Business Theses

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This collection is made up of doctoral and master theses by research, which have been received in accordance with university regulations.

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 13
  • Publication
    Protest in response to the commodification of healthcare in the era of the European Union’s new economic governance regime
    (University College Dublin. School of Business, 2023)
    In response to the 2008 financial crisis, the EU established a new economic governance (NEG) regime, which allowed the European Commission and Council to intervene to the financing and organisation of national healthcare services; as healthcare represents the single largest area of welfare state expenditure and service delivery. This thesis therefore addresses the following questions: 1) How have NEG policy prescriptions impacted the level of commodification of services and labour in Ireland and Madrid’s public health systems? 2) Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, how have unions and social movement organisations active in these health systems politicised changes in public service provision and employment conditions? 3) How can we understand the choices of union and user groups organising in the sites of study regarding the scale at which they politicised policy changes related to the NEG regime and the scope of their demands? In turn, through a contextualised semantic content analysis of NEG policy prescriptions issued to the Spain and Ireland, this thesis first shows that EU executives have harnessed the NEG regime to promote the commodification of healthcare services and labour. Second, going beyond existing studies of NEG interventions in healthcare, the thesis then outlines the measures that the Irish and the Spanish central governments and the regional government of Madrid have adopted in line with these prescriptions and analyses their impact on healthcare services and labour. I show that the governments’ implementation of NEG prescriptions has institutionalised the underfunding of the health systems under study and promoted the corporatisation and privatisation of service delivery. Third, through a comprehensive protest event analysis of counter-mobilisations involving unions and user groups in the two health systems from September 2008 to March 2020, this thesis shows that the implementation of healthcare-related NEG prescriptions altered the movement landscape in each site of study – prompting trade unions and user groups to organise at higher scales and to broaden the scope of their demands. My study, however, also shows that resistance to commodification is a project and building powerful counter-movements takes time. Although the NEG regime was established relatively recently, this thesis shows that unions and user groups organising in the health systems have begun the work of constructing the oppositional networks necessary to challenge corporate and political leaders at the EU scale. My research on movement landscapes within these health systems will thus also serve future research by helping scholars to contextualise and understand counter-movements that may emerge in the forthcoming post-pandemic era of the NEG regime.
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  • Publication
    The struggle for healthcare under the European Union’s new economic governance regime. Trade union and grassroots mobilisations in response to healthcare commodification in Italy and Romania (2008 – 2022)
    (University College Dublin. School of Business, 2023)
    In the last decades, and especially after the 2008 economic and financial crisis, EU countries’ healthcare systems have undergone dramatic changes. Most notably, austerity measures and privatisation processes have been furthered at the EU, national and local scales (Stan and Erne, 2021). My research addresses two aspects that have been under-studied so far: the role of the EU’s new economic governance (NEG) interventions and that of trade union and grassroots mobilisations in shaping these transformations (2008-2022). The research does so by studying NEG interventions in the healthcare sector and countervailing mobilisations in two EU countries, Italy and Romania, with different healthcare systems, different positions in the EU and different activist landscapes. My research thus answers the following research questions: How have NEG interventions impacted the Italian and Romanian healthcare systems? How have Italian and Romanian unions and grassroots mobilisations responded to NEG interventions and their implementation in their respective healthcare sectors? First, through policy analysis, I show how NEG interventions led to similar measures in the two countries: freezes or cuts to healthcare workers’ wages, decrease of staffing levels, restriction of union prerogatives, decrease in the number of hospital beds, promotion of private healthcare insurances, increase or introduction of co-payments to access public healthcare services and increased involvement of private actors in the delivery of the latter. Second, through protest event analysis, I show that trade unions and grassroots mobilisations opposed, at times successfully, the implementation of NEG interventions; that they did so primarily by challenging national policymaking; and that mobilisations politicising the attack to healthcare labour and those politicising the attack to users’ access to healthcare services were usually organised separately from one another. Through the observation of healthcare mobilisations and interviews with activists and trade union officials, I then explained collective actors’ choices in terms of the scale of their mobilisations and the issues politicised, as well as what contributed to the successes and failures of healthcare collective action across the two countries and over time. In conclusion, in this thesis, I show that the transformations of the Italian and Romanian healthcare systems were shaped by a conflict between NEG interventions favouring capital accumulation and countervailing collective action, and I provide explanations regarding the scale at which mobilisations occurred, the issues they politicised, as well as what contributed to their uneven success.
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  • Publication
    Empirical Analysis of Asset Pricing Models, Prospect Theory and Covid-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Hong Kong Stock Market
    (University College Dublin. School of Business, 2022)
    Covid-19 causes hundreds of deaths globally meanwhile it brings higher volatility on Hong Kong Stock Market which is the financial center of Asia. It attracts to investigate whether Asset Pricing Models, Prospect Theory and Covid-19 Pandemic can clearly illustrate variations in stocks returns on the market via a set of regression analysis. The empirical findings demonstrate that Hong Kong Stock Market experiences large fluctuations during the pandemic; Hang Seng Index positively relates to constructed portfolios; Government interventions such as Lockdown and Traveling Restrictions bring higher returns on the index; Crude Oil is another factor that affects the stock market negatively; Stocks with the highest previous monthly returns tend to have higher returns in the current month; Asset Pricing Models can provide assistance on assessing whether market efficiency exists in Hong Kong Stock Market.
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  • Publication
    Evolution of auditor-client negotiations from the initial audit tender to subsequent audit cycles: A qualitative study of (non)cooperativeness
    (University College Dublin. School of Business, 2022)
    Audit firm-client negotiations commence with the audit tender, continue in subsequent audit cycles, and often persist after rotation via consulting services. However, we do not understand how past negotiation behaviour, or anticipated future interactions, shape current audit negotiations. I interview 31 audit committee chairs, auditors and company managers (triads) and interrogate data from their public and private documents to understand the evolution of triad negotiations from the initial audit tender to subsequent annual audit cycles. Employing McGinn and Keros’ (2002) negotiation framework, four key findings emerge. First, audit committee members become more cooperative in negotiations with auditors and company managers to acquire information and work effectively. Second, auditors are always cooperative to maintain positive relationships with audit committee members and company managers and protect their commercial interests. Third, company managers become more cooperative as they demonstrate their ability to negotiate effectively with auditors to audit committee members. However, there is a limit to their cooperativeness. Company managers are more concerned with meeting analysts’ earnings targets than maintaining the auditor relationship. My findings suggest that parties’ initial negotiation behaviour does not necessarily set a precedent for their counterparties’ subsequent behaviour. However, auditors’ anticipation of future consulting contracts encourages them to cooperate currently, although it may not always be appropriate to do so. Fourth, I uncover four new negotiation types and refine McGinn and Keros’ (2002) conceptualisation of negotiations. This research is the first to study the evolution of auditor-client negotiations from the initial audit tender to subsequent audit cycles. My findings provide insights into how auditors’ balance their professional-commercial interests in client interactions, how audit committee members engage in and oversee audit and accounting negotiations, and company managers’ negotiation behaviour. Ultimately, my findings have implications for audit quality and address concerns at the heart of recent UK audit reviews and parliamentary inquires.
      8
  • Publication
    Essays in Environmental and AI Finance
    (University College Dublin. School of Business, 2022)
    Entitled "Essays in Environmental and AI Finance," this dissertation consists of three self-contained essays. The first essay avails of capital market price signals to assess the presence and magnitude of economic incentives for clean innovation relative to dirty innovation. Second essay examines the utility and ethics of incorporating national culture profiling in bank-level machine-learning informed alert models relating to financial malfeasance. And the third essay tests state-of-the-art model-agnostic explainable AI (XAI) methods to uncover algorithmic injustice in the bank lending space. Essay 1 that seeks to bring new insights to the corporate environmental – financial performance debates examines how Tobin's Q is linked to 'clean' and 'dirty' innovation and innovation efficiency at the firm level. While clean innovation relates to patented technologies in areas such as renewable energy generation and electric cars, dirty innovation relates to fossil-based energy generation and combustion engines. A global patent data set covering over 15,000 firms across 12 countries helps uncover strong and robust evidence that the stock market recognizes the value of clean innovation and innovation efficiency and accords higher valuations to those firms that engage in successful clean research and development activities. The results are substantively invariant across innovation measurement, model specifications, estimators adopted, select sub-samples of firms and the United States and European patent offices. Essay 2 examines the utility and ethics of incorporating national culture profiling in bank-level machine-learning informed alert models relating to financial malfeasance. On a globally significant financial institution, binary classifier type alert models are used to establish the utility of dimensions of national culture in formulating anti-money laundering predictions. For corporate (individual) accounts, Hofstede individuality (individuality, and national-level corruption perception and financial secrecy) scores of the country in which a customer is resident, or from which a wire is sent/received, are of paramount importance. When combined with extensive account and transaction data against an even proprietary institutional algorithm, national culture traits markedly enhance the models' predictive performances. Against a global standard, ethical implications of ascribing values to dimensions of national culture are examined. We posit an ethical framework for the use of national profiling in anti-fraud alert models. Essay 3 provides evidence of the validity of Shapley model-agnostic explainable AI methods’ on real-world datasets. This work contributes initial evidence on the usefulness of Global Shapley Value and Shapley-Lorenz methods, with respect to racial discrimination in lending. Using 157,269 loan applications from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data set in New York during 2017, it is confirmed that the methods reveal evidence of racial discrimination inherent in the predictions of a transparent logistic regression model. Thus explainable AI can enable financial institutions to select an opaque creditworthiness model which blends out-of-sample performance with ethical considerations.
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