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, 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. 
Abdul Knowles. Working Paper. “ The Opportunities and Challenges of Grass-Roots Entrepreneurship and Innovation in The Bahamas”.Abstract


In recent years, The Bahamas, designated a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) by the United Nations, and a tourism-based economy, has turned to grass-roots entrepreneurship and innovation to fulfil its “Vision 2040” initiative, a national development plan for the country. The author’s research provides a comprehensive analysis of this plan, which includes the opportunities and challenges the Government of The Bahamas faces in achieving its goal. Based on previous government data, research literature, and results from interviews and surveys with Bahamian officials, academics and entrepreneurs, three areas will be analyzed. First, this paper examines the importance of grass-roots entrepreneurship for The Bahamas’ future economic growth. Second, this paper analyzes the impact of government policies on entrepreneurial activities. This includes a review of economic policy, governance, social policy and environmental policy. Third, this paper discusses the opportunities and challenges the Bahamian Government faced in implementing this national development plan. Based on research findings, the author will share recommendations to create favorable policies for entrepreneurs and, assist the Government of The Bahamas in further shaping policies and outreach programs that will create a new generation of Bahamian entrepreneurs. 


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.

Christian Linder. Working Paper. “The Same, But Different: How ‘Narco’-Entrepreneurs Establish Their Identity in Online Markets in Contrast to Traditional Drug Dealers”.Abstract
This study investigates the appearance of so-called ‘narco’-entrepreneurs, a class of illegal drug dealers using technologies like the dark net to sell narcotics. This special kind of IT entrepreneurs takes advantage of the intellectual capabilities, which in consequence changes illegal drug markets by implementing new logics (drug selling as violent offline crime versus non-violent online crime). By doing so, narco-entrepreneurs create a new category on the micro-level from which legitimacy and identity of the new venture emerge. One decisive element of the entrepreneurs’ activities is their attempt to associate themselves with Silicon Valley high-tech entrepreneurs rather than with drug cartels, gang members, or mobsters. In the new self-concept, innovation, creativity, service quality, reliability, trust and commitment are central elements, which are used in order to distin-guish themselves from traditional drug businesses. Using a qualitative sense-making perspective, this study contributes to our understanding on how a new venture can be seen as an expression of an entrepreneur`s self-concept. This study theorizes on how the appearance of a new player facili-tates the emergence of a sociocognitive category that can threaten established markets. Contribu-tions are made especially to the literature on sociocognitive categories with special focus on the micro-level dynamics of sociocognitive category emergence and the context of entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation.
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.


Cole C. Scanlon and Bruno S. Sergi. Forthcoming. Entrepreneurship and Development in the 21st Century.Abstract
The role of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activity are topics of vital interest of research. Harvard's Lab for Entrepreneurship and Development book series strives to set the agenda for advancing research and analysis on entrepreneurship and the role of entrepreneurs in the context of finance, economic development, innovation, and the society at large. We welcome new submissions on the most timely and cutting-edge scholarly research monographs, textbooks, short books, and edited volumes, which must strictly uphold world-class standards. Submission inquiries should be emailed to the book series' editors at
Keaton Scanlon. 2018. “Biodiversity Monitoring of Traditional Agroforestry Sites in Amazonian Ecuador”.Abstract
Chakras, or homegardens, are traditional plots of relatively low input agroforestry that incorporate the already established forest ecosystems to produce crops of human value, including timber, medicine, food and fruit. Ancestral to the Kichwa people in Amazonian Ecuador, amongst many other indigenous groups of the greater Amazonian region, chakras have customarily been used as a primary source of food and fiber and as a method of subsistence living for indigenous groups of the region. However, over the past century as the Amazon has been more intensively logged and cleared for land, the reduction of virgin forest has also created a gap in the way Kichwas now sustain themselves. New forest regulations intended to preserve surviving forestland have made it so that traditional practices such as hunting and timber harvest have become illegal in national park areas, leaving Kichwas with lesser options when it comes to making a living in world that increasingly calls for sources of monetary income. In congruence with this increasingly glaring problem, this study aims to test the biodiversity contribution made by these traditional chakra agroforestry systems. This study takes samples from primary forest, secondary forest, a multi-strata agroforestry system, a single crop (Ilex guayusa) dominated agroforestry system and pastureland, with the goal of drawing comparisons between species richness, species abundance, and diversity, as well as comparing similarities and important species present within each management type. In doing this, the study aims to determine whether agroforestry sites contribute to biodiversity in the Amazonian region of Ecuador. A one-way ANOVA test was run each for species richness, species abundance and Shannon Index values. Species richness had a P-value of 1.16e-07, species abundance of 4.54e-07 and Shannon Index of 0.00145, all of which are significant and indicate that chakra systems do have biodiversity levels significantly higher than that of a pasture system. Additionally, notable findings are that the four species that were deemed by locals as being the most important: Bactris gasipaes, Pollalesta discolor, Theobroma cacao and Ilex guayusa are all heavily represented in the agroforestry plots, indicating that agroforestry sites do indeed contain important species for wildlife and human use. The results of this study indicate that a chakra system of agroforestry allows for sustainable use of forests by contributing to food security and income with local Amazonian populations as well as biodiversity conservation within the region.
Kim To. 2018. “The Overseas Vietnamese (Viet Kieu): motivations for returning to the homeland and transnational entrepreneurship”.Abstract
The aim of this study is to answer the question: what motivates the overseas Vietnamese diaspora to engage in transnational entrepreneurship in Vietnam? This study focuses on the descending diaspora (who are people from developed countries who choose to migrate to developing countries) because they have been under researched in the literature. As subsequent generations of the descending diaspora get assimilated in the country of residence (COR), understanding their motivations and the pull factors that attract the diaspora to return and start a business, will be valuable to countries who are designing policies to encourage their overseas diaspora to return and support the development of the country. This study is important to the wider literature surrounding diaspora and development, because of the potential to utilise the diasporas’ expertise, capital and social networks. It is the first to look at motivations of the overseas Vietnamese diaspora for transnational entrepreneurship using semi-structured interviews. In total, eight people were interviewed over the course of six weeks and represented both the first and second generation of overseas descending Vietnamese diaspora. Thematic analysis was conducted to understand the key themes that emerged. The findings indicate that interview participants were attracted by the economic opportunities, but that was mixed with psychological gain from feelings of self-fulfilment; social impact and in a few cases, social status. It also suggests that the relationship between social embeddedness and motivations of altruism based on ethnic connection, is not a straightforward one. Travelling to the country of origin (COO) helps to build an emotional and economic relationship regardless of how socially embedded a person is before and after migration. Having social networks, especially people from the same diaspora group before and after migration, decreases asymmetric information and transaction costs of physically relocating, setting up and running a business. The majority of the interviewees chose to travel back and forth to maintain social networks and work commitments in the country of origin. Technology is therefore important for facilitating transnational lives and businesses. This study highlights the underrepresentation of women in studies focusing on transnational entrepreneurship and calls for more research to explore gender dynamics in this field of research.  
Renata Thiebaut. 2018. “AI Revolution: How data can identify and shape consumer behavior in ecommerce”.Abstract

Data has become one of the most significant instruments in ecommerce innovation. Benefits to the entire society can be summarized as following: for the government’s perspective - to assess the impact of ecommerce to the economy; for merchants - to understand consumers’ needs; and for consumers - to be offered with the right product he/she is looking for. The digital revolution in the past years has shown the need to offer differentiated services than the BTL shops, when consumers are not able to try to use and touch products. It is for this reason that ecommerce has continuously developed and transformed ROPO into a true ATL Experience. Considering the future of ecommerce is to enhance economic development and growth, this research will discuss the disruption of R&D through big data. The core objective is to propose a predictive model to deeply understand consumer behavior by analyzing new regulations and transaction records (frequency, timing, interests, cart abandonment reasoning).

Abdul Knowles. 2018. “Entrepreneurial Development and Business Innovation in North Korea's Financial Sector”.Abstract

There has long been a prevailing view concerning North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), that the world’s most reclusive socialist state, in accordance with its “juche” (self-reliance) ideology[1], shuns capitalism, and discourages entrepreneurship and innovation, and feigns reform to further its nuclear ambitions including the development of inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Under its previous leaders, Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il, North Korea saw little need for and discouraged innovation in the financial sector, particularly that of Western origin. However, since coming to power in December 2011, its current leader, Kim Jong-Un, has placed a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, in numerous sectors, including its financial system. Based on research and interviews conducted with international business and entrepreneurship experts that have trained North Koreans, and personal experience as an adjunct business faculty member in North Korea, this research shows the recent developments including the role played by entrepreneurs in helping North Korea achieve its goal of economic and technological transformation. The primary focus is on changes in North Korea’s financial sector.

Keywords: North Korea, entrepreneurship, financial system, innovation.

Renata Thiebaut. 2018. “The U.S.-China Trade War and New Directives to Promote the “Made In China 2025”: An Analysis of the Impact on OFDI Strategies”.Abstract


Despite enhanced efforts from International Organizations to halt protectionism, economic nationalism has become a global tendency, mostly accentuated by the Trump administration. One of the main concerns discussed by scholars is the limited regulation of knowledge transfer and intellectual property protection that may occur in new forms of trade, such as e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce. Remarkably, the Sino-American Trade relations has been subject to such matters in different industries, resulting in a Trade War, which is an increased trade barrier, in this case, through higher tariffs; as recently announced by the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

This working paper aims to discuss the current U.S.-China Trade War, founded on an in-depth analysis of one of the main triggers of the current disputes, the Section 301 China Intellectual Property (“IP”) case.

The research process will be framed by the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS), the most relevant international binding document accepted by all WTO members including China and the United States, and follow a detailed investigation regarding the impact of Outbound Foreign Direct Investments (OFDIs) on cross-border e-commerce.

It will be hence paramount to assess challenges and new developments, especially for the Chinese Internet giants’ expansion to the American market as part of the “Made in China 2025” National Plan. Finally, the goal of measurement is to present a proposal to the limitations of existing bilateral and multilateral IP protection mechanisms, considering that “free, fair and reciprocal trade” can only benefit global economic growth.


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.
Cole Scanlon. 2017. “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.


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.


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.” Publisher's VersionAbstract


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