Business

Applications for 2020-2021 scholarships have now closed. All applicants will be notified of the outcome by mid-October 2020.

Inequality, social capital and the harshness of justice systems

Supervisor

Ananish Chaudhuri

Discipline

Economics

Project code: BUS001

It is well-documented that countries with high income inequality fare worse than those with greater equality in terms of quality of life and measures of social capital. E.g., countries with high inequality report lower life expectancy and higher child mortality rates. This research project looks at whether unequal societies also punish law-breakers more harshly; both in terms of higher incarceration rates and/or longer prison terms. We intend to gather publicly available data to study the relationship between inequality and the severity of punishment. This will involve collecting data on global incarceration rates along with data on countries’ economic and social outcomes, regime characteristics and degree of democratization. We will make this data publicly available for other researchers upon conclusion of our project.

Occurrence and visibility of health information on alcohol: An investigation across product categories and retail channels

Supervisor

Bodo Lang
Cliona Ni Mhurchu
Natalie Walker

Discipline

Marketing

Project code: BUS002

Alcohol consumption can have severe negative health consequences for consumers. New Zealand currently does not have mandatory health information (e.g., warning labels aimed at the general public) for alcohol, relying instead on a voluntary system. As a result, few alcoholic beverages contain health information. This is problematic because consumers do not have full information about the risks of the product at the point of sale.

This study aims to ‘take stock’ of how often health information appears on packaging, what types of information is used, how visible it is, and what design elements it includes. This study will also compare whether these aspects differ across retail outlets (e.g. supermarkets vs liquor stores; NZ owned vs foreign owned) and by method of sale (e.g. online vs offline).

To achieve these aims, this study will audit the packaging of alcoholic beverages (e.g. beer, wine, spirits, RTDs) and capture the presentation of health information on these products.

Scoping study on exceptions and limitations in New Zealand copyright law

Supervisor

Bram Van Wiele

Discipline

Commercial Law

Project code: BUS003

Copyright seeks to strike a balance between the owner’s monopoly rights on the one hand, and the public interest in having equitable access to works on the other. One key tool for safeguarding the public interest are so-called exceptions and limitations. 

The copyright regime is currently under review. In November 2018 the government held a 4-month consultation on the “Issues Paper: Review of the Copyright Act 1994”. One of the aims of this first stage of the review process was to create a better understanding of the issues faced by the various stakeholders, including in relation to copyright exceptions and limitations. 

While the government released a summary of submissions, there remains a need to better understand and contextualise the various submissions. This project will examine in greater detail the submissions to the issues paper as far as exceptions and limitations are concerned, supplemented by academic literature.

The International Business of Modern Slavery

Supervisor

Brent Burmester
Christina Stringer
Snejina Michailova

Discipline

Management and International Business

Project code: BUS004

The three named supervisors are co-authors of a book for Cambridge University Press titled The International Business of Modern Slavery. This is a project involving two years of writing and research and it will constitute the first major output for the newly formed Research Centre on Modern Slavery Studies. The book directly addresses modern slavery for a scholarly audience from an IB perspective, offering insights into how businesses in general and multinational corporations in particular accommodate and seek to eradicate modern slavery in their supply chains. Built on a unifying theoretical foundation, chapters integrates examples from different regions, countries, industries, and companies, providing clear evidence for the scale and intensity of the problem. While aimed at academics, the book will be an important resource for anyone interested in the governance of labour relations and slavery abolition.

Tikanga Mahere I Te Ao Māori: The Case of Miraka

Supervisor

Dan Tisch

Discipline

Management and International Business

Project code: BUS005

Miraka Limited is an emerging global dairy company started in 2011 co-operatively owned by a group of Māori trusts: Wairapa Moana Inc., Tuaropaki trust, Waipapa 9 Trust, Hauhangaroa Partnership, Tauhara Moana Trust and Huiarau Farms and includes 21% stake held by an Vinamilk which is the largest dairy company in Vietnam. This project integrates Mātauranga Māori as a novel approach to strategic management that addresses the needs of New Zealand. Estimates put the size of the Māori economy at $50 billion representing 6% of the total New Zealand asset base. Despite its importance, the mātauranga of Māori business strategy remains under-researched. Miraka has won many accolades in the New Zealand business environment and will serve as an exemplary case for a research output (journal article) on mātauranga in business studies, and in a second output, a teaching case.

How crime against women deters economic growth: Theory Meets Data

Supervisor

Debasis Bandyopadhyay

Discipline

Economics

Project code: BUS006

We have designed a new theoretical model to show how technology and institutions interact to create a perception of crime against women in the macro economy, and how that perception deters women’s participation and economic growth. Indian data shows that as the gender-gap in education (measured by the difference in numbers of male and female students) declines, the gender-gap in labour-force participation increases. That observation stands in sharp contrast with the experience of China and western countries operating under significantly less gender-biased institutions, measured by the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI). We have the data for quantifying theory before conducting an empirical analysis of the simulated outcomes for China and India to understand the difference in their experience. The project involves the use of software (STATA / R / MatLab / Mathematica) to simulate and calibrate the model’s outcome to panel data, before conducting statistical tests of the hypothesis.

Chatbots for Education during and Post COVID-19

Supervisor

Dulani Jayasuriya

Discipline

Accounting & Finance

Project code: BUS007

As artificial intelligence continues to make inroads in education, the potential uses for chatbots for personalised education. The first part of the project would involve conducting a systematic review of chatbots usage in the education sphere and the industry in general education, finance and accounting. The second part would involve conducting a systematic review of digital usage in education to decrease inequality with regard to gender, income, ethnicity and disabilities. The final part of the project would involve developing several case studies by testing out the development of chatbots using existing development platforms focused on imparting basic financial knowledge, personal financial knowledge and improving English language skills. With increased movement of university courses online due to COVID-19, massive job losses and governments providing wage subsidy schemes, future increased spending on education maybe problematic. Thus, this project aims to reduce the increased inequalities due to COVID-19 with regard to gender, income and disabilities.

Increasing Trust in Decision Making with Mixed-Reality Data Visualization Spaces

Supervisor

Fernando Beltran

Discipline

Information Systems and Operations Management 

Project code: BUS008

Mixed-reality technologies allow for data to be presented in new visual and interactive ways. Given the growing need in organisations for enhanced data analytics, there is an appetite to explore the potential of leveraging mixed reality environments for data visualisation to support more effective decision-making. This proposal seeks to do this while simultaneously exploring the theme of user end trust of data presented in this manner. 
This project seeks to use our multi-user Virtual/Augmented reality space called Aroaro to investigate trust in the transfer, adaptation, representation and visualisation of a diverse range of data structures in the context of decision making. 
We want to work towards answering the question - How can an increase in visual information density give decision makers more trust in the decisions they are making in part or totally based on the data available?

Food Security of Supply

Supervisor

Fernando Oliveira

Discipline

Graduate School of Management

Project code: BUS009

The World Economic Forum has identified extreme weather events and natural disasters as the most important global risks; these are inexorably linked to water and food crises. 
Historically, there are many examples of severe food shortages that cost human lives, such as in the 1960s-1970s in China, the 1980s food shortages in Ethiopia, the Malawi famine in 2002, or the 2008 food crises associated with rice, wheat, and vegetable oils price increases. 

In this project we analyze the food security of supply, and create an index to evaluate the resilience and insecurity of the food supply chain in different countries. The objective is to be able to use any early signs of an incoming crisis to guide the actions of humanitarian organizations.

Adaptive Sustainable Health Supply Chains

Supervisor

Gabrielle Peko

Discipline

Information Systems and Operations Management 

Project code: BUS010

The prevalence of the COVID19 pandemic has uncovered alarming inadequacies in many areas. But one area of critical importance to organisations, communities and society in general is the activities of health supply chains (HSC). The COVID 19 disruption has exposed significant vulnerabilities in HSC activities associated with securing suppliers and sourcing products. Currently there are few mechanisms and frameworks to explicitly identify and support adaptive and sustainable practices particularly across HSC. This research leverages adaptive and sustainable organisational principles to identify adaptive and sustainable ideas, approaches, concepts, models, processes and frameworks to transform HSC. Conversely, these principles can be leveraged to identify areas of unsustainability and lack of flexibility in HSC. Thus enabling individuals, organisations, and communities to address inflexible and unsustainable supply chain practices.

Social Media as the new States: A comparative analysis of Social Media Platform’s Rules and their Application

Supervisor

Gehan Gunasekara
Alan Toy

Discipline

Commercial Law

Project code: BUS011

The influence of social media is pervasive and growing, whether it be on the prevalence of hate speech surrounding the 2019 Christchurch shootings, the manipulation of elections and fake news (most recently involving the Covid-19 pandemic). The community standards and rules of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have become especially relevant as States appear relatively powerless to regulate behaviour on the platforms. This project examines what changes to the platforms have occurred that may be attributable to the Christchurch Call, co-sponsored by New Zealand, as well as the degree of convergence between the platforms’ approaches to regulating the conduct of those using them. It will also examine evidence as to how they apply their standards and adjudicate disputes. Finally, the project will attempt to assess the aspects of national laws (e.g. electoral, censorship, media and privacy) most impacted by the platforms and tentative attempts by Governments to regulate these.

The competitive consequence of multi-market contact: A meta-analytic approach

Supervisor

Grigorij Ljubownikow

Discipline

Graduate School of Management

Project code: BUS012

Do you want to learn about how large firms (e.g. Toyota and Mercedes) compete when they offer very similar products (e.g. SUVs, Sedans, and Vans)? Have you ever wondered how scientific evidence accumulates to form the basis of our current knowledge? In this project, you will learn about both. Using meta-analytical techniques, we will investigate the competitive consequences of multimarket contact. With the guidance of the primary investigator, you will extract information from academic studies to create a database and execute parts of the statistical meta-analytical procedure. In the process, you will learn how to use the R statistical language (no prior knowledge of R is required, but a basic knowledge of statistics is beneficial) to extract and manage information and carry out a statistical meta-analysis. In addition, you will gain detailed knowledge about the drivers and outcomes of firm competitive behaviour in the presence of multimarket contact.

Water taxes and regional councils: a curious combination

Supervisor

Jagdeep Singh-Ladhar

Discipline

Commercial Law

Project code: BUS013

Water taxes have been a prominent part of election discussion. Yet there is relatively little research on the consideration of water taxes at regional council level. Regional councils have the function of maintaining water permit related information under the Resource Management Act 1991. A related function is the creation and maintenance of rules for resource allocation, including water allocation. However, the national policy for water was not in place until 2011 which resulted in a gap of 20 years where water policy has not developed as envisioned under the RMA. 

Research on environmental law and policy does not exist in silos. There are links across disciplines because of the nature of the resource. Having said that embarking on research of this kind needs to be designed to provide a depth of understanding on a particular point. A student with interest in natural resources, policy and law and/or commercial law would benefit from taking part in this study. 

This research seeks to establish whether regional councils have adequate resources to manage their information provision function if water taxes were introduced?

Stolen Generations: “never, never happen again”

Supervisor

Julie Cassidy

Discipline

Commercial Law

Project code: BUS014

On 13 February 2008, the then Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd made a formal apology to the Stolen Generations of Australia. In that apology, it was said that the “injustices of the past must never, never happen again”. However, this apology might not prevent a “new stolen generation”. There are concerns that there is a “new stolen generation”, based on the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care. While New Zealand has never formally had a policy of assimilating Maori children akin to the Stolen Generations in Australia, history portrays stories that are strikingly similar to that in Australia.
We will explore if and to what extend the legislative landscape of Australia and New Zealand has changed since the formal end of the forced removal policies and whether these changes are sufficient to guarantee that the past will “never, never happen again”.

Acceptance of AIAs in antibiotics prescription

Supervisor

Laszlo Sajtos 
Stephen Ritchie

Discipline

Marketing

Project code: BUS015

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been heralded as the game-changer for increasing organisational efficiency and enhancing individual and societal well-being. Increasingly, AI-agents (AIA) such as avatars, digital assistants and chatbots are being used to facilitate interactions with service users. But, would you take medical advice from a digital assistant? While some see the advent of AIAs leading to increased living standards and unimagined opportunities for humans to flourish, others, conditioned by the spectre of dystopian futures fear the loss of their autonomy and privacy and so mistrust and resist AIAs. Using AIAs will affect the well-being of both medical professionals and patients, particularly in service-dominant economies like New Zealand. We need to understand how the mistrust and resistance of medical professionals is influenced by their perceived reduced job-related autonomy and their concern for their own and users’ outcomes. Systematic research is required to understand how to create mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationships between medical professionals, patients and AIAs.

Evaluating Energy Rebound Effect – A Meta-Analysis

Supervisor

Le Wen
Basil Sharp

Discipline

Economics

Project code: BUS016

Increased energy savings from efficiencies may result in additional energy using activities and/or more energy-intensive production. This is known as a rebound effect. In extreme cases, the rebound effect may be so large that an improvement in energy efficiency may result in greater energy use. Promoting energy efficiency improvement without considering energy consumption or knowing the size of the rebound effects could result in not achieving greenhouse gas emissions targets. This project is to provide a systematic analysis of rebound effects and its linkage to the effectiveness of energy efficiency policies.

Critical audit matters reporting around the world

Supervisor

Lina Li

Discipline

Accounting & Finance

Project code: BUS017

The new requirement for auditors to report critical audit matters (CAMs) is the most significant change to the auditor’s report in more than 70 years. This project aims to further our understanding of the costs and benefits of mandatory CAMs disclosure in the audit report set forth by the ISA 701 and AS 3101. While the objective of mandating CAMs reporting is to increase transparency and enhance the value of audit, there are concerns around the readability of CAMs, and the possibility of using boilerplate language by auditors over time. In addition, contrary to general expectation, the empirical evidence so far suggests that investors do not perceive the new audit report to be more decision-useful than before. This project is motivated by the limited understanding so far about the quality and implications of CAMs disclosed by auditors. We aim to examine these topical issues using hand-collected data.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation: What Business Associations Want

Supervisor

Natasha Hamilton-Hart

Discipline

Management and International Business - NZAI

Project code: BUS018

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group was established in 1989 to advance regional economic cooperation. Since then, the APEC agenda has expanded to cover a wide range of issues, from climate change to facilitating trade by small and medium enterprises. This project will investigate the views of business associations in selected APEC member countries, including New Zealand, to determine the extent to which the official APEC agenda corresponds with the priorities of business associations in the region. The student researcher will work with an academic supervisor from the University’s New Zealand Asia Institute and in collaboration with the New Zealand International Business Forum, which will provide an industry perspective. The student researcher will be provided with desk space at the International Business Forum’s offices and receive regular advice from both the academic supervisor and the industry advisor.

New Zealand’s Future Asia-Pacific Trade in an Age of Shocks

Supervisor

Rob Scollay

Discipline

Economics

Project code: BUS019

The Asia-Pacific region is the central focus of New Zealand’s trade, accounting in the past for over 60% of our exports, foreign investment inflows, overseas tourists and international students. The region’s trade has recently been buffeted by multiple shocks including: trade wars and associated sea changes in the trade and foreign policy orientation of the United States and some other countries including Australia; major changes in the economic outlook for China; deliberate weakening of the WTO, the centrepiece of New Zealand’s commitment to and reliance on the multilateral trading system; and most recently the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project will identify the changes in the Asia-Pacific regional trading environment resulting from these shocks, and the potential implications for New Zealand including impacts, risks, and policy options.

Knowledge Exchange by Academics: Motivations and Supports (New Zealand)

Supervisor

Tana Pistorius

Discipline

Commercial Law

Project code: BUS020

Prof Suma Athreye (University of Essex) and Dr Abhijit Sengupta (University of Kent) developed a toolkit and a Manual on Incentives, commissioned by the IP for Universities Division of the World Intellectual Property Organisation. The Academic Motivations and Supports Toolkit is a diagnostic toolkit designed to assist universities worldwide to craft appropriate incentives for knowledge exchange given the motivations of their academic staff. Evidence-based ‘suggested actions’ are then offered to inform policy reform and to implement practical improvements. 

The toolkit consists of a questionnaire to be populated by individual academics of a university and aggregated to Faculty level responses. Professor Tana Pistorius assisted the authors to pilot the questionnaire in South Africa and now wish to pilot the questionnaire in New Zealand.

How Does Flooding Risk Impact Housing Values in Auckland?

Supervisor

William Cheung
Edward Yiu

Discipline

Property

Project code: BUS021

Sea level rise is one of the imminent climate change dangers. Many global cities located in coastal areas are therefore subject to varying degrees of flooding. In New Zealand, councils have surveyed and mapped all flood‐prone areas. These maps enable us to identify all land that is flood-liable and provide an indication of how likely such land will be affected by flooding. This information is available to property buyers when they purchase the property. However, evidence in the previous studies is mixed, ranging from no impact to discounts of more than 40 per cent of the property transacted price (Lamond et al., 2010). This project aims to use a spatial-temporal differencing approach to identify the causal effects of flooding risks on the value of residential properties by analysing repeated sales pairs that involve changes in flood‐prone areas and hence teasing out genuine impacts of flood risks perceived by homebuyers.