Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Business and Economics


Finance and Quantitative Methods

First Advisor

Dr. Mark H. Liu


The dissertation consists of three chapters spanning two areas of finance: corporate finance and institutional investors. In the first chapter, “Board Gender Diversity, Firm Culture, and Female Inventors”, I study how employee's Research and Development (R&D) activity is affected by firm culture. Using board gender diversity as a proxy for female-friendly culture, I find that a greater representation of women in the boardroom is associated with increased productivity and innovation output by female inventors relative to male inventors. Female inventors file more highly cited patents and less uncited patents. The effect is driven by female directors with R&D or high-tech expertise. The results support the notion that women in leadership positions cultivate a more female-friendly firm culture. In the second chapter, “Mutual Fund Preference for Pure-Play Firms” coauthored with Bradford Jordan and Mark Liu, we examine how a firm’s organization form affects mutual fund investments. We show that actively managed mutual funds avoid diluting their industry expertise by holding more pure-play firms. Specifically, mutual funds prefer firms that operate in fewer industries and firms with higher industry beta; this preference is stronger among mutual funds with greater industry expertise. We propose a measure, Pureplayness, as the fraction of a fund's equity invested in pure-play firms. Our results suggest that funds with higher Pureplayness have better risk-adjusted performance. In the third chapter, “Can Mergers and Acquisitions Internalize Positive Externalities in Funding Innovation” coauthored with Thomas Chemmanur and Mark Liu, we find that mergers and acquisitions between innovation users and innovation producers enhance innovation output. The combined firm can share the upfront costs and better appropriate the benefits associated with the innovation.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)