The bright side of diversification: the case of R&D productivity


SpeakerAnnika WangAssistant professor from the University of Houston

Time: 15:10pm, Tuesday, July 2,2019

SiteEMS A208

Abstract: This paper examines the effects of corporate structure on innovation productivity. We find that conglomerates, though spending less on R&D, achieve greater innovation productivity relative to single-segment firms. We further show that conglomerates with higher segment technology closeness or with senior executives coordinating their innovation endeavors have greater R&D productivity. Using a quasi-experiment in the M&A setting, we find similar evidence as Seru (2014) that acquired target firms become less innovative following mergers relative to withdrawn target firms. Post-merger R&D productivity, however, increases significantly for both acquiring firms and combined firms. This highlights that while disruption from post-merger integration may impede innovation for targets, it tends to be outweighed by the knowledge spillover gain for acquirers. Our results collectively suggest that conglomerate corporate structure facilitates intra-firm knowledge spillover and thereby improves innovation productivity.

Introduction to the Speaker

Annika joined Bauer College of Business in 2017 after receiving her PhD in Business Administration from University of California, Berkeley. Annika's research lies at the intersection of accounting and finance. Much of her recent work focuses on the efficiency of corporate innovation, the separation of financial reporting choices from underlying firm economics, and the effects of short sales constraints on equity prices. Her research has been featured in major media outlets including Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Economist, Reuters Breakingviews, and Seeking Alpha.