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Dissertation
The Impact of Exchange Rate Volatility on Cross-Border Investments
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen

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Abstract

Recent academic literature on the relationship between exchange rate uncertainty and foreign direct investment shows several discrepancies, such as conflicting theoretical assumptions and opposing empirical findings. This master thesis investigates this topic using an empirical analysis on the relationship between bilateral exchange rate volatility and Australian outward FDI. By performing OLS-regressions with exchange rate volatility as the main independent variable, we show that FDI decreases relative to GDP when this volatility increases. Additionally, our findings show that the volatility is not a significant factor in the trade-off between exports and FDI. In other words, exchange rate uncertainty is considered to be an important factor by Australian managers when selecting which countries to invest in, but does not influence the choice between exports and FDI.

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Dissertation
Trust in a Post-Modern World Cross-level interaction between SES, Interpersonal Trust and Consumer Information Acquisition Activities.
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen

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This paper researches the interaction between socioeconomic status, interpersonal trust and consumer information acquisition activities. The three parts are formed by three existing models that examine each aspect separately. Socioeconomic status is formed by a model used in Griskevicius, Tybur, et al. (2011) to assess current socioeconomic status and childhood socioeconomic status. Interpersonal trust is formed by using Rotter’s interpersonal trust scale that was published in the book of Shaver and Wrightsman (1991). Consumer information acquisition activities are formed by a model that was used in an article of Murray (1991). The interaction between the three different models is formed by the hypotheses that are made in the literature study. These hypotheses represent three parts: ‘socioeconomic status and interpersonal trust’, ‘interpersonal trust and personal sources of information’ and ‘socioeconomic status and consumer information acquisition activities’. Results were mostly inconclusive, except for two findings. The research found that people with high interpersonal trust are more likely to ask the opinion of a family member or distant relative when they are buying a product with a medium budget (€600, a cellphone was given as example). The second finding stated that people with different childhood socioeconomic statuses will use consumer information acquisition activities in a distinctly different way when they are buying a product of a medium budget (€600), but they will use consumer information acquisition activities in the same way when they are buying a product with a very high budget (€30 000, a car was given as example).

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Dissertation
What is the impact of receiving government support for firms in Flanders on innovative activities?
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen

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R&D and innovation can help establish a competitive advantage for firms. A country needs to engage in innovation for long term growth and its competitiveness. Several studies have investigated the relationship between government support and R&D input. However, not much research has been conducted on the effect of government support on R&D output. This thesis project aims to investigate whether firms, that are supported, have a higher chance of introducing their product and service innovations as a novelty into the Belgian, European and/or World market. Using the Flemish part of the Community Innovation survey (CIS) evidence was found through econometric analyses that supported firms do indeed have a higher probability of introducing firsts into any of the above mentioned markets. Furthermore, this thesis also found evidence that supported firms have a higher R&D input, which supports conclusions from the prevalent literature. Overall it can be concluded that supported firms do seem to have a higher R&D input and output, compared to unsupported firms. Therefore, the government should keep funding R&D, since supported firms have a higher likelihood of introducing novelties into the Belgian, European and World market.

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Dissertation
The Influence of Health Symbols on Consumers' Purchase Intention
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen

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Due to obesity rates increasing and its negative health consequences, consumers are willing to purchase more healthy products (Van Doorn & Verhoef, 2011). However, consumers encounter difficulty when identifying healthy products (International Food Information Council 2012). Hence, information about the product’s nutrients has gained a lot of attention (Newman et al., 2014). Health symbols are an example of nutrition information and are an initiative to encourage manufacturers and retailers to improve their products, while helping consumers identify healthy options (Choices Programme, 2014). The aim of this research is to explore the influence of health symbols towards consumers’ purchase intention. This was done with the help of an online questionnaire and by analyzing the difference in purchase intention towards different products varying in brand type and product type. However, results of this research indicated that adding a health symbol decreased consumers’ purchase intention. Moreover, there was no difference in purchase intention between national brands and private labels with a health symbol. Furthermore, for hedonic products there also was no difference in purchase intention, yet for utilitarian products, the health symbol did influence purchase intention.

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Dissertation
The Pecking Order Theory Tested in Australia
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen

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This paper tests the pecking order theory of corporate leverage on publicly listed Australian firms in the period 2001-2015. Using a fixed effects model we find little evidence that the financing deficit is a good predictor of net debt. Our pecking order model therefore is not able to explain the majority of the variation in Australian firm capital structure.

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Dissertation
The effect of formal and informal IP protection on the likelihood of litigation.
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen

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The effects of the choice of IP (Intellectual Property) protection on the appropriability of inventions have already been well studied, whereas the studies on IP litigation are relatively recent. At the same time, very little analysis of the effects of this IP protection choice on the likelihood of litigation exists. Exploiting the database of the 2013 Flemish Community Innovation Survey (CIS) for up to 2335 innovative firms, I studied this effect of IP protection on litigation. In fact, this study investigates differences in formal and informal IP protection on the likelihood of different forms of litigation. With these forms being: litigation in general, prosecutions by other firms, self-initiated proceedings and settlements. My findings point to indifference between formal and informal IP protection on the probability of litigation. Moreover, both methods of protection indicate a positive effect on the likelihood of all 4 forms of litigation.

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Dissertation
A comparison of the strategies of the United States of America versus the European Union concerning free trade agreement with Canada: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) versus the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
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Year: 2017 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen

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This paper investigated the strategies of the United States of America versus the European Union concerning the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Canada: TTIP versus CETA. The aim of this thesis is to compare the negotiation processes of TTIP and CETA and the main issues and obstacles faced during the negotiations. The methodology used in this paper to undertake such analysis is characterized by devising the paper in two parts. “Part I: Processes and Negotiations” is dedicated to the comparison of the contexts, main objectives and strategies behind the FTAs; and the differences in the legislative processes between the EU, US and Canada, which have an impact on the negotiations processes and the outcomes. This paper will also review the timelines of the respective negotiations and the different key issues; such as, the transparency and confidentiality of the negotiations. A comparison of new mega-regional FTAs and their predecessors such as NAFTA, the new partially common trade politics of CETA and TTIP will be shown. “Part II: Substance of Free Trade Agreements”, this part will provide a comparison of the FTAs in terms of their economic aspects and frameworks; the main objective is to identify and compare the different issues and obstacles that have appeared during the negotiation processes. To undertake such an analysis, I have selected the most relevant chapters that have raised controversy; such as, Agriculture, Government procurement, Services such as Transport Services and Financial Services, Energy and finally Investment Protection.

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Dissertation
Innovative activities during a recession: a comparison between foreign owned and domestically owned firms in Flanders.
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen

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Economic growth is driven by innovation, but does it also work the opposite way? Do external economical happenings affect the level of investment innovation? To answer this question, the effect of the financial crisis during 2008-2009 on the average level of R&D investment is studied in Flanders. The literature also provides answers to that question, suggesting that the financial crisis did affect the investment in R&D negatively. To deepen this issue, this thesis compares the domestically owned firms to the foreign owned firms in Flanders. A strand of literature provides multiple comparisons between domestic firms and foreign firms in terms of innovative activity. However, little research has been done on the effect of the financial crisis on the relationship between domestically owned and foreign owned firms in terms of investments in R&D. The models used in this thesis suggest that foreign owned firms have decreased their R&D investments in Flanders compared to domestic owned firms. Furthermore, theoretical elaboration and the disentanglement of the observed effects are discussed.

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Dissertation
Identifying competition between airports: a case study of Germany
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen

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In this thesis, I define a new methodology to assess airport markets and to determine competition between airports. I have developed a model and a tool to determine quantitatively the number of potential customers and the purchasing power of the potential customers of an airport. Unlike existing methods that only look at the catchment area to determine the potential number of customers, our method is more powerful in that it takes into account the effect of neighbouring airports offering competing routes. I have chosen to apply the model and the tool to Germany. To illustrate how the model works, I applied it to 3 cases concerning the Dortmund Airport.

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Dissertation
The Role Of Science In Technology Development: The MP3 Case
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen

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Literature agrees that there is a positive impact of science on technology development. Besides this observation, theoretical research also made clear that there are a lot of mechanisms having an impact on industry-science links. However, this does not lead to clear policy applications. This master thesis contributes to current research by describing a real-life application of technology development; namely the development of the MP3 technology. By doing this, we are able to get more insight in how these theoretically described mechanisms are used in reality. The empirical research is carried out by using a qualitative-quantitative research approach. More precisely, this is done by combining knowledge from literature with knowledge extracted from MP3 patent data. In the MP3 case, we observe some important mechanisms that led to the development of a very successful innovative technology. First of all, inventor mobility and informal contacts were an important way to transfer (basic) knowledge between the different involved parties. Secondly, we can conclude that recombination of knowledge, both at scientific level and technological level, is a frequently used principle in the MP3 case. Finally, also multiple bridging mechanisms are used to bridge the gap between science and technology. The gap between technology and industry is bridged by licensing.

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