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Misum green bags

Twice a semester, Misum hosts green bag seminars. Affiliated researchers from our different platforms are invited to present their recent work during a lunch seminar. Below are some of our most recent green bags.

MAY 2023


Seminar topic: Social Impact Bonds: a solution in search of problems

On behalf of the Accounting Frameworks platform.


Social impact is increasingly treated as amenable to quantification and monetization. Quantification of the social enables, for example, creation of the pay-for-success funding mechanisms, intended for curing and preventing a range of social problems.  The present study addresses the research problematic of social impact measurement in the context of a such pay-for-success funding mechanism, Social Impact Bonds, SIBs. Based upon a qualitative study of the efforts to create an ecosystem in which SIBs are inhabited, we consider the emergence of SIBs as an idea, the problematics associated with measurement of social impact, and intertwinement of measurement practices with the surrounding ecosystem. We highlight negotiations about proper criteria for impact evaluation, and the need for intersubjective agreement on the referents against with the effects of interventions are to be evaluated to in order to quantify the impact. The study examines SIB ecosystem creation in the context of Finland, a Nordic welfare society.


MARCH 2023


Seminar topic: Increasing VAT revenues and formalization through lotteries: Evidence from Tanzania

On behalf of the Human Capital and Sustainable Development platform.


In this project, we test whether incentivizing customers to ask for receipts will push businesses to print more receipts, recording their transactions, and eventually increase VAT revenues. VAT revenues in Tanzania, as in other countries of the continent, are much lower than expected. Businesses are reluctant to print receipts (in which case the transaction is recorded and the VAT can be collected), and enforcement is costly and inefficient. Businesses seem nonetheless very responsive to customers’ requests: when customers ask for a receipt they almost always receive it. To incentivize customers to ask for a receipt, we collaborate with the tax authorities and implement a VAT lottery in Tegeta, Tanzania, in July-October 2022. During this period, receipts from a purchase made in Tegeta automatically becomes a ticket in a lottery when customers provide the seller with their phone number. Lottery draws are made every week, and there is one larger prize every month. The lottery is advertised through public announcements, posters and flyers, as well as social media. We measure the effects of the lottery using a difference-in-difference estimator comparing the businesses of Tegeta to the other businesses of Tanzania. We use the administrative data from the Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFD) that record the sales. Our main outcomes are, per business per month: the number of printed receipts (equivalent to the number of recorded transactions) total sales, and total VAT collected (among VAT-registered firms). Among the non-registered firms, we will also check if the lottery increases their recorded sales above the legal threshold for registration – the first step towards formalization. In addition, we collect first-hand data in Tegeta throughout the lottery to document how customers perceive and respond to the lottery.




Seminar topic: Alleviating or reinforcing the double stigma? The body work of Hijra business owners in Bangladesh

On behalf of the Sustainable Business Development Through Entrepreneurship and Innovation Platform.


This paper (in progress) offers an analysis of the body work of Hijra business owners - those Hijras who have initiated their own commercial activity - and details how Hijra business owners’ use of their body in their everyday professional life both alleviates and reinforces their double identity stigma. In the South Asian sub-continent, Hijras are defined as third gender individuals who are often associated with a communitarian and cultural system of organizing known as the ‘Hijra community’. This community is widely disrespected in Bangladesh because of the engagement of its members in begging and sex work as a means to survive. In other words, Hijras are subject to a gender stigma due to their gender nonconformity, but also an occupational stigma due to their connection with the Hijra community. Theoretically, the paper examines body work as one specific approach to identity work and, in particular, how body work can serve to manage double stigma. Although there exists a consolidated literature on identity work, less is known about body work and especially about the association of body work and stigma. This research is supported by a large pool of empirical data collected between 2019 and 2022 - e.g., 61 interviews with Hijra business owners, 25 stakeholder interviews, 74 hours of participant observations and 5 focus groups in Bangladesh - and aims at contributing to the UN SDGs 1 (No poverty), 5 (Gender equality), and 8 (Decent work and economic growth).




Seminar topic: Impact Investing and Venture Capital Industry: Experimental Evidence

On behalf of the Sustainable Finance initiative.


Utilizing an experiment with real US venture capitalists, this paper finds that aiming for environmental and social impacts lowers investors’ expectations of a high-quality startup’s financial returns. Impact ventures are also more complicated to evaluate, which requires more time on its evaluation process. The experiment discovers several barriers which impede impact ventures’ fund-raising outcomes from profit-driven investors. However, investors’ attitudes towards ESG startups are positively correlated with their social preferences, supporting the non-pecuniary motivation of impact investing. A dynamic Bayesian model is used to demonstrate how these identified expectations and preferences affect impact investment in the US venture capital industry.




Seminar topic: COVID-19 Learning loss and recovery: Panel Data Evidence from India

On behalf of the Human Capital and Sustainable Development platform


We use a near-representative household panel survey of ∼19,000 primary-school-aged children in rural Tamil Nadu to study the extent of ‘learning loss’ after COVID-19 school closures, the pace of recovery in the months after schools reopened, and the role of a flagship compensatory intervention introduced by the state government. Students tested in December 2021, after 18 months of school closures, displayed severe deficits in learning of about 0.7 standard deviations (σ) in math and 0.34σ in language compared to identically-aged students in the same villages in 2019. Using multiple rounds of in-person testing, we find that two-thirds of this deficit was made up in the 6 months after school reopening. Using value-added models, we attribute ∼24% of the cohort-level recovery to a government-run after-school remediation program which improved test scores for attendees by 0.17σ in math and 0.09σ in Tamil after 3-4 months. Further, while learning loss was regressive, the recovery was progressive, likely reflecting (in part) the greater take up of the remediation program by more socioeconomically disadvantaged students. These positive results from a state-wide program delivered at scale by the government may provide a useful template for both recovery from COVID-19 learning losses, and bridging learning gaps more generally in low-and-middle-income countries.




Seminar topic: Overvalued Equity and CSR

On behalf of the Accounting Frameworks platform


Overvaluation of equity arises when a firm's stock price is higher than its underlying value. Prior studies suggest that overvaluation affects managers’ investment decisions. In this paper, we examine whether overvalued equity affects investment decisions about corporate social responsibility (CSR). We find that firms cut their aggregate CSR investments in response to equity overvaluation. This association is moderated by catering and financing channels. Via the catering channel, overvalued firms decrease investments in CSR to cater to the short-term investors’ sentiments. Through the financing channel, overvalued equity allows financially constrained firms to finance investments in CSR policies. This paper contributes to the literature that analyzes the determinants of CSR by showing that while overvalued equity reduces the average CSR investments, it actually stimulates CSR investments for financially constrained firms.


JUNE 2022


Seminar topic: Mandatory ESG Reporting and Corporate Performance

On behalf of the Accounting Frameworks Platform


MAY 2022


Seminar topic: Market lock-in and public procurement: how procurers crack it open to scale sustainable solutions

On behalf of the Sustainable Business Development Through Entrepreneurship and Innovation Platform.


Public procurement can be an important catalyst to scale sustainability solutions to the mainstream market because public procurement typically amounts to half of national public spending for most European countries. However, a procurement perspective to sustainable market transitions is lacking. Through this research, we investigate how public procurement can both constrain and enable sustainable market transitions, by causing a market lock-in and providing the means out of it. We collected qualitative data on sustainable public procurement and carried out 56 interviews, six observations of events and scrutinised over 500 pages of archival data. We use an inductive approach to analyse this data. Data collection is ongoing and to be finalized by May 2022. Our preliminary findings show that, to crack open a market lock-in, procurers are stepping out of their roles as buyers and taking on a role as a solution orchestrator to shape sustainable markets through the practice of purchasing. The final ‘function’ that is procured exists as several partial solutions in the niche market and is new to the procuring organization. It does not exist as an integrated solution in the market without the procurer as a spider in the web, knitting the different elements of the integrated solution together.


APRIL 2022


Seminar topic: Agile manufacturing and sustainable business performance: Exploring the role of supply chain integration and transformational capabilities

On behalf of the Sustainable Business Development Through Entrepreneurship and Innovation Platform.


APRIL 2022


Seminar topic: Climate Change Experiment

On behalf of the Human Capital and Sustainable Development Platform.


MARCH 2022


Seminar topic: Voting for climate change: integrating climate issues in corporate governance

On behalf of the Sustainable Finance initiative.


A substantive part of the investor community is taking it upon itself to steer the corporate sectortowards drastically lowering GHG emissions via their ownership position in public companies. In this project, we will focus on the emerging strategy of integrating climate change in corporate governance (CG) targeting board composition and accountability.

Corporate boards are important in the climate context as they set the overall policy and long-term goals for the company and have an oversight function of corporate officers and executives. Notably, there is an ongoing discussion in the investor community if boards should be requested to approve and be accountable for corporate net-zero plans, and that boards might need to include climate experts. Case in point, in 2021 the small activist hedge fund Engine No1 made headlines when it managed to get support at Exxon Mobil’s AGM for electing new board members with climate expertise, much against the company’s wishes.

While previous research has addressed sustainability-related shareholder proposals as a specialinterest, little is known about the process through which investors seek to integrate climate change in the traditional CG function: what characterizes such a strategy, what facilitates or hinders it, and how effective is it in including more of a climate focus in boards.




Seminar topic: The Pace of Change: Socially Responsible Investing in Private Markets

On behalf of the Sustainable Finance initiative.




Seminar topic: Compliers, NeverTakers, AlwaysTakers, and Defiers: The Subjects in Entrepreneurship Education and Training Experiments

On behalf of the Sustainable Business Development Through Entrepreneurship and Innovation Platform.