Advanced MIS Research Seminar

DSME 6622: Advanced MIS Research Seminar


Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Fall, 2017


Instructor: Prof. Michael Zhang

Office: 918 Cheng Yu Tung Building

Hours: by appointment

Phone: x3-7647 (only when there is emergency)


Classroom: CYT 211, Monday 9:30am-12:15pm

Teaching Assistant: Lei Yang (


Course Description

Markets, organizations, and individuals use a wide variety of structures to co-ordinate resource production and allocation. Dramatic changes in information technology (IT) and business activities are forcing firms to come up with new ways of organizing work. Similarly, new types of digital information goods, much lower search costs, innovative ways of doing marketing, management, finance and human resource all lead to the disruption of old business models and creation of new ones.

This course uses economic theory to investigate the roles of information and technology in the existing diversity of organizations and markets and in enabling the creating of new organizational forms.

The class is designed for PhD students in management, economics, information technology, marketing, operations management, organizational behavior and related disciplines. For economists, this class offers the opportunity to apply economic tools to understand how information technology and information in general affect organizations and markets. For non-economists, this class offers an exposure to fundamental ideas in the economics of information, organizations, and markets. This course covers quantitative research methodologies in Economics of IS. It consists of three components: Methodology, Economics of IS Research Topics, and Writing and Publishing. The main goal is to prepare PhD students to produce publication quality research using tools from information economics.

We will cultivate a culture of collaborative learning. In particular, in this seminar class, students come prepared to engage in thoughtful discussions of the materials. Students are asked to write informal, short memos prior to several of the classes. These memos will generally be responses to some questions or issues we pose prior to each class. In addition, each student will be asked to present at least one of the research papers as part of the class discussion.

There are no exams in this class but a final paper and a presentation is due at the end of the semester. It can be either a survey of the research in a particular area or a research paper on a specific topic. Either way, the paper can be thought of as a step towards developing a research program. In the past, some of these papers have led to publications.


Course Objectives


  • Learn to think and act as an academic
  • Conduct literature review to support a research question
  • Understand and be able to apply rigorous methodologies
  • Learn to critique academic research works
  • Develop, present and write a good econ-of-IS research project

A term paper is due by November 27, 2017.



Please read the materials before class. Optional readings are marked with a star (*). All other readings are required.



The future classes will be divided into three parts: Presentation, Discussion, and Comments. Each class, we will have an average of 7 papers to be presented and discussed.

Each paper will be presented by one student, discussed by one discussion leader, and commented by other students (the audience). All of the papers should be read carefully before class.

The Role of Presenters:

  1. You have 10 minutes to present the selected paper.
  2. Assume yourself as the author of the paper, present the motivation, literature review (briefly) of prior papers, methodology, and results.
  3. You may need to create your own PPT for about 10 slides.
  4. If possible, you may also talk about some future work.


The Role of Discussants:

  1. You have 5 minutes to discuss the selected paper.
  2. Assume yourself as a conference discussant. After the presentation, you give comments on the paper. What do you like, what you think is flawed? Is there any way to improve the paper, what are potential future work of the topic, etc.
  3. You do not need to create your PPT, but you need to stand in front of the audiences to express yourself. If you want to use PPT, do not have more than 5 pages.


The Role of Audience

  1. You may ask general clarification questions during the presentation.
  2. You may ask details if you want after all presentations are done.
  3. The question is for the whole audience, not for the presenter.




Please submit your weekly assignments to and copy by 6pm on Sunday (the evening before class). Late submissions will not be accepted.


Academic Integrity

Please review the following policy. This course treats this issue seriously and I have zero tolerance to dishonesty.




Grades will be given with weights on the following course requirements:


In-class discussion

Weekly two-page write up


Term paper





Total 100%



Date Topic
9/4 Introduction
9/11 Methodology I: Experiments
9/18 Methodology II: IV and RD designs
9/25 Topic (1): IT and Finance
10/2 Holiday, No Class
10/9 Topic (2): Online Reputation Systems, Word-of-Mouth
10/16 Topic (3): Online Advertising, Keyword Auctions
10/23 Mid-term discussion
10/30 Topic (4): Social Media, Social Networks
11/6 Topic (5): Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning
11/13 Publication and other questions
11/21 Final Presentations


Class Wechat Group: 



Introduction (9/4)


Kremer, Michael, “Writing papers: A Checklist”.

Mankiw NG. (1994). My Rules of Thumb. The American Economist.

Varian, H (1999). “How to Build an Economic Model in your Spare Time.” In Passion and Craft: Economists at Work. Edited by Szenberg, M. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Stiglitz, J. (2000). “The Contribution of the Economics of Information to Twentieth Century Economics.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(4), 1441-1478 (JSTOR).

Ellison, Glenn and Sara Fisher Ellison (2005) ” Lessons About Markets from the Internet” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19(2): 139-158

Krugman, P. (2013). “Crib Sheet: How I work (Self-indulgent)” New York Times, July 5;


Pre-class Assignment (Do it before class, we will discuss)

  1. After reviewing this syllabus, rank list 5 papers you’d be interested in presenting this semester.
  2. What are the most important puzzles and research topics that are emerging in the digital economy? Each student will briefly present one.


Experiments  (9/11)

Manski, C. (2000). Economic analysis of social interactions. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 115–136.

DellaVigna, S., & Malmendier, U. (2006). Paying not to go to the gym. American Economic Review, 96(3), 694–719.

Rosenblat, T., & Mobius, M. (2006). Why Beauty Matters. American Economic Review.

Cai, H., Chen, Y., & Fang, H. (2009). Observational Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment. American Economic Review.


Centola, D. (2010). The Spread of Behavior in an Online Social Network Experiment. Science, 329(5996), 1194–1197.

Catherine Tucker and Juanjuan Zhang, 2011, “How Does Popularity Information Affect Choices? A Field Experiment” Management Science, Vol. 57, No. 5, May 2011, pp. 828-842.

Zhang, Michael and Feng Zhu. (2011) “Group Size and Incentives to Contribute: A Natural Experiment at Chinese Wikipedia” American Economic Review, 101(4), 1601-1615.


Optional readings:

*List, J. (2006). Field Experiments: A Bridge between Lab and Naturally Occurring Data. Advances in Economic Analysis & Policy.

*Levitt, S., & List, J. (2009). Field experiments in economics: The past, the present, and the future. European Economic Review.


Assignment (Submit the report by Sunday 6pm prior to the class)

Write a two-page proposal on what potential experiment you can conduct on an online platform (e.g., Facebook, Wechat, YouTube, Zhihu, iQiyi, Taobao, University homepage, etc.). Explain what is the research topic, what is treatment and control. What are the potential findings?


Instrument Variable, Regression Discontinuity (9/18)

Instrument variable:

Angrist, J., & Krueger, A. (2001). Instrumental variables and the search for identification: From supply and demand to natural experiments. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 15(4), 69–85.

Ludwig, J. (2005). Does Head Start improve children’s life chances? Evidence from a regression discontinuity design. Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Brown, J. R., Ivkovic, Z., Smith, P. A., & Weisbenner, S. (2008). Neighbors Matter: Causal Community Effects and Stock Market Participation. Journal of Finance, LXIII(3), 23.

Jeremiah Dittmar (2011) Information Technology and Economic Change: The Impact of the Printing Press. Quarterly Journal of Economics.


Regression discontinuity designs:

Imbens, G., & Lemieux, T. (2008). Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice. Journal of Econometrics, 142(2), 615–635.

Luca, Michael. 2016. Reviews, Reputation and Revenue: The Case of


Optional readings:

*Klaauw. (2007). “Regression-Discontinuity Analysis”

*Card, D., Lee, D. S., Pei, Z., & Weber, A. (2015). Inference on Causal Effects in a Generalized Regression Kink Design. Econometrica, 83(6), 2453–2483.

*Skiera, B., et al., What should be the dependent variable in marketing-related event studies?, International Journal of Research in Marketing (2017).


Assignment (Submit the report by Sunday 6pm prior to the class)

Write a one-page critique of any paper that uses IV technique and show why this IV may not be valid.



IT and Finance (FinTech) (9/25)

Antweiler, W., and Frank, M. Z. 2004. “Is All That Talk Just Noise? The Information Content of Internet Stock Message Boards,” Journal of Finance (59:3), pp. 1259-1294.

Tetlock, P. C., Saar-Tsechansky, M., and Macskassy, S. 2008. “More than Words: Quantifying Language to Measure Firms’ Fundamentals,” Journal of Finance (63:3), Pp. 1437-1467.

Da, Z., Engelberg, J., and Gao, P. 2011. “In Search of Attention,” Journal of Finance (66:5), pp. 1461-1499.

Juanjuan Zhang and Peng Liu, 2012, “Rational Herding in Microloan Markets” Management Science, Vol. 58, No. 5, May 2012, pp. 892-912.

Xu, Sean Xin, and Zhang, Xiaoquan (Michael), “Impact of Wikipedia on Market Information Environment: Evidence on Management Disclosure and Investor Reaction,” MIS Quarterly, 37, 4, 2013, 1043-1068.

Chen, Hailiang, Prabuddha De, Yu Jeffrey Hu, Byoung-Hyoun Hwang (2014), “Wisdom of Crowds: The Value of Stock Opinions Transmitted Through Social Media”, Review of Financial Studies, 27, 5, 1367-1403.

Forman, C., Goldfarb, A., & Greenstein, S. (2016). Agglomeration of Invention in the Bay Area: Not Just ICT. American Economic Review. 106:146-151.


Optional readings:

*Tetlock, P. C. 2007. “Giving Content to Investor Sentiment: The Role of Media in the Stock Market,” Journal of Finance (62:3), pp. 1139-1168.

*Bogan, V. 2008. “Stock Market Participation and the Internet,” Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis (43:1), pp. 191-212.

*Hendershott, T., Jones, C. M., and Menkveld, A. J. 2011. “Does Algorithmic Trading Improve Liquidity?,” Journal of Finance (66:1), pp. 1-33.

*Brogaard, J., Hendershott, T., & Riordan, R., (2014). High-Frequency Trading and Price Discovery, Review of Financial Studies, Vol. 27(8), pp. 2267-2353.

*Zhang, Michael, and Zhang, Lihong. 2015. “How Does the Internet Affect the Financial Market? An Equilibrium Model of Internet Facilitated Feedback Trading,” MIS Quarterly, 39, 1, 17-38.

*Ekkehart Boehmer, Dan Li, and Gideon Saar, 2016, Correlated High-Frequency Trading, SMU, HKU, Cornell Working Paper.

* Brogaard, J., Carrion, A., Moyaert, T., Riordan, R., Shkilko, A., & Sokolov, K., High Frequency Trading and Extreme Price Movements, (2016). Journal of Financial Economics.


Assignment (Submit the report by Sunday 6pm prior to the class)

Write a two-page survey (perhaps many bullet points) of research topics under the hood of “IT and Finance” or “FinTech”.



Online Reputation Systems, Word-of-Mouth (10/9)

Chevalier, Judith and Dina Mayzlin. 2006. “The Effect of Word-of-Mouth on Sales:  OnlineBook Reviews.Journal of Marketing Research, 43(3), 345-354.

Dellarocas, C., Zhang, X., and Awad, N. F., 2007, “Exploring the Value of Online Product Reviews in Forecasting Sales: The Case of Motion Pictures,” Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21, 4, 2-20.

Zhu, Feng, and Michael Zhang. 2010. “Impact of Online Consumer Reviews on Sales: The Moderating Role of Product and Consumer Characteristics.” Journal of Marketing 74(2): 133–148.

Monic Sun, 2012. How Does the Variance of Product Ratings Matter? Management Science, 58(4), 696-707.

Mayzlin, Dina, Yaniv Dover, and Judith Chevalier. 2014. “Promotional Reviews: An Empirical Investigation of Online Review Manipulation.” American Economic Review, 104(8): 2421-55.

Wang, Alex, Zhang, Xiaoquan (Michael), and Hann, Il-Horn, 2015 “Socially Nudged: A Quasi-Experimental Study of Friends’ Social Influence in Online Product Ratings,” Information Systems Research.


Michael Luca, Georgios Zervas (2016) Fake It Till You Make It: Reputation, Competition, and Yelp Review Fraud. Management Science 62(12):3412-3427.


Optional reading:

*Dellarocas, C., and Wood, C. A. 2008. “The Sound of Silence in Online Feedback: Estimating Trading Risks in the Presence of Reporting Bias,” Management Science (54:3), pp. 460-476.

*Gao, Guodong Gordon, Brad N Greenwood, Jeff McCullough, Ritu Agarwal. 2015. Vocal minority and silent majority: How do online ratings reflect population perceptions of quality? MIS Quarterly.


Assignment (Submit the report by Sunday 6pm prior to the class)

Reflect on the historical path of the development of this literature. Write a two-page report on how the topic and research methodology changed over time. What would be the next important research issue in this literature?


Online Advertising, Keyword Auctions (10/16)

Varian, Hal. 2007. “Position Auctions.” International Journal of Industrial Organization, 25, 1163-1178.

Edelman, Benjamin, Michael Ostrovsky, and Michael Schwartz.  2007. “Internet Advertising and the Generalized Second Price Auction: Selling Billions of Dollars Worth of Keywords.American Economic Review, 97(1), 242-259.

Avi Goldfarb, Catherine Tucker (2011) Advertising Bans and the Substitutability of Online and Offline Advertising. Journal of Marketing Research: April 2011, Vol. 48, No. 2, pp. 207-227.

Lee, Young Han and Ulrike Malmendier. 2011. “The Bidder’s Curse.” American Economic Review, 101(2), 749-787.

Zhang, Xiaoquan (Michael)., and Feng, Juan, 2011, “Cyclical Bid Adjustments in Search-Engine Advertising,” Management Science, 57, 9, 1703-1719.

Juanjuan Zhang, Shiyang Gong, Ping Zhao & Xuping Jiang, 2016 “Tweeting as a Marketing Tool – Field Experiment in the TV Industry” Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming

Overby, E., & Forman, C. (2015). The Effect of Electronic Commerce on Geographic Purchasing Patterns and Price Dispersion. Management Science. 61:431-453.

*Sun, Monic, and Feng Zhu. 2013. “Ad Revenue and Content Commercialization: Evidence from Blogs.” Management Science 59, no. 10: 2314–2331.

*Ostrovsky, Michael and Michael Schwarz. 2016. “Reserve Prices in Internet Advertising Auctions: A Field Experiment,” Stanford University.



Assignment (Submit the report by Sunday 6pm prior to the class)

All keyword auction papers covered in this list are about single keywords. What can be some of the research questions related to multiple keywords? That is: multiple advertisers competing for multiple related keywords. Write a one or two-page proposal of potential research ideas.


Social Media, Social Networks and Online Community (10/30)

Goldenberg, Jacob, Gal Oestreicher-Singer, and Schachar Reichman. 2011. “The Quest for Content: The Integration of Product Networks and Social Networks in Online Content Exploration.”

Garg, Rajiv and Rahul Telang. 2012. “To Be or Not to Be Linked on LinkedIn: Online Social Networks and Job Search.”

Zhang, Xiaoquan (Michael), and Wang, Alex, “Network Positions and Contributions to Online Public Goods: The Case of Chinese Wikipedia,” Journal of Management Information Systems, 29, 2, 2012, 11-40.

Catherine E. Tucker (2014) Social Networks, Personalized Advertising, and Privacy Controls. Journal of Marketing Research. Vol. 51, No. 5, pp. 546-562.   Click [PDF]

Bapna, R.J. RamprasadG. Shmueli, and A. Umyarov, “One-Way Mirrors in Online Dating: A Randomized Field Experiment“, Management Science, vol. 62, issue 11, pp. 3100-3122, 2016.

Daniel Mochon, Karen Johnson, Janet Schwartz and Dan Ariely. (2017) What Are Likes Worth? A Facebook Page Field ExperimentJournal of Marketing Research 54:2, 306-317.


Assignment (Submit the report by Sunday 6pm prior to the class)

Go back to the first assignment that you have done (I asked you to propose an experiment on one of your chosen online platforms), write a one-to-two-page report on how you plan to improve it. Now after two months of intensive study on this topic, you should be able to improve it significantly.



Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning (11/6)


Liran Einav and Jonathan Levin, The Data Revolution and Economic Analysis, NBER.

Shmueli, G., “To Explain or To Predict?“, Statistical Science, vol. 25, issue 3, pp. 289-310, 2010.

Shmueli, G., and O. Koppius, “Predictive Analytics in Information Systems Research“, MIS Quarterly, vol. 35, issue 3, pp. 553-572, 2011.

Lin, M.H. C. Lucas, and G. Shmueli, “Too Big To Fail: Large Samples and the P-Value Problem“, Information Systems Research, vol. 24, issue 4, pp. 906-917, 2013.

Brynjolfsson, Erik, Tomer Geva, and Shachar Reichman. 2015 “Crowd-Squared: Amplifying the Predictive Power of Search Trend Data.” MIS Quarterly, 40(4): 941-961.

Yahav, I.G. Shmueli, and D. Mani, “A Tree-Based Approach for Addressing Self-Selection in Impact Studies with Big Data“, MIS Quarterly, vol. 40, issue 4, pp. 819-848, 2016.

Benjamin Shiller, First Degree Price Discrimination Using Big Data, Brandeis University.,_2014.pdf


*Mitchell, Tom and Erik Brynjolfsson. “Track How Technology Is Changing Work.” Nature, 544(7650): 290-291. April 20, 2017.

*Varian, Hal R. 2014. “Big Data: New Tricks for Econometrics.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 28(2): 3-28.

*Brynjolfsson, Erik and Andrew McAfee. “The Business of Artificial Intelligence: What it Can—and Cannot—Do for Your Organization.” Harvard Business Review, July 2017.

*Bloom, Nicholas, Erik Brynjolfsson, Megha Patnaik, Itay Saporta-Eksten, and John Van Reenen. 2017. “The Importance of Structured Management Practices.” MIT Sloan Management Review.


Optional readings:

*Ghose, Ananidya, Panos Ipeirotis, and Beibei Li. “Estimating Demand for Hotels by Mining User-Generated and Crowdsourced Content on the Internet.

*Brynjolfsson, Erik and Andrew McAfee. “What’s Driving the Machine Learning Explosion?” Harvard Business Review, July 18, 2017.

*Shmueli, G., “Analyzing Behavioral Big Data: Methodological, Practical, Ethical, and Moral Issues“, Quality Engineering, vol. 29, issue 1, pp. 57-74 and 88-90, 2017.


Publication and Other Questions (11/13)


Here are some questions I think we can discuss. Of course, the discussion will not be limited by this list:


  • Course work
  • Writing
  • Data analysis
  • Theoretical modelling
  • Co-authors
  • Submission
  • Dealing with AE/SE/Reviewers
  • Revision
  • How to review
  • How to deal with stress
  • Job market
  • Tenure
  • Work-life-balance
  • Plagiarism
  • Stories behind published and unpublished papers




After going over these questions, we will enter AMA mode. AMA=ask me anything. If you are not able to ask in the class, feel free to email me your questions before class.


Advice on writing and presenting (Optional readings):


  • Hamermesh, Daniel S. “The Young Economist’s Guide to Professional Etiquette” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 6, No. 1. (Winter, 1992), pp. 169-179.

  • Choi, Kwan, “How to Publish in Top Journals” August 7,

  • Cochrane, John H., “Writing Tips for Ph.D. Students”, June 8, 2005.

  • Hamermesh, Daniel S., “Top 10 tips for Junior Faculty on Jump-Starting Your Career” CSWEP Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2006.

  • Romer, David, “Out in Five”

About the author : Prof Michael Zhang

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