• Canadian investors and the discount on closed-end funds

      Wang, Yue; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2010-03-09)
      Small investors' sentiment has been proposed by behaviouralists to explain the existence and behavior of discount on closed-end funds (CEFD). The empirical tests of this sentiment hypothesis so far provide equivocal results. Besides, most of out-of-sample tests outside U.S. are not robust in the sense that they fail to well control other firm characteristics and risk factors that may explain stock return and to provide a formal cross-sectional test of the link between CEFD and stock return. This thesis explores the role of CEFD in asset pricing and further validates CEFD as a sentiment proxy in Canadian context and augments the extant studies by examining the redemption feature inherent in Canadian closed-end funds and by enhancing the robustness of the empirical tests. Our empirical results document differential behaviors in discounts between redeemable funds and non-redeemable funds. However, we don't find supportive evidence of CEFD as a priced factor. Specifically, the stocks with different exposures to CEFD fail to provide significantly different average return. Nor does CEFD provide significant incremental explanatory power, after controlling other well-known firm characteristics and risk factors, in cross-sectional as well as time-series variation of stock return. This evidence, together with the findings from our direct test of CEFD as a sentiment index, suggests that CEFD, even the discount on traditional non-redeemable closed-end funds, is unlikely to be driven by elusive sentiment in Canada.
    • Margin requirements and volatility : evidence from Canadian stocks

      Lee, Kwan Yiu; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2010-03-09)
      Margin policy is used by regulators for the purpose of inhibiting exceSSIve volatility and stabilizing the stock market in the long run. The effect of this policy on the stock market is widely tested empirically. However, most prior studies are limited in the sense that they investigate the margin requirement for the overall stock market rather than for individual stocks, and the time periods examined are confined to the pre-1974 period as no change in the margin requirement occurred post-1974 in the U.S. This thesis intends to address the above limitations by providing a direct examination of the effect of margin requirement on return, volume, and volatility of individual companies and by using more recent data in the Canadian stock market. Using the methodologies of variance ratio test and event study with conditional volatility (EGARCH) model, we find no convincing evidence that change in margin requirement affects subsequent stock return volatility. We also find similar results for returns and trading volume. These empirical findings lead us to conclude that the use of margin policy by regulators fails to achieve the goal of inhibiting speculating activities and stabilizing volatility.
    • When job dissatisfaction leads to customer-oriented citizenship behaviors

      Boichuk, Jeffrey, P.; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2010-10-25)
      This thesis places boundary conditions on the withdrawal model in the frontline setting of service organizations by considering continuance commitment and supervisory support as moderators of the relationship between job dissatisfaction and customer-oriented citizenship behaviors (COCBs). Departing from traditional research in the areas of the service-profit chain and employee withdrawal, the author advances our understanding of conditions that may lead frontline service employees who are dissatisfied to deposit COCBs into the organizational system. Specifically, based on principles derived from social exchange theory, high continuance commitment and high supervisory support are expected to lead to COCBs, because under this condition the benefits of performing such behaviors are increased (i.e., promotion-based, reciprocity-based), while the costs are decreased (i.e., opportunity costs). Utilizing a sample of 127 frontline employees from both the financial services and travel agency industries, the hypothesized relationships are empirically supported using moderated hierarchical regression analysis. To conclude discussion, implications of the results for both academics and p
    • Self concept, acculturation, and fashion orientation

      Hu, Xiaoyu; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2010-10-25)
      The research begins with a discussion of the worldwide and the Canadian market. The research profiles the examination of the relationship between a person's self concept (as defined by Malhotra) and fashion orientation (as defined by Gutman and Mills), and to understand how these factors are influenced by acculturation, focusing in-depth on their managerial implications. To study these relationships; a random sample of 196 ChineseCanadian female university students living in Canada was given a survey based on Malhotra's self-concept scale, and the SLASIA acculturation scale. Based on multiple regression analysis, findings suggest that the adoption of language and social interaction dimensions of acculturation constructs have significant effects on the relationship between self concept and fashion orientation. This research contributes significantly to both marketing theory and practice. Theoretically, this research develops new insights on the dimensionality of fashion orientation, identifies various moderating effects of acculturation on the relationship of self concept and fashion orientation dimensions, and provides a framework to examine these effects, where results can be generalized across different culture. Practically, marketers can use available findings to improve their understanding of the fashion needs of Chinese-Canadian consumers, and target them based on these findings. The findings provide valuable implications for companies to formulate their fashion marketing strategies for enhance fashion orientation in terms of different dimensions, based on different levels of acculturation.
    • Is more information always good? : investigating the impact of website interface features on e-retailer's sales performance

      Ashraf, Abdul R.; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2010-10-26)
      A number of frameworks have been suggested for online retailing, but still there exists little consensus among researchers and practitioners regarding the appropriate amount of information critical and essential to the improvement of customers' satisfaction and their purchase intention. Against this backdrop, this study contributes to the current practical and theoretical discussions and conversations about how information search and perceived risk theories can be applied to the management of online retailer website features. This paper examines the moderating role of website personalization in studying the relationship between information content provided on the top US retailers' websites, and customer satisfaction and purchase intention. The study also explores the role played by customer satisfaction and purchase intention in studying the relationship between information that is personalized to the needs of individual customers and online retailers' sales performance. Results indicate that the extent of information content features presented to online customers alone is not enough for companies looking to satisfy and motivate customers to purchase. However, information that is targeted to an individual customer influences customer satisfaction and purchase intention, and customer satisfaction in tum serves as a driver to the retailer's online sales performance.
    • Stock market reactions to changes in the FTSE SmallCap and S&P/TSX SmallCap indices

      Li, Boya; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2010-10-26)
      Stocks added to (deleted from) the Russell 2000 and the S&P 600 indexes experience positive (negative) abnormal returns following the announcement. However, researchers disagree on whether these abnormal returns are permanent or temporary and offer competing explanations. I address this controversy by examining market reactions for firms that are added to or deleted from the FTSE Small Cap index (the main testing sample) and the S&P/TSX SmallCap index (the comparison sample). For the main testing sample, all stocks except pure additions, experience a permanent price change that is accompanied by a permanent change in liquidity. However, for the comparison sample, abnormal returns over the announcement period fully reverted within 30 days. In further examination of stock liquidity for the main testing sample, sample stocks experience permanent change in liquidity. Taken together, the observed results support the price pressure and liquidity hypotheses.
    • Search engine advertising in web retailing : an efficiency analysis

      Mokaya, Brian O.; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2010-10-27)
      This study examines the efficiency of search engine advertising strategies employed by firms. The research setting is the online retailing industry, which is characterized by extensive use of Web technologies and high competition for market share and profitability. For Internet retailers, search engines are increasingly serving as an information gateway for many decision-making tasks. In particular, Search engine advertising (SEA) has opened a new marketing channel for retailers to attract new customers and improve their performance. In addition to natural (organic) search marketing strategies, search engine advertisers compete for top advertisement slots provided by search brokers such as Google and Yahoo! through keyword auctions. The rationale being that greater visibility on a search engine during a keyword search will capture customers' interest in a business and its product or service offerings. Search engines account for most online activities today. Compared with the slow growth of traditional marketing channels, online search volumes continue to grow at a steady rate. According to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, spending on search engine marketing by North American firms in 2008 was estimated at $13.5 billion. Despite the significant role SEA plays in Web retailing, scholarly research on the topic is limited. Prior studies in SEA have focused on search engine auction mechanism design. In contrast, research on the business value of SEA has been limited by the lack of empirical data on search advertising practices. Recent advances in search and retail technologies have created datarich environments that enable new research opportunities at the interface of marketing and information technology. This research uses extensive data from Web retailing and Google-based search advertising and evaluates Web retailers' use of resources, search advertising techniques, and other relevant factors that contribute to business performance across different metrics. The methods used include Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), data mining, and multivariate statistics. This research contributes to empirical research by analyzing several Web retail firms in different industry sectors and product categories. One of the key findings is that the dynamics of sponsored search advertising vary between multi-channel and Web-only retailers. While the key performance metrics for multi-channel retailers include measures such as online sales, conversion rate (CR), c1ick-through-rate (CTR), and impressions, the key performance metrics for Web-only retailers focus on organic and sponsored ad ranks. These results provide a useful contribution to our organizational level understanding of search engine advertising strategies, both for multi-channel and Web-only retailers. These results also contribute to current knowledge in technology-driven marketing strategies and provide managers with a better understanding of sponsored search advertising and its impact on various performance metrics in Web retailing.
    • The carbon disclosure project, an evolution in international environmental corporate governance : motivations and determinants of market response to voluntary disclosures

      Wegener, Matt; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2010-10-27)
      This paper examines the factors associated with Canadian firms voluntarily disclosing climate change information through the Carbon Disclosure Project. Five hypotheses are presented to explain the factors influencing management's decision to disclose this information. These hypotheses include a response to shareholder activism, domestic institutional investor shareholder activism, signalling, litigation risk, and low cost publicity. Both binary logistic regressions as well as a cross-sectional analysis of the equity market's response to the environmental disclosures being made were used to test these hypotheses. Support was found for shareholder activism, low cost publicity, and litigation risk. However, the equity market's response was not found to be statistically significant.
    • The metacognitive cue of fluency on taste perception

      Aysan, Ummugulsum; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2011-03-08)
      The relative ease tha t a person experiences while performing cognitive operations, namely processing fluency, affects a broad range of judgments such as product evaluations. For example, an increase in fluency through repeated exposure to product packages enhances attitude toward the brand (Janiszewski 1993). This thesis examined the effect of fluency on taste perception and demonstrated where the fluency created an advantage or disfluency created a disadvantage for taste evaluations. Experiment 1 examined the effect of perceptual fluency on taste perception. It was found that perceptual disfluency derived from r eading the labels (i.e., font) lowered taste evaluations only when it was experienced be for the sensory experience. Experiment 2 examined the effect of linguistic fluency (i.e., pronunciation) on taste perception. However there was no evidence for the effect of linguistic fluency on taste perception. Thus, it is concluded that either the effect size of linguistic fluency is lower than perceptual fluency, or participants discounted their linguistic fluency experience because they realized that the brand names used in Experiment 2 were not real brand names. To sum up, it was found that perceptual disfluency created by presenting a difficult to read product-related information created a disadvantage for taste perception compared to when no information was presented. Therefore, this thesis provides the first evidence for the effect of the metacognitive cue of fluency on sensory evaluations.
    • Determinants of bankruptcy protection duration for Canadian firms

      Xing, Dan; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2011-05-17)
      The present thesis examines the determinants of the bankruptcy protection duration for Canadian firms. Using a sample of Canadian firms that filed for bankruptcy protection between the calendar years 1992 and 2009, we fmd that the firm age, the industry adjusted operating margin, the default spread, the industrial production growth rate or the interest rate are influential factors on determining the length of the protection period. Older firms tend to stay longer under protection from creditors. As older firms have more complicated structures and issues to settle, the risk of exiting soon the protection (the hazard rate) is small. We also find that firms that perform better than their benchmark as measured by the industry they belong to, tend to leave quickly the bankruptcy protection state. We conclude that the fate of relatively successful companies is determined faster. Moreover, we report that it takes less time to achieve a final solution to firms under bankrupt~y when the default spread is low or when the appetite for risk is high. Conversely, during periods of high default spreads and flight for quality, it takes longer time to resolve the bankruptcy issue. This last finding may suggest that troubled firms should place themselves under protection when spreads are low. However, this ignores the endogeneity issue: high default spread may cause and incidentally reflect higher bankruptcy rates in the economy. Indeed, we find that bankruptcy protection is longer during economic downturns. We explain this relation by the natural increase in default rate among firms (and individuals) during economically troubled times. Default spreads are usually larger during these harsh periods as investors become more risk averse since their wealth shrinks. Using a Log-logistic hazard model, we also fmd that firms that file under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) protection spend longer time restructuring than firms that filed under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA). As BIA is more statutory and less flexible, solutions can be reached faster by court orders.
    • Y works : average hours worked and average salaries

      Nicholls, Shane; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2011-05-17)
      Generation Y is entering the workforce in large numbers and, because this generation holds different values than previous generations, accounting firms are having difficulty managing these new hires. I t is important to determine whether Generation Y is associated with meaningful, long-term trends or i f they will adapt to the given situation. Gen Y' s association with average hours worked per person and average salaries in the Canadian Accounting, Marketing, and Legal professions is examined. I find that an increasing percentage of Generation Y employees in the workforce is associated with significant decreases in average hours worked, but is not associated with any significant trend in average salary. I t is concluded that Generation Y is associated with changing trends in the workplace. These trends are contrary to wha t might be expected under traditional definitions of success, therefore it is postulated that Gen Y may view workplace success differently than previous generations.
    • Profitable opportunities around macroeconomic announcements in the U.S. Treasury market

      Luo, Haiming; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2011-05-17)
      This thesis studies the impact of macroeconomic announcements on the U.S. Treasury market and investigates profitable opportunities around macroeconomic announcements using data from the eSpeed electronic trading platform. We investigate how macroeconomic announcements affect the return predictability of trade imbalance for the 2-year, 5-year, IO-year U.S. Treasury notes and 30-year U.S. Treasury bonds. The goal of this thesis is to develop a methodology to identify informed trades and estimate the trade imbalance based on informed trades. We use the daily order book slope as a proxy for dispersion of beliefs among investors. Regression results in this thesis indicate that, on announcement days with a high dispersion of beliefs, daily trade imbalance estimated by informed trades significantly predicts returns on the following day. In addition, we develop a trade-imbalance based trading strategy conditional on dispersion of beliefs, informed trades, and announcement days. The trading strategy yields significantly positive net returns for the 2-year T-notes.
    • A stochastic dynamic programming approach for pricing options on stock-index futures

      Kirillov, Tymur; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2012-03-21)
      The aim of this thesis is to price options on equity index futures with an application to standard options on S&P 500 futures traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Our methodology is based on stochastic dynamic programming, which can accommodate European as well as American options. The model accommodates dividends from the underlying asset. It also captures the optimal exercise strategy and the fair value of the option. This approach is an alternative to available numerical pricing methods such as binomial trees, finite differences, and ad-hoc numerical approximation techniques. Our numerical and empirical investigations demonstrate convergence, robustness, and efficiency. We use this methodology to value exchange-listed options. The European option premiums thus obtained are compared to Black's closed-form formula. They are accurate to four digits. The American option premiums also have a similar level of accuracy compared to premiums obtained using finite differences and binomial trees with a large number of time steps. The proposed model accounts for deterministic, seasonally varying dividend yield. In pricing futures options, we discover that what matters is the sum of the dividend yields over the life of the futures contract and not their distribution.
    • Using a Bayesian model for bankruptcy prediction : a comparative approach

      He, Zhanpeng; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2012-03-21)
      The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of the choice of cut-off points, sampling procedures, and the business cycle on the accuracy of bankruptcy prediction models. Misclassification can result in erroneous predictions leading to prohibitive costs to firms, investors and the economy. To test the impact of the choice of cut-off points and sampling procedures, three bankruptcy prediction models are assessed- Bayesian, Hazard and Mixed Logit. A salient feature of the study is that the analysis includes both parametric and nonparametric bankruptcy prediction models. A sample of firms from Lynn M. LoPucki Bankruptcy Research Database in the U. S. was used to evaluate the relative performance of the three models. The choice of a cut-off point and sampling procedures were found to affect the rankings of the various models. In general, the results indicate that the empirical cut-off point estimated from the training sample resulted in the lowest misclassification costs for all three models. Although the Hazard and Mixed Logit models resulted in lower costs of misclassification in the randomly selected samples, the Mixed Logit model did not perform as well across varying business-cycles. In general, the Hazard model has the highest predictive power. However, the higher predictive power of the Bayesian model, when the ratio of the cost of Type I errors to the cost of Type II errors is high, is relatively consistent across all sampling methods. Such an advantage of the Bayesian model may make it more attractive in the current economic environment. This study extends recent research comparing the performance of bankruptcy prediction models by identifying under what conditions a model performs better. It also allays a range of user groups, including auditors, shareholders, employees, suppliers, rating agencies, and creditors' concerns with respect to assessing failure risk.
    • Liquidity, institutional ownership and regulation fair disclosure

      Lin, Ji; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2012-03-29)
      There is a body of academic literature addressing two issues of importance for leveling the playing field for all classes of investors: 1) the impact of institutional investors on liquidity; and 2) the impact of Regulation Fair Disclosure on institutional investors and liquidity. Our study addresses both issues with the purpose of attaining a better understanding and explanation of this relationship. We classify institutional ownership according to Bushee's (1998, 2001) methodology; transient institutions, dedicated institutions and quasi-indexers. Our results indicate that while transient institutions and quasi-indexers have a positive impact on liquidity, dedicated institutional ownership is negatively associated with liquidity. This result is consistent with prior theoretical studies. We also find that the effectiveness ofthe Regulation Fair Disclosure in improving liquidity is limited to firms with higher transient institutional ownership, whereas quasi-indexed institutions have not been significantly affected by the regulations. In fact, the liquidity of firms is lower for firms with higher dedicated institutional holdings, which is evidence of the "chilling effect".
    • The information content of Canadian implied volatility indexes

      Wang, Chunrong; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2012-04-03)
      For predicting future volatility, empirical studies find mixed results regarding two issues: (1) whether model free implied volatility has more information content than Black-Scholes model-based implied volatility; (2) whether implied volatility outperforms historical volatilities. In this thesis, we address these two issues using the Canadian financial data. First, we examine the information content and forecasting power between VIXC - a model free implied volatility, and MVX - a model-based implied volatility. The GARCH in-sample test indicates that VIXC subsumes all information that is reflected in MVX. The out-of-sample examination indicates that VIXC is superior to MVX for predicting the next 1-, 5-, 10-, and 22-trading days' realized volatility. Second, we investigate the predictive power between VIXC and alternative volatility forecasts derived from historical index prices. We find that for time horizons lesser than 10-trading days, VIXC provides more accurate forecasts. However, for longer time horizons, the historical volatilities, particularly the random walk, provide better forecasts. We conclude that VIXC cannot incorporate all information contained in historical index prices for predicting future volatility.
    • Accountants' ethical sensitivity

      Triki, Anis; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2012-04-03)
      O'Fallon and Butterfield (2005) in a review of the business ethics literature concluded that "ethical awareness" also called ethical sensitivity has received the least attention of the four steps in Rest's (1986) ethical decision making model. Available measures for ethical sensitivity are limited to specific contexts and suffer from several limitations. I extend the previous literature by creating a new measure for ethical sensitivity (AESS) that encompasses relevant dimensions for the accounting profession and is not specific to a particular setting. I also introduce a new individual differences variable to the accounting ethics literature. Specifically, I investigate the relationship between anti-intellectualism and ethical awareness. My findings support AESS as a measure of ethical sensitivity.
    • The effect of governance mechanism and structure on fees and performance of Mutual Funds in Canada

      Singh, Deepak; Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2012-04-27)
      Taking advantage of the unique Canadian setting, this study empirically analyzes the impact of presence of the board of directors, as an internal governance mechanism, on fees and performance of mutual funds. Further, the impact of the board structure on fees and performance of corporate class funds is analyzed. We find that corporate class funds, which have a separate board of directors for the fund, charge higher fees; however, they also provide superior performance than trust funds. Furthermore, we find that for corporate class funds, smaller board, with higher percentage of independent directors, and with the fund CEO acting as the chairman of the board is likely to charge lower fees. Also, more independent boards are strongly associated with superior fee-adjusted performance.
    • Information Asymmetry and Accounting Conservatism under IFRS Adoption

      Lu, Xiaoting (Christy); Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2012-05-17)
      LaFond and Watts (2008) provide evidence that information asymmetry might be a determinant of accounting conservatism. One implication of their paper is that regulators trying to reduce information asymmetry by lowering the level of accounting conservatism might be wrong. However, there is a trend in moving away from conservative accounting. The typical example is IFRS adoption. Therefore, this paper studies information asymmetry and accounting conservatism under IFRS adoption. The results show that the level of accounting conservatism decreases after mandatory IFRS adoption, but the adoption of IFRS is likely to weaken the relationship between information asymmetry and accounting conservatism. Moreover, this paper investigates how the change of accounting conservatism under IFRS is related to the change in information environment. The finding shows that accounting conservatism increases information environment, supporting the idea that, by providing comparatively credible information, conservative accounting is beneficial to the information environment.
    • CEO Compensation, Compensation Risk, and Corporate Governance: Evidence from Technology Firms

      Yu, Zhimin (Jimmy); Faculty of Business Programs (Brock University, 2012-05-17)
      Literature suggests that CEOs of technology firms earn higher pay than CEOs of non-technology firms. I investigate whether compensation risk explains the difference in compensation between technology firms and non-technology firms. Controlling for firm size and performance, I find that CEOs in technology firms have higher pay, but also have much higher compensation risk compared to non-technology firms. Compensation risk explains the major part of the difference in CEO pay. My study is consistent with the labor market economics view that CEOs earn competitive risk-adjusted total compensation.