Publications

Working Paper
Yasir Shirazi. Working Paper. “Blockchain based ICOs and Start-up Ecosystem: The diminishing role of Venture Capital funding”.Abstract
Blockchain technology is transforming our world. While there is consensus that blockchain
technology can revolutionize our lives, start-ups in this field have struggled to raise funds through traditional VCs. Historically, start-ups would approach VCs to pitch ideas and raise financing rounds. However, Blockchain start-ups initially did not receive an encouraging response from venture firms for multiple reasons including traditional mindset, limited understanding of blockchain potential, and lack of known experts in this field. This challenge has given rise to a new phenomenon known as an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) whereby startups can raise funds via general offerings without requiring VCs to participate. The magnitude of ICO funding is staggering. According to coinschedule.com, more than $3.6 billion dollars have been raised to fund 228 start- ups in blockchain ecosystem in first 10 months of 2017. In June 2017, ICO funding was estimated to have surpassed early-stage Angel & VC funding for internet businesses. Are ICOs disrupting the VC ecosystem? Will the next Facebook or Google be funded via an ICO? These are important questions to investigate since they can drastically impact the future of start-up ecosystems. This project will evaluate risk factors across qualitative and quantitative data for ICO funding between 2015-17. This project is critical since it would show whether ICOs are a short-term fad or a long-term threat to traditional VC model.
Harrison Beard. Working Paper. “Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth: Is Entrepreneurship More Effective at Stimulating Growth in a High-Income Trap Economy Than in a Smaller, Rapidly-Growing Economy?”.Abstract
In the latter half of the twentieth century, the economic policymakers of the People’s Republic of China began instituting careful regulation and strategic opening up to foreign investment (Branstetter 2008). Concurrently, Taiwan (Republic of China) took a political departure and began independently instituting land, infrastructure, communications, and educational reforms, as well as a general liberalization of market controls (Minns, John and Robert Tierney, The Labour Movement in Taiwan 2006). As these two economies matured into the twenty-first century and now nearly a decade after the Great Recession, two entirely different economic narratives describe the countries that were once unified. China is a relatively poor (GDP per capita $8113) and unequal (GINI index of 46.5, 2016 est.) yet rapidly growing economy characterized as a communist-capitalist hotbed for domestic entrepreneurship (Huang et al., Entrepreneurship in China 2016). Taiwan, on the other hand, is a much wealthier (GDP per capita $22,453) and more equal (GINI index 33.6, 2014) democratic economy suffering from the demographic crises and depressed entrepreneurial spirit associated with a high-income trap (Lin, Taiwan’s China Dilemma 2016). As a result, these two economies form the perfect contrast as entrepreneurial venues and give rise to a fascinating comparative economic question: how does the role of entrepreneurship differ in a faster-growing (China) versus slower-growing economy (Taiwan)? More particularly, how can Chinese policymakers avoid Taiwan’s economic maladies through innovation, and conversely, what kinds of innovation-friendly policies could help Taiwan climb out of its deeply rooted economic and demographic entanglements? I wish to explore these questions through an array of different perspectives via personal interviews this winter with Chinese and Taiwanese businesses, policymakers, and economic researchers. As I prepare for and eventually collect my qualitative data, I will corroborate any overarching conclusions with empirical quantitative data and regression analysis.
Chris WIlliams. Working Paper. “Gender Equity in Hong Kong”.Abstract

The press has stated women in Hong Kong are struggling to find a husband because they want to ‘marry up’ (hypogamy). The gender ratio in Hong Kong for those between the ages of 20 and 40 is substantially weighted towards a surplus of women, which is a factor limiting mate choice for women. Moreover, there have been significant improvements in gender equality in the region, as indicated by increases in women’s educational attainment and decreases in the difference of income between men and women over the past 30 years. Thus, one would expect there are fewer opportunities for women to enter hypogamous relationships. 

It has been shown economic advancements, often, first result in women placing an increasing emphasis on achieved characteristics, but that overtime the trend is reversed as women develop a preference for personal-emotional attraction. Therefore, it is surprising for women, in a developed region like Hong Kong, to place such great emphasis on the achieved characteristics of their husbands. My research will examine assortative mating theory, Hong Kong's demographic history, Chinese anthropological literature and sociological literature on gender norms and intersectionality, to determine i) if all women have benefited from the described advancements in gender equality, and ii) if women’s marital choices have changed in response to demographic, anthropological or sociological forces. This is important because a decrease in marriage rates in Hong Kong is likely to result in ultra-low fertility rates, and ultimately rapid population ageing with its associated challenges.

Thomas Vanderstichele. Working Paper. “An Investigation into Biotech Clusters”.Abstract
The Oxford biotech cluster is considered one of the most mature clusters in Europe with a significant number of its companies surviving through the early high-risk years. But the visibility of many companies in the cluster and their ties to the students of the university remains poor. Among both students and academics an entrepreneurial atmosphere has failed to develop, despite several high-profile success stories. Therefore, although Oxford conducts world leading biotechnology research, the cluster lags behind its American counterparts in Boston, San Diego and San Francisco. One factor that is critical for cluster development is a high-density network of multidisciplinary expertise, which fosters the creation of new ideas. For this reason, I am investigating the impact of networks and community organisation on the development of the Oxford biotech cluster. In the first part of my research, I will investigate cluster organisation and development in a variety of examples with the aim of extracting successful network development models. In the second part, I aim to implement one of these models and investigate its effect on cluster development. This will be achieved through the Oxford University Biotech Society, which aims to inspire a new generation of biotech entrepreneurs and create deeper social ties between students, academics and industry. This newfound society should place me at the centre of a new multidisciplinary network within the cluster, allowing a direct evaluation of the network development model. 
Cole Scanlon. Working Paper. “Community Development: The Effects of Interdependence on Spending”.Abstract

 

The movement of Effective Altruism and social impact investing signifies a shift in philanthropy towards measured impact. GiveDirectly, a nonprofit organization that facilitates unconditional cash transfers to the poor in Kenya and Uganda, operates under the reasonable premise that poor people know what makes them better off. Microfinance institutions operate under the same assumption and provide low-interest loans to the poor. Models of providing poor people with funds through unconstrained donations or microloans tout how the funds are often used to start businesses. Research suggests that this is true in practice[1] and, more importantly, that business creation is an important component of economic development[2].

These models, however, neglect the influence of culture on the use of funds. Some empirical research has already shown that culture influences how people spend money[3]. It is plausible that members of ‘interdependent’ communities allocate a smaller proportion of their income to personal spending due to a social stigma in comparison to ‘individual’ communities. This phenomenon plausibly extends to the use of unconstrained funds that are either donated or loaned. This research project will study the relationship between cultures of interdependence and spending. It will investigate the question: how does interdependence in a community influence the ways in which community members spend donated or loaned funds?

 

 

[1] Canales, Rodrigo, Dean Karlan, and Tony Sheldon. "What Are the Realities of Microfinance?" Yale School of Management. N.p., 20 Sept. 2016. Web. 18 Dec. 2016.

 

[2] Szirmai, Adam, Wim Naudé, and Micheline Goedhuys. "Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Development: An Overview." Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Development (2011): 3-32. Web.

[3] Boris, Cynthia. "New Study Shows Cultural Impact on Shopping Habits." Marketing Pilgrim Links RSS. N.p., 3 July 2013. Web. 18 Dec. 2016.

 

Luke Heine. Working Paper. “Pragmatic Speculation: Venture Capital and Risk-Based Culture in Singapore.” In .Abstract

Singapore’s historical developmental economy and policies incentivizing rapid growth have imparted a pragmatic culture that has persisted through neoliberal reforms (Liow 2011, Robison et. al 2005). As the country attempts to move to a knowledge based economy (KBE), despite Singapore identifying risk-aversion as a weakness for entrepreneurs within the city state, the country hosts a robust, heavily-subsidized, and comparatively risky venture capital center within Asia (PwC 2015, Garry et al. 2002,  Singapore’s Transition). Has government funding reduced the perceived risk of investment for those venture capitalists receiving government money, making investors behave differently than those in surrounding cities? Or, as Singapore provides a haven for foreign venture capital, are foreign investors actually those primarily making earlier and more tech-driven investments? To answer these questions, I propose research to be conducted this winter in Singapore interviewing investors from three cohorts - government-subsidized domestic venture capital firms, non-subsidized domestic venture capital firms, and internationally headquartered firms - to better understand how venture capital is perceived in Singapore and how the highly-speculative capital has come to flourish in a pragmatic culture.

In Press
Jason Cui Luke Heine Cole C. Scanlon, Promit Ghosh. In Press. “The Economics of Venture Capital”.Abstract

 

With the perceived impact of venture capital on innovation rising, cities and governments are increasingly crafting economic policies to capture venture capital funding for their own regions or fund their own. But how does this venture capital impact the economy? A 2001 National Governors Association report stated that "Venture capital is critical to growing the businesses that will drive the ‘new economy’. The National Association of Seed and Venture Funds estimated that state venture capital funds in 2008 totaled 2.3 billion; meanwhile, an increasing share of the approximately $50 billion that states spend on industrial incentive areas is going to venture-backed firms (Henry Chen, et al. 2009). This project asserts how venture capital impacts the economy through a data driven analysis of the past 14 years of venture capital and economic-performance census data.

 

2017
Kailash Sundaram. 7/31/2017. “Faulty Ratings: How Analysts Fueled the Internet Bubble”.Abstract
Using mostly primary sources, this paper examines how Internet analysts encouraged
irrational speculation in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The paper begins with a description
of Kindleberg’s theory of financial crises and relates it to the Internet bubble. Section I of
the paper focuses on the role of the analyst, and Section II and III examine two analysts in
particular — Henry Blodget and Mary Meeker. Section IV transitions to how the media
amplified analysts’ voices, and section V concludes the paper’s body by examining the
aftermath of the Internet bubble and reforms in the field of Wall Street research.
faulty_ratings_-_how_analysts_fueled_the_internet_bubble.pdf
Damon Jack Clark. 2017. “Diné Entrepreneurship: Indigenous Contemporary Entrepreneurship”.Abstract

This qualitative study researches the concept of entrepreneurship in an indigenous population by assessing the external and internal challenges faced, discusses the various types of support offered, and compiles recommendations for partners to understand the Diné individual with a business. This research interviewed nine formal entrepreneurs who are enrolled members of the Navajo Nation tribe who have either created businesses on the reservations, manage nonprofits aimed at supporting entrepreneurs, or possess a wealth of entrepreneurial experiences working both on or off the Navajo Nation Reservation. Entering a specific academic field, the research is a contemporary addition to previous economic research conducted on the Navajo Nation. Utilizing the frameworks of “Nation Building” as the foundational methodology, the text builds upon the themes of economic development, cultural-match, and indigenous sovereignty by analyzing the concept, action, and future of Diné entrepreneurship. Research finds a high degree of miscommunication between key groups, misinterpretation of the term “entrepreneurship” and expectations of each role, and missed opportunities for each sector to benefit from cross-sector partnerships. Additionally, while addressing many of the standard themes of business creation and management, Diné entrepreneurs are simultaneously presented with the twin challenges of embodying Diné values (i.e., a commitment to their community and family) and overcoming specific technical, economic, and social hurdles within the Navajo Nation Reservation. As individuals, various internal factors like private aspirations and academic, personal, and professional experiences work to shape the interviewed entrepreneurs into figures who accept risk, promote innovation, and are audacious. Similarly, a series of external factors were noted as influencing the entrepreneurs, including the role of the nuclear and extended family, actions by the federal, state, and tribal governments, and the concerns of their specific communities, all of which combine to create an environment that either supported or challenged the Diné Entrepreneur.

 

dine_entrepreneurship-_damon_j_clark.pdf
2016
9/29/2016. “Amsterdam Capital Week Presentation”. ams_pres.pdf
Cole C. Scanlon. 2016. “Comprehensive Microinsurance: A Tool For Economic Growth in Africa”.Abstract

 

The relationship between microinsurance and economic growth in Africa is a topic of recent,

albeit large relevance because microinsurance has not existed in Africa for long. An

exploration into the topic requires an understanding of poor Africans’ need for risk managing

strategies, and previous attempts to fulfill this void. A lack of risk managing strategies

hinders the economic growth of Africa, as setbacks cause a ‘poverty trap’. Microinsurance

companies offer a solution to the problem and, in the past, have experienced some, although

limited, success. A statistical analysis conducted as part of this research project fails to

support that microinsurance has a significant effect on GDP per capita, for instance. This

paper attempts to fill this gap by identifying the problems with current microinsurance

products, and arguing for a more comprehensive microinsurance scheme. In particular, the

widespread expansion of microinsurance in Africa has been slow because of a lack in easy

payment systems, trust for microinsurance, microcredit, and affordable policy premiums.

Governments and businesses should aim to create comprehensive microinsurance strategies,

with these problems in mind. Then, as microinsurance services expand and take-up rates

increase, the African poor will no longer suffer from extreme setbacks and, consequently, the

economic performance of Africa will improve.

 

Luke Heine. 2016. “A City-Based Visualization of Funding Flows.” shift.newco.co. Publisher's VersionAbstract

 

What might you learn if you analyze 14 years of city-specific funding data?

 

Samantha D. Luce. 2016. “Death and Taxis: Violence, Sovereignty, and the Politics of Mobility in Postapartheid South Africa”.Abstract

Minibus taxis in Cape Town, South Africa are a form of ‘public’ transport owned and operated by small-scale entrepreneurs located across the city’s townships and peripheries. Taxis are responsible for transporting more than 65% of South Africa’s citizenry, and are particularly significant to poor urban residents due to their low cost, social embeddedness, and a long history of resistance under the apartheid regime. However, taxis are also widely notorious for violence and gangsterism, even though the industry is today regulated by the government and taxi associations through mechanisms ranging from permitting to aggressive patrolling. This thesis attempts to explain the continuity of the industry’s violent and aggressive nature into the postapartheid era. I specifically examine the industry in Cape Town in light of the souring taxi-government relation after the recent (and, as of 2016, ongoing)implementation of a competing bus rapid transport system called MyCiTi bus. I focus on how the taxi is disputed as both vehicles on the street and as figurative vehicles of social mobility. Drawing upon literature on the anthropology of infrastructure, I argue that the rollout of MyCiTi bus has fermented a crisis of sovereignty between the rationalizing mission of the government and autonomous taxi entrepreneurs, engendering anger and mistrust. The tension between the Weberian rational-legal authority of municipal governance and the popular sovereignty of the taxi industry has had the consequence of crystallizing an ethos of masculine aggression in the industry. My argument emerges out of fieldwork from the summer 0f 2016 conducted in major taxi ranks in Cape Town. I engaged in participant-observation research at several sites, primarily taxi routes and ranks in the city, incorporating sites both close to the city center and those located in distant townships. I also draw upon conversations and interviews that range from affiliates of the taxi industry, such as drivers and owners, to regulatory officials and academics.

death_and_taxis_by_samantha_deborah_luce.pdf
Cole C. Scanlon. 2016. “Health Consequences of Legal Origin.” Comparative Advantage, 4, Pp. 81-92. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Abstract— Considerable economic research suggests that the historical origin of a countrys laws is associated with legal rules and economic outcomes. This paper investigates differing public health outcomes of countries with common law legal origin (the British model) and civil law legal origin (the French model). Civil law countries on net have better health outcomes in the categories of infectious disease, immunization, sanitation, contraception, pregnancy, malnutrition, infant mortality, and life expectancy. Although health outcomes vary regionally, the effect of civil law countries having better health outcomes than common law countries holds within regions as well. Civil law countries do not have a greater financial commitment to public health. Instead, better health outcomes in countries with civil law legal origin seems to result from greater decentralization of government funds, higher rates of urbanization, and less ethnic fractionalization in civil law countries.

Luke Heine. 2016. “Place and Its Role in Venture Capital Funding: a Global Analysis of Venture Capital, Class, and Cities.” In .Abstract

The paper asserts the positive impact foreign, international male professionals have on a city’s ability to source venture capital funding and proposes a classification system for cities that includes connection to other cities and not just the city itself. The paper utilizes an interactive visualization of the data visually interrogating and illustrating cities’ interdependence while also asserting the impact Sassen's International Class may play in a city's ability to receive venture capital funding. 

Luke Heine Winston Huang Adam Gilfix, Brian de Luna. 2016. “Venture Capital Flows: a Visualization”.Abstract

From Athens to Silicon Valley, humans always associated innovation with space. As the world increasingly globalizes and capital increases in fluidity, how does geographic space impact the flow of venture capital, what is the role of cross-city ties, and how does internal investment and fund-raising describe a city's position in an ever-globalizing world? Using 57,000 investment instances from 2000-2014 reported by CrunchBase, the visualization helps answer these questions.