CSB Announces 2019 Faculty Research Grants Awardees

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NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business (CSB) envisions a better world through better business. This year CSB issued a research grant program to complement CSB research and to expand beyond our Center-driven projects, while still adhering to our core mission. CSB offers faculty and Ph.D. research grants related to our mission: to ensure current and future business leaders develop the knowledge and skills to embed sustainability in core business strategy so they can reduce risk; create competitive advantage; develop innovative services, products, and processes; while building value for society and protecting the planet. To learn more about the CSB Research Grant program, click here. Next year’s deadline is January 31, 2020.  We are pleased to announce the following awardees: 
  • Protecting Corporate Reorganization Through Bankruptcy Law, Gil Nogueira
  • The casual relationship between screen time and well-being, Adam Alter
  • How the #MeToo social movement changes investors' valuation and risk attitudes, Yanting Shi, April Klein, Mary Billings
  • Measuring the Effect of Financial Flexibility on Investment: Evidence Weather and Insurers, Shan Ge
Please find the descriptions for the proposals below:

Protecting Corporate Reorganization Through Bankruptcy Law, Gil Nogueira
This paper investigates how reorganization-friendly laws affect key stakeholders of bankrupt firms in the long-run. Portugal added formal reorganization procedures to its bankruptcy code in 2012. I use access to this new law as an instrument for firm reorganization in bankruptcy and find that on average firm survival increases by 40% and worker and manager employment by 10% in five years. While creditors lose short-term access to funds, in five years, their default rate decreases by 25 percentage points. In the future, I aim to measure impacts on the network of suppliers, customers and competitors, and to make general welfare calculations.

The causal relationship between screen time and well-being, Adam Alter
This project aims to address a conspicuous absence in the scientific and business literature. Though dozens of thought leaders and academics have claimed that screen time harms well-being, there is currently no direct evidence to support this assertion. I aim to study the causal relationship between screen time and well-being, and plan to use CSB funds to support an initial pilot study. Since many of the globe’s largest companies thrive on capturing human attention, this research has important implications for the long-term sustainability of this so-called “attention economy” model of corporate success.'

How the #MeToo social movement changes investors’ valuation and risk attitudes, Yanting Shi, April Klein, Mary Billings
Prior research has struggled to document any potential incremental value that women bring to the board room of large U.S. companies. We propose the #MeToo movement has changed investors’ beliefs about the value of female representation on the board. We document an overall negative market reaction tracking the timeline of events associated with the #MeToo movement, beginning with the Harvey Weinstein exposé in October of 2017 in the New York Times. This finding suggests that investors price in the costs associated with potential revelations of misconduct by management. However, we find that the negative market response concentrates in companies lacking a female presence on the board. In contrast, companies with female representation do not experience negative stock returns and, in fact, their stock prices rose as #MeToo events unfolded.

Measuring the Effect of Financial Flexibility on Investment: Evidence Weather and Insurers, Shan Ge
Insurance companies are important institutional investors, holding approximately $6.5 trillion of financial investments, including more than a quarter of U.S. corporate bonds. Weather events can severely affect the financial health of insurers. Global warming is causing more frequent and more severe weather events. Can weather events that change insurers’ financial conditions affect insurers’ portfolio decisions? In this study, we examine the effect of weather events on how insurers allocate their assets among different financial securities. We find that losses due to weather events lead insurers to become more conservative in their portfolio choices. Insurers in weaker financial positions take less risk in their portfolios and earn lower returns on their financial investments.