a quantitative methodology to measuring corporate governance before and after the leveraged buyout. Specifically, the paper uses the “Corporate Governance Index” developed by Gompers, Ishii, and Metrick, and matches that dataset with a list of U.S. Leveraged Buyouts between 1980 and 2010 from S&P Capital IQ. These findings are analyzed with the hypothesis being that the “Corporate Governance Index” increases as the firm nears its LBO (indicating more managerial control), and is lowest (indicating highest shareholder rights) immediately after going public. For firms that have data both before and after an LBO (so-called public-private-publics, or reverse LBOS), the “Corporate Governance Index” is expected to decrease over the period that it is private, indicating an improvement in corporate governance due to the leveraged buyout.
Leveraged ETF Returns vs. Investor Expectations
Over the past decade, the growth of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) has had a tremendous impact on financial markets and has also added to the markets’ complexity. Through ETFs, investors have easier access to indices, markets, and sectors that were previously difficult to invest in due to capital requirements and trade execution difficulties. Investors were not completely satisfied with these broadened investment opportunities, however, and leveraged ETFs were created to provide multiples (2X, 3X, -1X, etc.) of daily returns on indices such as the S&P 500 or VIX. As people began to invest in these leveraged funds though, they realized that they were not receiving the exact multiple of returns that they thought they were going to receive. Due to compounding, fund management errors, expenses fees, and other factors, leveraged ETFs deviate from investor expectations of return.This research analyzes why exchange-traded products deviate from investor expectations of leveraged returns, and how ETF investors can rebalance their investments to achieve their desired return. This analysis is a two-step process. First, the author looks at the leveraged ETF structure to determine where deviations occur and what causes these separations between ETF returns and investor expected returns. Second, given these deviations, a rebalancing method is offered for investors to achieve the desired leveraged returns for investors. Overall, the research’s aim to offer a guide to leveraged ETFs for investors and a way for these investors to achieve their desired leveraged investment objective.
Twitter: Now Predicting Stock Returns
Does Twitter contain predictive insight into future movements in stock price? This paper utilizes newly available Twitter data to expand on prior research into the viability of using social media platforms, search engine analytics and retail investor commentary as a proxy for investor sentiment, with respect specifically to price movements in the S&P 500’s top 30 companies by market capitalization during the year 2012. Prior research on Twitter has relied primarily on the real-time collection of tweets over an arbitrary period of time; for the first time, however, the entire historical Twitter corpus is available for filtering and analysis. The authors purchased from this archive a randomized, 1/100th sample of historical tweeting data that mentioned the selected companies during the year 2012. Individual tweets will be run through a linguistics engine to create a sentiment score for each stock during various time periods. Based on prior research, the authors expect to find a positive correlation between positive sentiment and increases in stock price, as well as between negative sentiment and decreases in stock price. As the search for actionable information underlies this research, the authors finally propose and back-test a trading strategy that they expect will outperform the market return for the year 2012, a period of severe volatility and flight from the equity markets.
Why Is Bank Consolidation in The United States Beneficial for Small Business Lending?
The United States has been in a period of accelerated consolidation in the financial services industry for the last two decades. This economic phenomenon raises the issue of the availability of loanable funds for small businesses, which is detrimental to the sustainability of economic growth. Consolidation has been beneficial for large banks due to an increase in economies of scale, improvements in payment system efficiency, and cost reduction. Nonetheless, the most recent agglomeration of banks has aggravated the information problem of moral hazard and adverse selection when dealing with small business lending.This honors thesis investigates the effects of the relationship between banking consolidation and small business lending in the United States. It explores whether efforts to mitigate information asymmetries between lender and borrower frees up available capital for small businesses. This research models the effects of information asymmetries within the financial industry combined with fixed wages.The paper finds that a bank’s corporate governance determines the optimal relationship between bank consolidation and small business lending. When a bank simply accepts without mitigating the information asymmetries, it is referred to as the centralized structure. On the other hand, a bank that hires employees to mitigate the information asymmetries is referred to as the decentralized structure. This dichotomy is evaluated based on the information asymmetries and fixed wages of employees of banks. The model of this research paper investigates the importance of corporate governance, not simply the market capitalization of the financial institutions, which determines the way large banks deal with small business lending.

Healthcare & Pharmaceutical

Pharmaceutical Offshoring
The downtrend in R&D productivity depicts that the pharmaceutical industry is on the verge of decline in its business life cycle. However, despite the slowdown, how has Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical company, remained the largest revenue and research based company? With the rising competition from generic drugs, expiring patents, and productivity decreases, it is vital for Pfizer to persist in competitiveness and maximize sales margins in order to remain profitable. Intensive research has compiled details on Pfizer between the years 1995 to 2011 according to its financial information, company information, industrial information, and offshore activities. Through data evaluation, one key trend that has become evident is an increase in Pfizer’s offshoring activities. Furthermore, Pfizer’s business strategies were compared with those of Bristol Myers Squibb. It was found that both of these Pharmaceutical giants have focused on different diseases and that Pfizer is more inclined to offshore. In the last 10 years, pharmaceutical companies started to offshore their clinical trials and drug discovery processes to developing nations like India, China, Singapore, South Korea and Belgium. Benefits such as cost advantages in clinical trials, patient recruitment, and access to skilled labor forces such as medical staff have initiated such movements. Finally, it can be said that the emergence of pharmaceutical companies in new markets gives this industry access to global pools of talent that could achieve medical milestones
How the Development and Adoption of Technologies Affect the Health Care Industry: An Application to the Case of Drug-Eluting Stents
From 1980 to 2010, United States health care expenditures doubled from 9% to 18% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Economists have often claimed that a majority of the growth in health care spending has been a result of technological development. This research examines how the adoption of new technologies increases the quality of care within the industry, but also greatly increases medical costs. In order to create a comprehensive picture of how technology is adopted in health care markets a review was conducted of the economic literature on technological adoption theories and empirical patterns, and the diffusion of the drug-eluting stent as a case study. This technology aids in repairing damaged arteries in patients with coronary artery disease, who are in many cases heart attack patients. The study reviews the market during the adoption process of this technology from 2003 through 2009, specifically analyzing the effects of cost-effectiveness research, data on rates of adoption and reimbursement, and the dynamic patterns of the market shares of firms who created this technology. This case-specific research has detailed its rapid adoption, and how that adoption has affected the financial situations of the firms involved. While the adoption was financially beneficial to the companies who developed the stents, it is now recognized that it was adopted too rapidly by hospitals, and as a result unnecessarily increased health care cost growth. By understanding the stages this technology went through and how this technology was inefficiently adopted, tools can be designed to make future technological adoption more cost effective. While no solution will benefit all players in the health care system, this research focuses on outlining the financial balancing act that needs to be addressed in the future to slow cost growth but keep the most effective technology available to patients and providers.
Cigarette Consumption and Tax Rates: An Economic and Policy Analysis
Economists commonly cite cigarettes as the classic example of an inelastic good. The United States government has imposed a federal cigarette tax per pack of cigarettes sold as a method of raising revenue and public health prevention. The current federal tax per pack of cigarettes is $1.01. However, individual states also have the right to tax cigarettes in the form of an additional excise tax. These taxes vary depending on the state, from a high of $4.35 per pack in New York, to a low of $.17 in Missouri. The economics of cigarette consumption is highly relevant today as state, local and federal government entities attempt to increase revenues and as public health prevention becomes a more prominent paradigm in healthcare as a result of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. This study seeks to examine the effectiveness of state excise taxes on packs of cigarettes as a way to inhibit their consumption.The paper is organized as follows: the first section briefly traces the history in the U.S. of cigarette consumption, its taxation, and the associated health issues. The third and fourth sections of the presentation discuss the previous research on the efficiency and incidence effects of cigarette taxation, and the data used in the empirical analysis. The final sections of the paper discuss the empirical model of the determinants of cigarette smoking, the results of the estimation, and will conclude with a public policy recommendation on tax rates and public health expenditures based on results in the paper. Through literature review, demand elasticity analysis, and by use of multivariable regression, the effectiveness of higher excise taxes as a public health measure will be analyzed.

Information Technology

The Impact of Digital Technologies: Delivering Value to Customers and Organizations
This study will analyze the influence of the use of technology in the restaurant industry in respect to delivering value to customers and the organization. This technology primarily includes Point of Sale Systems, digital menus such as tablets, and online activities such as social media, online delivery services and reviews. Interactions with technology include the process of ordering food, efficiency, service time, accuracy, and building customer relations. This thesis looks at the past, present, and future of the use of technology in restaurants and the theories in trying to deliver value and gain competitive advantage. Restaurants and businesses are turning to technology to keep up with customers’ trends and maintain advantage. Through secondary and primary research this thesis describes theories and methods of customer-oriented and technology-oriented businesses.
Hits to Ticks: The Impact of Website Popularity on S&P 500 Firms' Performance
Corporate websites are an important way to exchange information with stakeholders; driving sales by informing prospective customers and increasing investors’ perception through well thought out investor relation pages. As such, corporate websites can be sources of competitive advantage. This study hopes to determine whether firms with greater unique page hits have a greater chance to command higher performance metrics such as sales and net income, as well as valuation metrics such as price-to-earnings and price-to-sales metrics.This study examines the value relevance of unique page views (UPV) by exploring relationships with performance and valuation measures for the firms in the S&P 500 index. This sample serves as a proxy for the general market and allows us to segment by industry groups. This research updates and expands upon a body of literature mostly conducted in the early 2000’s during the post-tech bubble period. The page view data encompass the period June 2011 to June 2012; Compete.com, a website analytics service, provides that data. The Capital IQ Compustat database supplies financial, valuation and industry data.The authors utilize Spearman rank correlations and multiple regression analyses. Multivariate regression includes control variables for firm size, financial leverage, liquidity, industry performance and corporate governance. Using the entire sample, the authors find that unique page hits is significantly positively correlated with financial metrics, such as total sales, net income, sales turnover and return on assets. Results for valuation measures such as price-to-earnings ratio, market-to-equity ratio and price-to-sales are mixed. The authors then segment the total sample subgroups by one-digit-SIC code to examine the same relationships for various industries. Results here are also mixed.The results can help quantitatively determine whether more popular corporate websites are related to higher performance and valuation metrics. The authors can better understand which industries are most impacted by the popularity of corporate websites.

Legal

Intellectual Property Law in the Fashion Industry
The fashion industry is arguably the most highly competitive market in today’s world. With increasing access to information in our global society, paired with one of the lowest barriers of entry, fashion designers’ must do whatever they can in order to stay competitive. Considering the almost $300 billion, and growing, global counterfeit industry, and a wide variety of designs and designers at all different price points, a designers’ two strongest assets are brand and design.While intellectual property laws exist to protect individuals’ who craft innovative, original creations, these protections have fallen short in regards to the fashion industry. One problem is that pursuit and enforcement of these successfully obtained properties has been lackluster at best. Additionally, appeals to the public by designers, corporations, and individuals in the industry have gone largely ignored. The most effective way for designers’ to combat these opposing forces is to analyze each of the various intellectual property protections available to ascertain which will provide the highest, most applicable protection to their designs.Obtaining any type of intellectual property protection is not really an issue, especially if one has deep pockets and power, like the fashion industry. The problem lays in the actual enforceability of these protections once they are held. Simply having a patent, for example, does not necessarily make it admissible or acceptable if challenged in court. The challenge for designers looking to legally uphold their ownership of designs and brands is which category of intellectual property protections to pursue.The research will address this problem by considering each type of intellectual property, and analyzing their various nuances and actual, real-life applicability in the fashion industry. Through dissecting copyrights, trademark, and trade dress law, the benefits and pitfalls of each category will be shown to ultimately prove that trade dress is the superior legal format in order for fashion designers to protect their designs and intellectual property.
From The Burger Court To The Roberts Court: An Investigation Into The Crafting of An Equal Protection Doctrine That Allows Race-Based Affirmative Action To Perpetuate
In 1978, the Supreme Court of the United States, in its famous case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, issued an opinion that first allowed race to be considered a factor in the admissions process of a public institution of higher education. Since then, the Court had been closely divided as to the appropriate level of judicial review that a party was entitled to when being adversely affected by the government’s racial classifications in race-based affirmative action programs. Although the Court’s disagreement on the issue was ultimately settled in 1995 by the ruling of Adarand Constructors v. Pena, the Court remains closely divided as to the manner in which the constitutional standard should be observed. This thesis will examine the development of race-based affirmative action both prior to and subsequent to the ruling of Adarand, with special focus on issues that the Court was or remains closely divided on. In doing so, the author argues that at certain times, the Court’s majority, through broadening the scope under which race-based affirmative action was deemed permissible, must have intended to allow affirmative action to perpetuate. To do so, the thesis will also discuss the constitutional history behind race-based affirmative action, major constitutional philosophies subscribed by a number of justices in the Supreme Court, and their opinions included in certain landmark rulings of race-based affirmative action.

Marketing

The Effect of Brand Congruity and Consumer Behavior on Perceptions of Co-branded Products
In the past, classic Band-Aid Brand bandages have aligned with various brands such as Neosporin, The Muppets, and clothing designer Cynthia Rowley, to reach multiple market segments. Band-Aid Brand® has served as the inspiration behind this study of co-branded products, which leverage the most desirable aspects of each brand. This study will reveal changes in consumer perceptions as a result of co-branded products using four versions of a survey that combine alias brands with a fictional brand (inspired by Band-Aid) to create a co-branded bandage. Each brand combination differs in functionality and prestige. In the survey, consumer perceptions of each individual brand are measured. Then, respondents answer a set of questions about the cobranded bandage, followed by a post assessment of each brand after the cobrand has been introduced into the market. By measuring likability, happiness towards the brands and co-brand, reliability, purchase intent, and satisfaction in retail, the authors hope to develop an understanding of whether or not individual brand perceptions change in response to a cobrand and an understanding of the ideal level of inter-brand congruency for a low-involvement product category such as a consumer healthcare product. The results of this study reflect consumers’ preference of high overall brand congruency in brand collaboration when shopping for low-involvement products. This study will also reflect consumers’ perception about brand congruency when considering each measured dependent variable separately. The insights gleaned from this study will contribute to cobranding strategy.

Media

Understanding Generation Y's Social Media Behavior
Generation Y, as defined by those currently between the ages of 18 and 30, is composed of a large amount of Facebook users. Facebook fan pages have become a major way in which these individuals are able to interact with brands in a direct way. Because of this, Facebook fan pages have become an integral part of brands’ marketing and public relations campaigns. This study focuses on the different ways in which consumers are able to interact with brands on Facebook, as well as the behavior and personality of Facebook users. Many studies have found a connection between specific personality traits and Facebook use, especially extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to new experiences. There has been little research done regarding the interaction between Facebook users and brand fan pages, holding implications for how brands utilize Facebook as a marketing resource. This study proposes a model connecting levels of the aforementioned different personality traits with two contrasting modes of Facebook behavior characterized by a one-to-one or one-to-many interaction type, respectively called communicating and broadcasting. Extraversion and openness to new experiences are proposed to be positively correlated with broadcasting mode and negatively correlated with communicating mode. Neuroticism is proposed to be positively correlated with communicating mode and negatively correlated with broadcasting mode. The study also connects these modes with the ways in which consumers interact with brands’ Facebook fan pages, specifically the behaviors of liking and commenting. Communicating mode is proposed to be positively correlated with only liking behavior, while broadcasting mode to be correlated with both liking and commenting behavior. The study uses a web survey with a random sample of 18-30 year olds to test the proposed model. The results are compared across demographic variables such as age and gender, through which conclusions are made concerning different groups within Generation Y.
Media Consumption and Its Effects: On Youth Voters and Their Political Behavior
This research is focused on the effect that different channels of media have on a voter dependent on their age. The primary focus of this relationship will be on youth voters, those aged 18-24, and comparisons will be centered around this voting demographic relative to other age groups typically segmented for political analysis.The primary tool for the research is a two-part survey based around the most recent US General Election on November 6th, 2012 with questions focusing primarily on the Presidential race. The first survey was distributed days before Election Day focused on intended political behavior and media consumption habits. The second survey was distributed after Election Day and focused on what political behavior had taken place and what influence participants felt that different media channels had on their thoughts or decisions. The second survey was completed by the same sample that had completed the first survey to draw comparisons in the first survey administered. After statistical analysis of the responses the authors expect a significant difference in how media channels (primarily internet news sites and social media platforms) affect how the youth voter interacted in this election. Such interactions included submitting a vote, engaging with friends or family in a political discussion, or donating to a political candidate or cause amongst other forms of political engagement. Past research has established connections between media and political behavior but not specific to youth voters. This research hopes to show what channels are most effective in reaching a youth voter with a significantly weaker connection to political behaviors in an election season.
Twitter: Now Predicting Stock Returns
Does Twitter contain predictive insight into future movements in stock price? This paper utilizes newly available Twitter data to expand on prior research into the viability of using social media platforms, search engine analytics and retail investor commentary as a proxy for investor sentiment, with respect specifically to price movements in the S&P 500’s top 30 companies by market capitalization during the year 2012. Prior research on Twitter has relied primarily on the real-time collection of tweets over an arbitrary period of time; for the first time, however, the entire historical Twitter corpus is available for filtering and analysis. The authors purchased from this archive a randomized, 1/100th sample of historical tweeting data that mentioned the selected companies during the year 2012. Individual tweets will be run through a linguistics engine to create a sentiment score for each stock during various time periods. Based on prior research, the authors expect to find a positive correlation between positive sentiment and increases in stock price, as well as between negative sentiment and decreases in stock price. As the search for actionable information underlies this research, the authors finally propose and back-test a trading strategy that they expect will outperform the market return for the year 2012, a period of severe volatility and flight from the equity markets.

 

Presentation Abstracts: 2012

Accounting

The Revisions Included in SFAS 141(R) and Their Impact on Financial Reporting
The last decade has caused consumers, in particular, to be skeptical of financial markets. The numerous fraudulent accounting scandals that shocked the world in 2001, including Enron, World Com, Adelphi, and Tyco, exposed a gap in the thoroughness and in the consistency of financial reporting standards. While the implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley created tighter regulations on the accounting industry in the United States, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) launched an initiative to create a more universal approach to accounting for business combinations. This joint project to create uniformity in global mergers and acquisitions amongst other business transactions resulted in the creation of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) 141(R) and International Accounting Standard (IAS) 27. In the revised reporting standards, a company discloses its business acquisitions in a manner that is truer to the fair market value of the acquisitions than it had been reported prior to these issuances. Therefore, the paper seeks to explain the differences in the method of accounting for business combinations and to demonstrate, through hypothetical financial statement analysis, the actual differences in reporting that arise as a result of this change for a practitioner. Although the acquisition process remains the same, under SFAS 141 R the fair valuation of the net income, assets, and earnings per share of the consolidated corporation are greater than that of the consolidated entity under SFAS 141.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Economic Incentives For Corporate Social Responsibility
The growth of industrial corporations has created significant ecological negative externalities, which are most heavily experienced by developing nations. The challenge of sustainability is to balance economic development with social justice and environmental preservation. Researchers have identified corporate social responsibility, consumer purchasing power, and government regulations as key factors in addressing complex environmental problems. What roles and strategies should each influential party adopt so as to balance ecologically beneficial behavior with economic efficiency? A variety of research methods are being used in order to project an approach to this problem that should be taken over the next few decades. A literature review focuses on works by William McDonough, Michael Braungart, and Daniel Goleman that emphasizes the roles of businesses and consumers in devising responsible strategies for sustainable development. Additionally, in order to determine which tactics will have the greatest impact, further examination of other statistical research done in this field will reveal how each party has been involved, historically, and to what extend did their actions affect our economy. This paper argues that these three parties should work together, especially where their activities intersect. It models corporations, consumers, and the government as each part of a three-circle venn-diagram where all pieces affect one another, but some areas overlap most. The particular overlapping portions illuminate where those parties, together, have the greatest influence on our economy. These places then become the focus for future policy and strategies that should be implemented in order to bolster the environment and economy. For example, technological advancements demonstrate significant shifts in our markets for both demanders and suppliers. Innovative technology for renewable energy is being developed increasingly by corporations, which now receive government subsidies to financially assist in their projects. These two institutions working together allows for a greater amount of consumers to participate in this market through lower costs, therefore spreading the growth of these technologies and boosting the economy. For the common good, findings will demonstrate the need for economic incentives to reduce our waste and consumption patterns, which will provide a cycle of positive consumer and producer externalities.

Economics

The Impact of Tax Policy on Economic Competitiveness in the Nordic Model: Implications for the United States
Taxation represents a transfer of wealth from individuals, households, or businesses to the government to support a range of services or facilities. Many prominent schools of economic thought suggest that, in most circumstances, taxation imposes a loss of economic welfare and efficiency on individuals, businesses, and nations. This implies that a country with a high tax burden should experience diminished productivity on the individual level, reduced incentives for innovation on the business level, and depressed economic competiveness on the national level. Nordic countries, such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland, levy some of the world’s heaviest tax burdens on average to support extensive welfare states and other varied government functions. For example, as a percentage of GDP, government tax revenue represented 48.2% and 46.4% in 2009 in Denmark and Sweden, respectively. In comparison, United States tax revenue as a percentage of GDP was 24.0%. One would anticipate the United States therefore to outrank Sweden and Denmark in both competitiveness and innovation, but the reality of the situation belies some economic theory. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Reports, many of these Nordic nations consistently rank similarly to the United States in both competitiveness and innovation, among other metrics, despite significantly higher tax burdens. The research’s goal will be to study the impact of changes in the tax burden over time in Nordic economies compared with other major global economies. Depending on the results, the hope is to draw conclusions that are pertinent to economic theories of taxation and provide some insight into pervading fiscal policy in the United States.
Human Capacity Building For International Economic Development in Rural Communities: A Case Study
Human capacity building is a prerequisite for the development of successful business enterprises in developing economies. The transfer of general business knowledge can validate business practices currently being used in rural communities. Sustainable business strategies offer a platform for successful development of formal business systems in rural communities. We test these hypotheses through our on-site service-learning project developed as part of a 2-year collaboration with community partner ViviendasLeon and our Business Honors Cohort Program. The project team had the opportunity to be ethnographers, travelling to Goyena, Nicaragua to act as both observers and participants in a reciprocal learning opportunity. As a function of the work in this rural community outside of Leon, we engaged in action research: training and working with members of two cooperatives as well as gathering and analyzing field data conducted over a one-week period of service learning and study in this rural community. Fragmentation of early cottage industry development in both a bee keeping and sewing cooperative provided an opportunity to audit existing business models. Using ethnographic methods as engaged service learners, we used the work and home stay arrangement to examine and analyze emotions in the workplace; affect in organizational dynamics; and how courage and cowardice play out in negotiation, leadership, and workplace behavior. Our methodology also explored the cultural implications of globalized business through interaction with members of the cooperatives. An analysis of our findings identifies how internalized knowledge of (i) profit and revenue management, (ii) product development, (iii) culturally-sensitive marketing, (iv) material sourcing, and (v) profitable vendor relationships are the hallmark characteristics of successful rural businesses. As a function of deep reflection and content analysis, we are able to provide empirical evidence in a case study of the Goyena community and in particular, demonstrate that modern business practices may be adapted and used to formalize and effectively structure current rural business operations for economic sustainability.
Corporate Fraud & Economic Factors in the United States
This thesis aims to examine the possible link between corporate fraud occurrences and economic factors in the United States since 1984. The hypothesis holds that a disproportionate amount of corporate frauds will surface as economic data shows periods of slowdown. Conversely, the hypothesis also holds that periods of economic growth and expansion will result in fewer instances of fraud uncovered. The hypothesis is derived from the famous Warren Buffet quote “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” Frauds are less likely to be discovered when the economy is going strong; investors have no incentive to blow the whistle because they are more satisfied with their ample returns than questioning the source of those returns. Once the economy begins to falter, the need for liquidity and proof become much stronger, and frauds are more likely to surface. The paper will focus exclusively on the United States, both in terms of corporate fraud occurrences and economic data, for consistency and reliability purposes. There are extensive amounts of data for the United States in terms of fraud instances and economic data, and the reliability of these statistics is much higher than compared to other nations. The biggest contribution this paper will make to academia is the unique approach of the methodology when it comes to its treatment of fraud. Rather than a case study looking at one fraud or even a specific group of frauds, this study attempts to compile an exhaustive list of frauds and white collar crime since 1984, and relate the dates of the original finding of these frauds to economic and regulatory factors to examine the interaction between these factors and the occurrences of fraud in Corporate America. This combination of historical fraud data as well as economic data will hopefully provide a unique and pertinent view for future generations to predict, prepare, and prevent numerous instances of corporate fraud.

Finance

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) and their Acquisitions
Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) are blank-check companies that raise funds from investors through a public offering of shares and warrants (known as an Unit IPO) for the purpose of buying a private firm. SPACS have no assets or business plan and their only intent is to acquire an operational business in the future. Having only gained popularity in the last decade, there has been very little research into the nature of firms that are the target for SPAC acquisitions, with most research centering around short-term performance statistics. A SPAC transaction effectively takes an existing business and makes it publicly traded, i.e. a SPAC acquisition is an alternate approach to firms going public. It is interesting and useful to examine what differentiates a traditional IPO from a SPAC IPO. This research will look to explore the situations that cause a company to pursue a SPAC transaction and the unique deal process and structure that these deals offer. This work expands on the current literature that has only examined the short term performance statistics of SPAC transactions. The primary research will be based on a case-study method, investigating several deals in detail and examine the environment that spawned these deals. The propose is to follow the money trail and analyze the returns to see the incentives of the SPAC founder, the investors, and the target acquisition. The research on SPACs will serve to better evaluate the pros and cons of these specialized transactions.
Do Shareholders Penalize Bank Boards and Management for the Financial Crisis?
The 2007-2008 financial crisis was a pervasive shock that profoundly impacted the financial services industry, resulting in mergers, leadership changes, and even the collapse of entire firms. Often described as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, this event provides a unique opportunity to examine the consequences experienced by members of boards of directors and top management at bank holding companies for failures in oversight and excessive risk taking. Specifically, the study examines whether shareholders penalize directors and top management at banks and provides some new evidence of the crisis’s impact on management careers. Using the 35 largest American bank holding corporations by assets as a sample, this study examines Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & director turnover; CEO, executive, and director compensation; and director reelection percentages. Data on bank boards and management was collected from Form DEF 14A Definitive Proxy Statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the ExecuComp database. The analysis studies CEOs and top management separately and care is taken to account for board features (such as classified and non-classified boards; board committee membership; and length of tenure) and examines the impact of the crisis over different time periods between 2007 and 2011. Did shareholders indicate their disapproval of banks’ boards of directors during and after the financial crisis? If so, might such disapproval be correlated with shareholder-imposed changes in management, compensation, or board and firm structure? The study’s findings will allow us to determine whether shareholders are active in monitoring the performance of boards and managers. Preliminary analysis suggests a statistically significant decrease in executive compensation, a spike in CEO and director turnover, directors winning reelection by smaller margins, and a decrease in average board size between 2007 and 2011 – all in accordance with what current corporate governance theory predicts. Further analysis is needed, however, to take into account features in the data such as correlations among the variables. The findings of the study will give insight into how we should analyze corporate governance when examining the impact of other such events; for example some effects may be distinguishable only after, and not during, the event. In addition, our findings will shed light on how shareholders exercise their oversight of firms and will have important policy implications on how to strengthen corporate governance.
The Impact of Globalization on U.S. Private Equity Performance
This paper explores the performance of U.S. private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) firms investing internationally, with focus on emerging markets. Investing internationally offers substantial benefits. This paper investigates two major benefits and whether they can be extended to U.S. PE & VC investments. One is the potentially higher return from fast growing emerging markets. The other one is the benefit of diversification. Prior studies have demonstrated that diversified asset allocation should out-perform the domestic-only allocation by providing the same return with lower risk. In order to test the application of this theory, the paper compares the historical performance of firms who invest internationally and those who invest domestically, and attempts to provide a quantitative interpretation of whether globalization can improve the U.S. PE & VC performance. The first part is the evaluation of gross return and risk-adjusted return; the second part is the correlations of PE & VC investment returns between U.S. and other markets; finally, with the metrics calculated, several markets and industries are selected to construct different portfolios, and analyze possible performance differences based on different selections.
A Test of The Accuracy of A Reduced Form Bond Pricing Model When Valuing Bonds of Various Ratings
The purpose of this paper is to test a reduced form bond pricing model developed by Robert Jarrow and Stuart Turnbull. The model is applied to bonds in different ratings classes, and over various stages of the business cycle. The model, created in 1995, is considered to be the original reduced form model and implements a binomial lattice approach to value debt. In this paper, the model will be recreated and a variety of corporate bonds will be tested. Upon the completion of the study, we will see how the accuracy of the Jarrow-Turnbull model varies when pricing both investment-grade and non-investment-grade bonds and during economic peaks and troughs.
Underraction Bias Toward Corporate Event Announcements: One Reason Why Value Outperforms Growth
This paper will analyze under-reaction bias, and measure its influence on growth and value stocks after the announcement of a series of positive or negative corporate news events. The study will cover a ten-year period, focus on stocks in the consumer staples sector, and utilize four types of corporate events. The research hopes to observe that value stocks provide a larger cumulative abnormal return than growth stocks, assuming investors under-react to short-term information prior to a corporate event and to the information conveyed by the event itself. This paper will add to the body of evidence in support of the under-reaction model. It may also provide another reason for why value stocks tend to outperform growth stocks and what events may lead this to happen.
A Comparative Analysis of the Financial Markets of China and India, and the Impacts of Key Regulatory Events
AbstractChina and India are two fascinating nations to study through an economic lens because of their tremendous growth in recent years. Despite the current trend of stagnation in the developed world, China and India have managed to flourish relatively and are now prominent figures in the global economy as key emerging markets. Such an immense increase in output requires simultaneous expansion of a country’s financial sector as demand for funding increases. There are both interesting similarities and differences between China and India’s financial markets that stem from factors like history, corruption level and investor confidence. For instance, China’s banking sector is the country’s most prevalent form of traditional financing while India’s British-based regulatory system lead it to have a more developed equity market (in theory). However, both countries have an alternative financing network due to the inefficiencies of typical methods. My thesis will highlight these commonalities and variations with a qualitative research analysis. I will aim to come to a conclusion about the most effective financing environments in China and India, taking into account both the current conditions and future growth.
The Impact of Globalization on U.S. Private Equity Performance
This paper explores the U.S. private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) firms investing internationally, with focus on emerging markets. Investing internationally offers substantial benefits. This paper investigates two major benefits and whether they can be also extended to U.S. PE & VC investments. One is potentially higher return from fast growing emerging markets. The other one is the benefit of diversification. By comparing the performance of those who invest internationally and those invest domestically, this paper attempts to provide a quantitative interpretation of how globalized portfolio can help to improve the U.S. PE & VC performance.
Analyzing the Social Capital Market through a Financial Risk Analysis of Community Investing
As American citizens realize the implications of their growing power as consumers combined with the impact that corporations can have on social issues, the importance of the Social Capital Market (SCM) continues to increase. Corporations now realize that social issues cannot be an afterthought; instead, there are real economic benefits to be gained from solving social problems. The SCM currently holds the interest of 30 percent of the United States market, or 63 million people, who invest in 260 socially screened mutual fund products with assets of $201.8 billion. Additionally $2.71 trillion dollars are invested in funds, pensions, trusts and other vehicles that use at least one of the three core socially responsible investing strategies (SRI): screening, shareholder advocacy and community investing (Saul, 2011).

General

Should the U.S. Copyright Office Change its Copyright Registration Procedures?
The ultimate goal of the Gabelli-Library of Congress (LOC) research team is to determine whether the United States Copyright Office should change its copyright registration procedures to adapt to emerging technologies, specifically e-books. We created three I.P. teams: the library team [LOC; copyrights]; the marketing team [marketing; management; strategy]; and the quants [accounting; finance; IT]. Our research paper will be divided into three parts. First, the library team will review: Article 1 Section 8 and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; the existing U.S. Copyright Law; and current copyright registration procedures. In addition, the team will study international copyright law [e.g., The Berne Convention] as well as the U.S. Copyright Office’s organizational structure. The team will review data sets from the marketing and quants team in order to determine how the existing registration procedures can be modified to handle electronic e-book publications. Second, the marketing team will research the current [2008-2011] and future [2012-2015] market demand for printed books and e-books. This requires an analysis of the amount of e-readers and iPads in use today in the U.S. Additionally, the team will examine relevant demographic trends pertaining to print and e-book usage. We will also look at print and e-book prices, United States media expenditure and media usage, and e-book formats (e.g., Apple, EPUB, INKLING). Furthermore, we will analyze the House-Sentate Subcommittee on the LOC; and potential impact of Apple’s iBook Author system on the publishing industry and on title output. This data will be turned over to the library and quants teams. Third, the existing copyright procedures are geared toward printed books, and the Copyright Office has direct and indirect expenses to acquire, catalogue and “shelf” a printed book, what will be the potential financial and organizational impact on the Copyright Office when e-books replace printed books? The quants team will deal with the accounting, finance, and information technology (IT) issues the Copyright Office will confront. We will analyze the FY11 and FY 12 LOC budgets (the FY13 budget when available; and historical data) and determine the costs associated with acquiring, cataloging, and “shelfing” e-books into an IT network at the LOC and a redundant LOC IT system in a secure location (perhaps Fort Meade in MD, the Army’s Information, Intelligence and Cyber Center; LOC has 4 buildings at this secure facility). This IT network must be capable of handling at least 30,000,000 e-books by 2022. With the use of this research, we will be able to determine whether or not the Library of Congress should adapt its copyright laws and copyright procedures to accommodate digital publications.
Endzone Dance: Why the Current BCS System Has Reason to Celebrate in a Potential Antitrust Claim Against It
This thesis will examine whether the current Bowl Championship Series (BCS) structure, which creates bowl game matchups amongst college football’s most successful teams for the year, constitutes a violation of Articles 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. A basis for a potential suit against the BCS lies in the prefe