Bernie Milano, BS ’61, stands with graduates of The PhD Project.

Decades after the implementation of affirmative action, African-American and Hispanic-American students are more underrepresented within colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago, according to The New York Times.

This gap extends into business as well. Only one quarter of senior executives in Fortune 500 companies are minorities, with Hispanic and African-American executives underrepresented by 9 and 13 percentage points, respectively.

Alumnus Bernie Milano, BS ’61, saw an opportunity to break this cycle. In 1994, he founded The PhD Project, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing workplace diversity, to address this racial disparity in workplaces and academia—starting with business schools’ doctorate programs.

It began with a question, Milano recalled to the Chronicle for Higher Education in 2015. Frustrated at the lack of diversity while recruiting for KPMG, Milano wanted to know what could encourage students of color to study business: “Would diverse faculty attract diverse students? And with a diverse faculty and diverse students, would the diverse students then perform up to their potential?”

An absence of faculty of color at the front of classroom can inherently limit ideas of higher education for minority students. The PhD Project guides and encourages African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American students to pursue doctorate degrees, in order to widen the pool of underrepresented faculty, administrators, and leaders throughout the nation’s schools and workplaces.

The Fox School recognizes the crucial role that business schools play in this cycle. “By supporting the students of today, we are strengthening the next generation of faculty and leaders,” says Lisa Fitch, senior associate director of PhD programs at the Fox School.

Together, The PhD Project and the Fox School help doctoral students and alumni faculty members become anchors of proof that young students need. The alumni then become role models, demonstrating that a doctorate is achievable and necessary for a representative career cycle.

Dr. Jamie Weathers, PhD ’16, assistant professor of finance at Western Michigan University and graduate of The PhD Project.

“As a minority in higher education, you are likely to be the only one in your cohort,” says Jamie Weathers, PhD ’16, an alumna of the Fox School and graduate of The PhD Project. “Having access to a network of people that look like you, that face the same challenges as you, is beyond helpful.”

According to a study from the TIAA Institute, university faculties have become slightly more diverse in the last two decades. Since 1994, The PhD Project has been successful in guiding 1,000 African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American students in completing their doctorate degrees.

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Four months after Hurricane Maria, much of Puerto Rico is still struggling. (Photo: Ivan Cardona)

For many students, the first semester of a new degree program is challenging. For Ivan Cardona, it was nearly impossible.

Cardona, a Puerto Rican native, came to the Fox School for his first residency of the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program on September 15—about one week after Hurricane Irma rocked the island territory.

Immediately after the weekend residency, he faced down Hurricane Maria, which directly hit the island with 175 mph winds and more than three feet of rain. Cardona barely arrived home in time to take shelter with his two young daughters.

“My home rumbled and shattered for over 24 hours,” Cardona remembered. At 5 a.m., he watched as water began creeping into his home. After the storm, with his family safe, his house compromised and his business flattened, Cardona reflected on his situation. “Puerto Rico was simply gone, and whoever took it away left a broken, wrecked, and shattered skeleton of an island.”

Nearly the entire island lost electricity and almost half lacked access to clean drinking water. As Cardona was left to rebuild his community, his dreams of a doctorate degree could not have felt further from his grasp.

“Weeks went by before I got to communicate with Temple.” Without internet, Cardona traveled to the nearby medical center for his evening WebEx classes, “hiding from the mandatory curfew on the island,” he conceded.

Yet despite these seemingly insurmountable odds, Cardona persevered.

In mid-October, he traveled back to Philadelphia to, in his words, graciously bow out of the program. Instead, Cardona received overwhelming support from colleagues and professors. “I felt a real sense of empathy, commitment and concern that I never expected,” he said of his experience. With new books to replace his waterlogged ones, Cardona finished his second residency with a renewed spirit.

Now, four months after Hurricane Maria hit, nearly one-third of Puerto Rican residents are still living without power. Although Cardona’s struggles are far from over—long lines at the ATM, grocery stores, and gas stations constantly overwhelm him—he has led efforts to clean up and rebuild his community. In November, he organized a Thanksgiving dinner for over 2,000 people, and in December, he coordinated a toy drive that benefited nearly 3,000 children.

As he starts the second semester of his three-year executive doctoral program, Cardona reflected on the challenges of last few months. Thanks to the support from his colleagues, he was able to keep up with his studies while helping the island recover. “I realize we were more than just a cohort,” he said. “I’m part of the Temple family and we take care of one another. It is something that truly makes me Temple proud.”

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Concussions have forever altered the sports landscape, calling attention to an injury that is difficult to diagnose and spawning a major motion picture.

Samuel D. Hodge, LAW ’74, professor at the Fox School, has co-authored a book that approaches head trauma and brain injuries, including concussions, from the perspective of the insurance, legal, and medical fields. His book, Head Trauma and Brain Injury for Lawyers, is the latest in a series of medical-legal guides he has penned for the American Bar Association. He’s written others spanning anatomy, the spine, and forensic autopsies.

“We used to assume that boxers were just ‘punch drunk,’ or that a football player ‘got his bell rung,’ but now, obviously, we know better,” says Hodge.

While the book delves into head trauma and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), Hodge says he and co-author Jack E. Hubbard, professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine, took a broader approach. The book covers basic anatomy of the brain and its functions, explains the neurological system, and demonstrates how to understand and interpret diagnostic tests for this area of the body.

“What makes the book so interesting and its breadth so wide is that we have chapters on head injuries sustained in military combat, sports, third-party lawsuits, social security disability, and workers’ compensation,” Hodge explains. “Our approach, from both a medical and legal perspective, should make this the seminal book on this subject—not only for medical and legal professionals, but also for those in the insurance industry.”

TBIs contribute to roughly 30 percent of all injury deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In his research, Hodge found that TBIs were the most common injury incurred in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“On the surface, that is surprising,” he says. “But because our military personnel have full body armor, they’re protected from shrapnel in pretty much every other part of their bodies. But road landmines, explosions, and IEDs made concussions and other types of brain trauma the signature injury of the war.”

Concussion litigation has shaken the NFL, as former players file federal lawsuits against the league both for failure to acknowledge the lasting effects of brain-related injuries and to establish guidelines for the recognition and prevention of them. TBIs have been identified as a major cause of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a protein buildup that causes degeneration of the brain. The discovery of CTE, and the NFL’s initial refusal to address it, inspired Concussion, the award-winning film starring Will Smith.

Robert C. Cantu, clinical professor of neurosurgery at Boston University, who previously has urged the NFL to embrace medical findings pertaining to concussions and CTE, authored a chapter in Hodge’s book.

“Concussions aren’t simply a timely topic that will go away. People still lack a fundamental understanding of their effect on the brain,” Hodge says. “The contributions of Dr. Cantu and other leading experts to this book demonstrate the relevance of TBIs, concussions, and all head injuries today.”

This story originally appeared in On the Verge, the Fox School’s research magazine.

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Home healthcare is a growing need for many Americans. But is it delivering on its promises? (Photo: MyFuture/Flickr)

Americans are growing older—and their caretakers need to decide the best and most cost effective way to care for them.

Since 2011, nearly 77 million baby boomers have become eligible for Medicare. For the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases, home healthcare (HHC) is a convenient and cost-effective solution that avoids the necessity of receiving care through hospitals and nursing homes.

HHC meets an important demand in the healthcare system. Experts have found that close to 90 percent of Americans wish to spend their final time at home. But how does the care HHC providers deliver compare to that of larger health institutions?

In collaboration with investigators at the University of California at Irvine, Dr. Jacqueline Zinn, professor in the Fox School’s Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management, has received a five-year grant from the National Institute of Health to investigate the cost effectiveness and quality of care provided by home healthcare agencies.

Over the last decade, the home healthcare field has seen dramatic increases in patients, care providers, and spending. The New York Times reported that individual states spend close to $200 billion of their own funds on Medicaid, making it the second biggest item within their budgets.

As projections continue to rise and healthcare technology advances, patients should be aware of their care options.

“What we don’t know is whether or not the technologies that lead to additional growth impact the quality of care delivered,” said Zinn. “In other words, do larger facilities have better quality associated with growth? What is the optimal [home healthcare] agency size with respect to cost and quality? These are the questions we hope to answer.”

Home healthcare not only includes rehabilitative care after surgery, but hospice care and palliative care, which is dedicated to relieving people’s physical and emotional symptoms after facing life-threatening illnesses.

“Healthcare is on track to become 20 percent of the GDP,” said Zinn. “That means one in every five dollars generated by the U.S. economy will be in the healthcare sector.”

Alongside her fellow researchers at the UC Irvine, Zinn aims to discover valuable insights for patients, government, and health institutions, and home healthcare agencies alike by learning more about this under-researched field.

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This was a busy—and for some, award-winning—fall semester for the Fox School research community!

On October 18, the Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives hosted its 7th Annual PhD Paper Competition in the MBA Commons of Alter Hall. This year, 31 doctoral students and alumni submitted papers and created visual posters of their research to compete for more than $3,000 in cash and prizes.

Papers were evaluated by Fox School faculty, who chose winners in categories including first year, second year, and third-to-fourth year doctoral students. Students also competed for best dissertation proposals and completed dissertations. The 15-member evaluation committee judged the rigor, novelty, and presentation of the research, as well as its contribution to theory, practice, or policy.

Lauren Spirko, assistant professor of Statistical Science/PhD candidate

Winners included Lauren Spirko of the Statistical Science Department, who won first place in the completed dissertation category for her paper proposing a statistical method for analyzing enormous data sets of genes and their various types of expressions. See a full list of participants and winners here.

On November 1, the Office hosted its 15th Young Scholars Interdisciplinary Forum, which aims to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative research projects that span disciplines within and outside of the Fox School. Together, twenty Fox doctoral students and faculty members received nearly $35,000 in grant funding for their research.

Han Chen, a Marketing and Management Information Systems PhD student, received a grant for her research aiming to understand the neurophysiological responses to branding and marketing with respect to age. The funding will go toward the purchase of eye-tracking glasses to monitor subjects’ eye movements when reviewing physical and digital advertising materials.

Terry T. Namkung, DBA student

The Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program also had students succeed this semester. Terry T. Namkung, a first-year DBA student and CEO of DC Energy Systems, was chosen as one of seven finalists in the 2017 Global Business Challenge. He presented his research—an energy panel that aims to reduce energy waste by 30% by decreasing the inefficiencies of Alternating Current to Direct Current adapters, converters, and inverters—in Brisbane, Australia, in early November.

Carla Cabarle, a second-year DBA student, showcased her work at the Fall 2017 Meeting of the Institute for Fraud Prevention. As one of five finalists, Carla presented on using analytics to predict the risk of financial statement fraud in crowdfunding to academics and industry experts in financial risk and fraud management.

On behalf of Paul Pavlou, senior associate dean of research and Milton F. Stauffer Professor in the Fox School, the Office congratulates the doctoral students and faculty on a very successful fall semester.

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For the financial community, the period around earnings announcements—the official public statement of a firm’s profitability—is often a time of speculation. As investors, knowing when to buy or sell stocks is part of the job. And when earnings announcements are released, the risks are only magnified.

The question is: Why hold onto a risky investment?

For decades, researchers have been unable to understand the irregular behavior of investors holding during earnings announcements. Dr. Pavel Savor, associate professor of finance at the Fox School of Business, proposes a groundbreaking explanation of this phenomenon in his paper, “Earnings Announcements and Systematic Risk.”

Depending on the news—good or bad—regarding a firm’s performance, earnings announcements can create a risky investing environment. Savor found that the expectation of a firm’s earnings can entice investors to hold stocks while expecting higher returns.

“People are naturally risk-averse,” says Savor. “If you are holding on to a risky asset, you need to be compensated for it.”

Pavel Savor, Associate Professor of Finance

For example, if you were given the opportunity to hold a one percent stake in Google at the time of an earnings announcement, what should you do? “You would say, that’s not enough [stock], because it’s a very risky time.” If investors are holding a stock around earnings, they are going to demand higher returns. This risk-based explanation, Savor argues, causes the stock prices to increase during these periods.

And this doesn’t just impact the period around the earnings announcements. Savor found that the anticipation of the announcements has a longer term effect than previously thought. According to the research, the performance of a firm during an announcement period can predict its future growth two and three quarters into the future. Savor found that the returns at announcing periods were significantly better predictors for performance than market returns.

Much research has been conducted on earning announcements, but this study is the first of its kind to show that returns around earning announcements can be explained by risks inherent in those announcements.

For this leading-edge research in the finance field, Dr. Savor received the Amundi-Smith-Breeden Prize given to the top three papers each year from the Journal of Finance.

Savor’s word to investors: Proceed with caution. “Be aware of the risk you are bearing,” he says. The gamble of investments may be inevitable, but with the recognition of the risk involved, firms can perform better. Earning announcements not only reveal a firm’s progress, but also give insight to how the economy is reacting to stocks.

“We [researchers] all hope our work will have tremendous impact,” says Savor. He anticipates this research will help investors be better informed when choosing their investments. “Our paper is likely to change at least how people view some return patterns. This is something no one was able to show before.”

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For some, outsourcing is a dirty word. But does it have to be?

According to Forbes, approximately 300,000 jobs are outsourced by the United States yearly. “Offshore” outsourcing, in particular, has become a widely used method in relocating office jobs to countries where labor costs are significantly lower. For example, Carrier, an Indianapolis-based HVAC company, made headlines for laying off 600 workers, sending those jobs to Mexico instead.

However, new research from the Fox School shows that choosing to outsource in a foreign country goes beyond a pros and cons list or a review of your bottom line—it is a strategic business decision.

J. Jay Choi, professor of finance, and Masaaki “Mike” Kotabe, professor of international business and marketing, embarked on a collaborative project in order to understand what motivates firms to seek options such as offshore outsourcing, in a way previous research has not.

Their paper, “Flexibility as Firm Value Drivers: Evidence from Offshore Outsourcing,” which was accepted for publication in the Global Strategy Journal, blends the researchers’ backgrounds strategy and finance to analyze outsourcing as an approach rather than a choice.

Choi and Kotabe found that firms chose to outsource in a foreign country in order to have flexibility in the face of uncertainty. An uncertain market can mean an upsurge in prices, a decline in demand, unforeseen competition, or an economic recession. Companies have to be flexible in order to adapt to these changes—which offshore outsourcing can offer.

“Our work fills an important gap demonstrating that flexibility adds value in more uncertain conditions, more so internationally than domestically,” said Kotabe. “Outsourcing provides firms the ability to adjust and evaluate their options in order to gain quality resources with limited costs.”

When firms are able to move their operations offshore, they essentially gain more freedom. Lower costs, more suppliers, and the ability to expand in more financially driven areas become widely available.

This level of flexibility is not as easily achievable when it comes to domestic operations.

However, Choi and Kotabe explain this approach may come with set-backs. “Offshoring allows firms to perform better financially, however, this relationship may be somewhat weakened by potential loss of domestic innovation and talent while dealing with foreign suppliers.”

Choi and Kotabe merged their respective disciplines in order to gain a unique perspective of outsourcing. “The key is to conduct business research as realistically as possible, so that we can provide relevant research findings to the business community,” said Choi.

The taboos that surround outsourcing may still exist, but with this new research, businesses and consumers alike can better understand when outsourcing will provide the best results.

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While there are many roads to launching a successful essay, article, or research paper, many of those roads have bumps, tolls, and avoidable potholes. Luckily, the Office of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives at the Fox School is here to help doctoral students and faculty avoid some of the most common writing mistakes.

Matt MacNaughton, a professional copy editor, shares his six recommendations for writers who want to get the most out of their papers.

1. Know Your Audience

Take a moment to ask, “Who am I writing this for?” If you are planning to submit your work to a journal or present it at a conference, look for submission guidelines that can help you tailor your entry for those readers. If your paper has the wrong format or layout, or uses a non-preferred citation style, your readers may decide that this isn’t the publication for you.

Be sure to introduce language with which your readers may not be familiar. If your audience is in your field, then perhaps you can assume a rudimentary knowledge of technical terms. If you are writing for general purpose, like a newspaper or magazine, define any jargon. If it’s redundant, an editor will remove it anyway.

2. Utilize Clear, Concise Language

In writing as in life, our diction requires our utmost attention. While we sometimes think that certain concepts require vivaciously paced sentences that deliberately pontificate their topic with the multisyllabic majesty of a character from Twelfth Night, most of the time it is truly unnecessary.

Did you understand that paragraph? Probably not as well or as quickly as you could have, if I had simply said, “Long sentences with big words are not usually better than shorter sentences with simpler words that convey the same meaning.” In fact, the latter contains more information in a shorter sentence. Keep it simple!

3. Quick Grammar Tips are Great…

Spelling mistakes and grammar missteps happen all the time, whether intentionally or by accident, but it does not have to be this way! There are a number of tools online that can help with easy questions concerning unfamiliar grammar rules. For example, does the comma go inside quotations, or outside? How about a semicolon or colon? I could tell you that most places in America will tell you unequivocally to put the comma inside and the colon outside, however –

4. …But Not Always Perfect

–in the U.K., sometimes those grammar rules are flipped!

Be very careful with these rules, because even if I comes before E except after C, the science can be very flawed! While knowing the difference between They’re, There, and Their will never come back to bite you (there are, in fact, no exceptions to this rule), style guides vary widely over things as silly as the Oxford comma. While quick grammar rules and tips can be helpful, don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to search for an answer in a style guide or the internet. A recommended style guide is the Associated Press, but, again, it depends on the requirements of the publication or conference.

5. Read Your Paper Out Loud

This is something that a number of people have heard about but very few practice. When you read your work out loud, you become acutely aware of each and every choice you made while writing, and can tease out the minute problems in pacing and language that otherwise your eyes would have glossed over .

You may not realize it, but you can hear grammar mistakes that your brain doesn’t recognize in print. You may even find yourself confused out loud when you were positive it made sense in print.

6. Get a Second Pair of Eyes

So you’ve gone through your paper to make sure you weren’t being verbose, that you were aligned with your submission guidelines, and that all your questions of grammar were addressed. Then, for good measure, you read it out loud and found a few more areas that could be edited for clarity. But sometimes reading and re-reading a paper can make you essay-blind. You need a second pair of eyes (and, maybe, a vacation).

That’s why the Office of Research at the Fox School has set you up to succeed with a copy editor who is available to read your manuscripts and provide feedback tailored to your needs. Doctoral students and faculty can send a request for copy editing services through our website. Once received, most submissions are returned with feedback within a week. Happy writing!

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Dr. Daniel Funk has made a significant mark on the field of sport management.

Funk, the Washburn Senior Research Fellow in the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management (STHM) and the director of the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University, recently received the Earle F. Zeigler Award from the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), one of the highest honors given to individuals in the field of sport research.

The award celebrates Dr. Funk as a key contributor to NASSM’s premier Journal of Sport Management and one of the most often-cited authors in the history of the sport management discipline.

Throughout his career, Funk has studied sport and recreation consumer experiences in order to help organizations understand customer acquisition, retention, and expenditure. He investigates the cognitive, physical, and organizational factors that shape our preferences and behavior to develop an effective mixture of marketing and management strategies that have become renown in the world of sport research.

Funk’s contributions have ranged from studies of an individual’s psychological connection to sports, to the relationship between sports team allegiance and customer loyalty. For example, Funk, along with Dr. Jeremy Jordan, associate dean at STHM, contributed to a paper by PhD student Bradley Baker about why runners keep running marathons.

The study investigated the relationship between runners’ satisfaction with and repeat participation in long-distance running events. Many studies have reviewed consumer satisfaction, but not much research has been conducted on experiential products, such as marathons.

After growing dramatically since 1960, road running peaked in 2013 and has been slowly declining each year. Between 2014 and 2016, two million less people crossed a finish line, but there were 2,000 more races from which to choose.

“Like any other business, running has a finite amount of customers,” Funk said. “If there is a decline in the demand for races and an oversupply in the amount of races offered, then there is an issue.”

While the researchers found a linear correlation between satisfaction and repeated participation in marathons—the more satisfied a customer is, the more likely they are to run the race again—satisfaction from an experience, like a marathon, is different than traditional customer satisfaction.

For instance, runners who have a “bucket list” may not come back to that race, regardless of how satisfied they are. Factors indicating a higher likelihood to return included previous running experience and geography—meaning that experienced runners and local runners were more likely to come back, despite that fact that first-time runners reported higher satisfaction levels with the race.

The article, “Run Again Another Day: The Role of Satisfaction on Repeat Marathon Participation,” was the winner in the NASSM’s national student research competition in 2016 and was recently published by the Journal of Sport Management.

Would you rather have $5 today or $10 in a month? Eat a donut or an apple? Save for retirement or buy something new?

When making these choices, you’re weighing two kinds of options: a short-term reward that is worse for your longer-term outcomes, or a less immediately satisfying reward that’s better for your future.

But what if you could be more patient? Dr. Crystal Reeck, assistant professor of the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School, has recently found that how you approach making these decisions can impact your ability to be patient and choose the longer-term option.

In Reeck’s study, participants chose between receiving smaller amounts of money delivered sooner (such as $44.80 in two weeks) or larger amounts of money delivered later (such as $51.50 in six weeks). Using mouse-tracking software, Reeck and her fellow researchers, Daniel Wall of Carnegie Mellon University’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Dr. Eric Johnson of Columbia Business School, tracked which pieces of information participants looked at as they hovered over the options.

About 50 percent of the participants took in all the information for the first option—the amount of money and time it would be delivered—and then all the information for the second option. The other half compared features between the options—first comparing the amounts of money, then comparing the delivery dates.

“What we found fascinating was not only were there these two groups of people with respect to their strategies, but they also differed in patience,” said Reeck, who is also the associate director of Temple University’s Center for Neural Decision Making. “People who were comparing between options were much more patient overall than those who were integrating the features of options.”

This increased patience when comparatively searching held true even when the research team manipulated the participants’ strategies. The team added a one-second delay in accessing information when hovering over a box on the screen, so that participants were subtly encouraged to search either comparatively (dollar vs. dollar, then time vs. time) or integratively (dollar and time vs. dollar and time).

“This change was so subtle that most people didn’t realize anything was different, yet it changed almost instantly how people made their choice,” said Eric Johnson, the Norman Eig Professor of Business and director of the Center for the Decision Sciences at Columbia Business School. “More importantly, it changed what they chose.” Participants who were assigned to search comparatively were more patient than those who were assigned to search integratively, regardless of how they searched before.

The results of the study indicate people are more likely to practice patience when the trade-off in value is easy to compare between options. “I’m a pretty impatient person. This research has helped me reframe the self-control decisions I struggle with as comparisons between salient options,” said Daniel Wall, a Ph.D. student in social and decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon. “My mom is always trying to give me junk food, but when I compare a bag of Peppermint Patties to not fitting into my jeans, it’s easier to abstain.”

For the researchers, they hope these insights encourage people to decide to save for retirement by anticipating how much the investment will grow in the future, or to choose an apple over a donut by considering the time on a treadmill needed to work off the pastry’s calories.

“Everyone encounters these intertemporal choices, often with decisions that are very important to us. Our research shows that by subtly changing how people search for information during these choices, we can encourage patience,” Reeck said.

Reeck’s paper, “Search Predicts and Changes Patience in Intertemporal Choice,” has been published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.

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For 800,000 young immigrants, the future is uncertain.

In August, the Trump Administration rescinded the executive actions that President Obama took to protect minors who illegally immigrated to the United States, not by their own choice, but alongside their parents. Established in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy allowed young immigrants to live, work, and go to college without the fear of deportation.

The Trump Administration maintains that Obama’s actions were unconstitutional, exceeding the scope of the executive branch by effectively changing the country’s laws—a responsibility that rests solely with Congress.

Kevin Fandl, assistant professor of Legal Studies at the Fox School, studied whether that claim is true in his paper, “Presidential Power to Protect Dreamers: Abusive or Proper?” which was accepted for publication by the Yale Law & Policy Review Inter Alia.

Fandl reviewed 200 years of case laws and statutes since the founding of the United States to learn what role the president has in enforcing—or ignoring—legislation affecting young immigrants, known as “Dreamers.” His research asks the question: “Does the president have the ability to selectively choose how the law is enforced?”

The president makes an oath to uphold the laws of this country. But, Fandl says, that doesn’t mean he has unlimited capacity to enforce each and every law. The president has the power of prosecutorial discretion—the authority to choose which laws to impose and to what degree—to allocate the resources available, such as budgets or staff, in line with his Administration’s priorities.

“The government is not a business,” says Fandl. “But in this case, you have to look at it from a business perspective and say, ‘This is how we have to dedicate our resources.'”

Fandl relates it to marijuana—an illegal drug by federal law, but legalized or decriminalized in many states. By choosing to not crack down on dispensaries, administrations can reallocate those resources to other issues, like, for example, border security.

In the case of DACA, Obama chose to not enforce immigration laws against individuals brought to this country as children. Fandl says, “Interpreting how the law is enforced is not only within the power of the executive—it is a logical approach to resource management.”

As Fandl’s research of the historical precedence shows, the Trump Administration’s argument against the constitutionality of DACA is flawed. The powers of prosecutorial discretion protect the president’s ability to spend more time or money on enforcing some laws over others.

Fandl’s paper, “Presidential Power to Protect Dreamers: Abusive or Proper?” will be published online by the Yale Law & Policy Review Inter Alia in the coming weeks.

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Job hunting is a challenge for most people—but for ex-convicts transitioning back into everyday life, finding a job can be nearly impossible. Data suggests that over half of the men and women who return home after being released from prison are unemployed for up to a year. Many of the formerly incarcerated see self-employment as one of the only routes to earn a steady income without resorting to low-wage employment.

Dr. Charlotte Ren, a Fox School associate professor in the Strategic Management department, saw the challenges the formerly incarcerated face and created an integrated course that provides entrepreneurial skills to this underserved population. This year, Ren’s course, “The Social Entrepreneurial Approach to Community Reintegration,” was identified by the Academy of Management as one of the finest innovations in the area of entrepreneurship education and received the 2017 Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy Award.

Ren’s course is part of a larger, on-going initiative called the Penn Restorative Entrepreneurship Program (PREP), an initiative she founded in 2014. “At the core of this course [and PREP] is the idea of addressing societal challenges and transforming lives through knowledge creation and sharing by bringing together college students and members of disadvantaged populations,” said Ren.

The ten-week accelerated program brings together students from multiple disciplines and formerly incarcerated individuals for intensive training on the many ways of starting and running small businesses and social enterprises.

After completing the course, students from both the university and the judicial system will be able to understand major theories of entrepreneurship, acquire skills involved in designing and implementing social entrepreneurship programs, and also understand the nature and scope of community reintegration problems

The economic benefits of re-entry programs like Ren’s have been projected to make a significant impact. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the U.S. economy lost between $57 and $65 billion in 2008 alone due to unemployed or underemployed ex-convicts. Through her course, Ren is helping to create opportunities for the formerly incarcerated to contribute to society and our economy in a meaningful way.

“I hope my course will inspire more faculty members,” Ren said, “both at the Fox School and across other schools and universities, to develop courses that apply their research and teaching expertise into addressing some of the pressing social issues in society.”

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Healthcare in this United States is a lightning rod for debate. As Congress grapples with the future of the Affordable Care Act, the American people face uncertainty in medical care and costs.

To improve the efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness for patient care, hospitals have increasingly turned digital, using Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems to store and share patient’s medical history. However, as the use of EMR systems increased, so did reported healthcare costs.

Since the adoption of the physician coding systems used to store and update EMRs in 2009, Medicare has experienced an estimated $380 million increase in reimbursements per year. Medicare accused hospitals of “upcoding,” or illegally overstating patients’ diagnoses and treatment, in an effort to receive a higher reimbursement. A 2012 study showed that hospitals in Utica, NY, and Nashville, TN, increased its patient reimbursement claims by 43% and 82% respectively after adopting EMR systems.

In response to this drastic surge in reimbursements, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services conducted a pilot program, the Recovery Audit Program, from 2004 to 2010. Researchers at the Fox School partnered with researchers at McGill University to study how this audit program has been able to reduce illegal Medicare reimbursement claims, thus lessening the financial burden on American taxpayers.

Hilal Atasoy

The initial goal of implementing EMRs was to lower costs by reducing medical errors, over-testing, and re-admissions. But the findings of Dr. Kartik K. Ganju of McGill and Drs. Hilal Atasoy and Paul Pavlou of Temple University, confirmed that the adoption of the coding system is associated with an increase in Medicare reimbursements, particularly in the case of for-profit hospitals.

The research found an average of $217,745 in inflated reimbursements to Medicare per hospital per year, and even higher costs (nearly $370,000 in overages) at for-profit hospitals. After finding $693 million in overpayments by Medicare in six pilot states, the audit program was adopted nationwide in 2010.

The researchers looked into this “trillion-dollar conundrum” and found that the audit program successfully combated upcoding by using default templates and by identifying and removing cloned records of old patient that were erroneously copied into a new patient’s medical chart. After the audit became nationwide, the study found that it had corrected up to $2 billion in incorrect claims; yet for-profit hospitals were still reporting high reimbursement fees than their nonprofit counterparts.

The bottom line? While EMRs have enhanced coordination and information sharing, they also make it easier to report expensive and potentially inappropriate healthcare expenses.

As the first successful evaluation of the Recovery Audit Program, the researchers praise the work that has been done, but warn that stronger oversight by the government is still needed to combat ever-increasing costs, especially at for-profit hospitals.

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When looking for a restaurant, bakery, plumber, or lawyer, you’re likely to visit sites like Yelp or Angie’s List to help make a choice. In fact, recent research shows that 78 percent of consumers in the United States will read online reviews prior to making a purchase or decision. Meanwhile, businesses can use these review sites to interact more directly with their customers, through tools like new owner response features.

How does this online interaction translate into real-world performance? Dr. Subodha Kumar, professor of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School, conducted a study to find out.

Kumar examines the impact of the adoption of the business owner response feature within online review platforms in his paper, “Exit, Voice, and Response in Digital Platforms: An Empirical Investigation of Online Management Response Strategies,” which was accepted for publication in the Information Systems Research, an A-level journal.

Businesses that use the response features saw an increased number of mobile “check-ins” through sites like FourSquare and Facebook. Although the feature has been beneficial for businesses that use it, the key to consistent success resides in the need for companies to stay up-to-date with ways to connect with their consumers, both present and future.

“Overall, the new features supported through digital platforms will help businesses develop the right engagement strategy, improve consumer experience, and generate more reviews and consumer traffic, which will ultimately open more revenue generating opportunities for both the digital platforms and businesses,” said Kumar. This strategy will essentially drive higher website traffic and, if done well, enhance customer relations.

The study also found that use of the online response feature impacted the performance of nearby businesses. For example, in analyzing the performance of nearby restaurants in direct competition, businesses that directly engaged with customers online increased their number of check-ins, while businesses that did not use the features saw a decrease. This spillover effect suggests that businesses must be aware of how their neighbors and competitors are engaging with customers online in order to optimize their own digital strategies.

With the growth of mobile check-ins, social media, and online reviews, the research possibilities are evolving as well. “A future research direction is to examine which types of online management responses are more likely to attract consumers and enhance business performance,” said Kumar.

Dr. Subodha Kumar recently joined the Fox School. He will be a part of the Data Science Institute, an interdisciplinary body that connects multiple disciplinary perspectives to increase collaboration in the fields of computer science, math and statistics, and business knowledge.

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More isn’t always better—and that theory applies to social media advertising.

Recent research findings suggest that the volume of social media posts will drive consumers to unfollow the accounts of even their favorite companies and brands. This was especially true within cities of greater per-capita population density, and when social posts are sent during traffic peak hours of 5-8 p.m., according to researchers from the Fox School.

Dr. Paul Pavlou

The researchers found both a short-term benefit and a long-term loss with regard to this form of social media marketing: While posts led to 5% sales increases, the posts often “fatigued and frustrated” consumers and increased the likelihood that they would unfollow these accounts by more than 300%.

“Companies may be inclined to intensify their advertising on social media once they see the immediate benefits,” said Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, the Fox School’s Senior Associate Dean of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives. “The volume and timing of these posts, however, may drive consumers to unfollow these accounts and be less likely to purchase from these companies in the future.”

Fox School PhD student Shuting Wang led the study, “Tempting Fate: Social Media Posts by Firms, Customer Purchases, and the Loss of Followers,” along with Pavlou and University of Minnesota associate professor Dr. Brad Greenwood.

Shuting Wang

The team worked with data from a Chinese fashion company that conducted its social media marketing through WeChat, China’s Facebook equivalent. The company, which has retail locations in 99 Chinese cities, sent identical messaging to its followers, regardless of their city of origin and their city’s population density. The company would post to WeChat four times per month and only during the 5-7 p.m. timeframe. While this method produced temporary jolts in sales, it ultimately cannibalized the company’s long-term sales, the researchers found.

“Our recommendations included a complete change of strategy, with a reduction in arbitrary posts that could create annoyance or interruption, and a plan to send messages only during non-peak traffic density hours,” Pavlou said.

For more on the study, or to schedule an interview with the researchers, contact: Christopher A. Vito, Associate Director of Communications and Media Relations, (215) 204-4115, cvito@temple.edu.

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