Research Projects 2015-16

The abstract of the research projects funded in 2015-16 are listed below.
Project Title: Self-Worth Restoration through High Intensity Sensory Consumption: An Arousal-Regulation Explanation
Area: Marketing
Principal Investigators: Professor Tanuka Ghoshal and Professor Rishtee K. Batra
Abstract: We propose that consumption of high intensity sensory stimuli can be used as a means of self-worth restoration after individuals experience psychological threat. Across four studies, we demonstrate that not only do individuals facing self-threat prefer high intensity sensory consumption (HISC) but also that this consumption restores their self-worth by means of arousal regulation.  We show that consumption of high intensity sensory stimuli after experiencing threat elevates individuals’ arousal levels, which, in turn, minimizes elaboration on negative thoughts related to the threat and protects one’s self-worth.  We find that this arousal regulation mechanism serves to protect self-worth regardless of the valence of the sensory consumption.  We show that this pattern of results holds true in both the visual domain (as evidenced by a preference for more intense and saturated colors) as well as the auditory domain (as evidenced by a preference for louder audio levels). To further demonstrate the role of arousal regulation, we also show that when arousal levels are already sufficiently high, there is no further propensity towards high intensity sensory consumption. Thus, we propose high intensity sensory consumption to be a novel avenue for self-worth restoration. 
Project Title: How Cultural Capital Structures Preferences for Flamboyance and Subtlety in Sensory Choices in India
Area: Marketing
Principal Investigator: Professor Tanuka Ghoshal  and Professor Rishtee K. Batra
Abstract: Prior work has related levels of cultural capital to consumption patterns (Bourdieu 1984; Holt 1998).  We revisit and reinterpret Holt’s (1998) dimensions of taste, differentiating high versus low cultural capital consumers in an Indian context. It is generally observed in India that consumers from lower social classes tend to favor strong sensory intensity with respect to visual aspects in their clothing, accessories and also in other sensory dimensions like auditory, gustatory, and olfactory, while higher social classes prefer low or moderate intensity in their sensory choices. We investigate whether differences in cultural capital resources structure patterns of taste with respect to sensory intensity among Indian consumers. We find that observed differences in preferred intensity of sensory consumption can be understood through a modified theoretical framework for cultural capital that takes into account power and control, collective identity and negotiation of individual tastes via adherence to cultural boundaries and norms.
Project Title: Prices and patents revisited: Evidence from the Indian pharmaceutical industry 1995-2009

Area: Strategy
Principal Investigator: Prof. Anandnand Kumar
Abstract: In order to comply with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) charter of the World Trade Organization, India strengthened its patent regime and re-introduced product patents in the agricultural, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, in 2005. Until the reintroduction of product patents, the Indian pharmaceutical industry comprised mostly of generic drug manufacturers who manufactured and distributed copies of original pharmaceutical drugs manufactured and distributed by branded drug manufacturers (Chaudhuri, Goldberg, and Jia, 2006). Given the relatively lower cost of R&D, branded generics were available to the consumers at a fraction of the cost of the original branded drug. The reintroduction of product patents in India has been heavily debated with its effects on prices of drugs being the main focal point. There has been very little discussion of its effects on quality or how the reintroduction of product patents will impact entry in the industry.
This study aims to partially fill this gap by examining the effects of the re-introduction of product patents in India on the nature of entry and the quality of products in a market and how they in turn roll up the effects on prices and quantity consumed in a market. Using the Indian pharmaceutical industry, and the recently implemented patent reforms in India mandated by TRIPS, which represents an exogenous event, we put together a data set that allows us to assess the role of the strength of patents on product quality and the nature of entry in a market. 
Project Title: Access to Mobile Telephony and Implication for Economic Growth

Area: Economics and Public Policy
Principal Investigators: Professor Sisir Debnath
Abstract: Mobile telephony has witnessed unprecedented growth. Between 2000-2013, mobile subscription increased 200 fold, from about 0.34 to 71 mobile subscribers per 100 inhabitants in India. This is in stark contrast to concerns about the “digital divide” when information and communications technology (ICT) tools such as computers and the internet were introduced.  The causal effect of rapid changes in mobile telephony on economic outcomes is poorly understood.  Its proliferation is argued to be largely demand driven and therefore endogenous to various confounding factors.
The study looks at the Census data from 2001 and 2011 to confirm that both mobile coverage and ownership were improved for the villages covered under the Shared Mobile Infrastructure Program (SMIP). We aim to conduct empirical analysis on the combined data to gauge the impact of mobile connectivity on night lights. Preliminary results, available upon request, suggest that the villages that were covered under SMIP programme are on an average more brightly lit than uncovered villages after controlling for other factors.

Project Title: Catch-up as a survival strategy: the case of Indian solar power industry

Area: Strategy
Principal Investigator: Professor Snehal  Awate
Co-investigators: V. Ajith and Professor Raji Ajwani
Abstract: In this study, we evaluate the strategies of the emerging market firms in the context of newly emerging industries. We use the case of Indian solar power industry for a qualitative analysis. We note that, in emerging industries with intense competition, the emerging market firms are exposed to global competition in their home market right from the early years. Unlike cooperative settings where emerging market firms learn from the entrant multinational enterprises (MNEs) and slowly upgrade their capabilities, the competitive domestic markets shorten their catch-up clock. As a result, their long term survival depends on how quickly they catch-up, both in output and innovation capabilities. Catch-up strategies in these contexts are not just meant for capability upgrading and international growth, but even for surviving the competition at home.