James Brander

Prospective Graduate Students / Postdocs

This faculty member is currently not actively recruiting graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows, but might consider co-supervision together with another faculty member.


Research Interests

industrial economics
Competition policy
international trade and investment

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Three essays on crisis management under uncertainty: drought, climate change, and pandemic (2022)

No abstract available.

Three essays on innovation and research and development (2011)

This thesis contains three research papers related to innovation. Chapter 1 examines the effect of research and development (R&D) on bankruptcy. I propose that R&D investment creates uncertainty, leading to a higher volatility of firm value and greater information asymmetry between insiders (especially senior executives) and outsiders (such as investors). Both higher firm-value volatility and higher information asymmetry can increase the risk of bankruptcy for firms. Using a large panel of United States (US) companies from 1979-2009, I find that consistent with my prediction, firms engaging in high levels of R&D are more likely to go bankrupt. Further, I explore the mechanism by which R&D influences corporate bankruptcy. Empirical evidence supports both of the firm-value volatility and asymmetric information channels. Chapter 2 studies the influence of the business cycle on the interactions between R&D and bankruptcy. I find that the effect of R&D on bankruptcy increased during economic downturns. With stringent financial constraints during downturns, R&D intensive firms are more likely to be affected than during economic expansions. I further find that firms are reluctant to decrease their R&D spending during recessionary periods and that firms taking a more aggressive posture in increasing R&D during downturns enjoy stronger sustained operating performance. Overall, results show that R&D is more risky in recessions than in booms. Chapter 3 examines mergers and acquisition (M&A) transactions between firms with patent citation links and shows such transactions generate better merger performance than acquisitions of firms without citation links. Specifically, I find that acquirers’ announcement returns are positively related to citation links between the acquirer and target firms. I suggest that citation links might mitigate two possible concerns that investors could have: (1) the acquirer might overbid for the target firm due to the “winner’s curse” problem, or (2) there would be failure at the post-merger integration process. My results are consistent with the hypothesis that citations links are related to high quality transactions, but I do not find evidence supporting the hypothesis that citations help acquirers avoid overpaying for target firms.

View record


If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.


Read tips on applying, reference letters, statement of interest, reaching out to prospective supervisors, interviews and more in our Application Guide!