Yanbo Wang
Prof. Yanbo Wang
Management and Strategy
Associate Director, Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Associate Professor

3917 0020

KK 1107

After you. No, really.

No matter where you live or who you are, if you’ve attended school, been on a sports team, played music, or made any kind of presentation ever, there is a core memory that we all share: being chosen to go first. That sinking feeling you get when you stand up and step into the unknown and start speaking, or playing, or demonstrating, or whatever, and all eyes are on you – because you’re the first one. The quiet terror that seeps in as people begin to assess you, the judges peering at you, the knowledge that everyone else has more time to prepare than you…It stays with you forever.

HKU Business School examines the effectiveness and implications of the talent recruitment programmes

Science, an internationally renowned academic journal on scientific research, has recently published a research paper co-authored by Dr Yanbo Wang from HKU Business School and Dr Dongbo Shi from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, titled ‘Has China’s Young Thousand Talents program been successful in recruiting and nurturing top-caliber scientists’, examining the effectiveness of China’s Young Thousand Talents (YTT) programme in recruiting, retaining and nurturing top scientists.

Good to Go First? Position Effects in Expert Evaluation of Early-Stage Ventures

There is often considerable anxiety and conflicting advice concerning the benefits of presenting/being evaluated first. We thus investigate how expert evaluators vary in their evaluations of entrepreneurial proposals based upon the order in which they are evaluated. Our research setting is a premiere innovation fund competition in Beijing, China, where the prize money at stake is economically meaningful, and evaluators are quasi-randomly assigned to evaluate written grant proposals without the possibility of peer influence. This enables us to credibly recover a causal position effect. We also theorize and test how heterogeneity in evaluators’ prior (context-specific) judging experience moderates position effects. Overall, we find that a proposal evaluated first requires total assets in the top 10th percentile to merely equal the evaluation of a proposal in the bottom 10th percentile that is not evaluated first. Firm and evaluator fixed-effects models yield consistent findings. We consider evaluation design elements that may mollify these position effects in the discussion section.

Fraud and Innovation

We show that fraudulent firms allocate resources differently than honest companies. Resources obtained through fraudulent means are likely to be viewed as unearned gains and are less likely to be invested in productive activities, such as recruiting talent. We posit that honest and fraudulent companies also invest in different types of innovation: honest firms pursue technically significant innovations, while fraudulent companies are likely to make smaller investments in less challenging inventive opportunities that contribute to the appearance rather than the substance of innovation. We test these predictions in a longitudinal dataset tracking the personnel recruitment and patenting activities of 467 Chinese high technology firms, all of which applied for state-funded innovation grants. We identify fraud by comparing two sets of financial books prepared by each company in the data in the same fiscal year, which are legally required to be identical but are discrepant in over 50 percent of cases, in a direction that benefits the firm. We find that relative to honest companies, fraudulent firms are more likely to receive state grants and are less likely to recruit new employees or produce important inventions in the post-grant period.