Jiayi Bao

Jiayi Bao
  • Applied Economics Doctoral Student

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3000 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: entrepreneurship, human resource management, organizational economics, experimental economics


Jiayi Bao is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Business Economics and Public Policy Department at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Jiayi studies workplace problems in entrepreneurial settings, using a combination of theoretical modeling, econometric analysis, and experimental design. She graduated from Vassar College in 2014 with a joint degree in Economics and Mathematics (General Honors and Departmental Honors) and received the DeGolier Prize for the student with the highest academic average. Jiayi has won a number of awards for her research, including multiple grants from the Mack Institute of Innovation Management and the Kauffman Knowledge Challenge grant for the study of entrepreneurship. She is also a coauthor of the American Angel Report, a comprehensive national study on angel investors who are crucial to the founding of high- growth startups. Prior to Wharton, she worked in multiple organizations including PIMCO, Merrill Lynch, and Mizuho.

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  • Tiantian Yang, Ming D. Leung, Jiayi Bao (Under Review), Approaching or Avoiding: Gender Asymmetry in Reactions to Prior Job Search Experience.

    Abstract: This paper presents a novel investigation into how supply-side job seeking interacts with demand-side hiring decisions to reproduce occupational gender segregation. The authors theorize that because female job seekers are less confident of their ability in male-typed jobs than their male counterparts, they will be more responsive to cues from employers. Specifically, job application success will encourage female job seekers to approach similar work in the future; employers’ rejections, on the other hand, will be particularly discouraging, leading women to avoid similar work in the future. Analyses of a longitudinal dataset of three million applications for IT and programming jobs from an online freelancing platform support the theory. Past job-seeking experience, either positive or negative, exerted a stronger effect on how women, compared to men, approached or avoided applying to IT and programming. Because failure is the more prevalent outcome, female freelancers stop applying to male-typed jobs quicker than males. In contrast, analyses in the female-typed writing and translation field did not reveal similar gender patterns. Gender asymmetries in response to employers’ hiring decisions reproduce occupational gender segregation by reducing women’s representation in male-typed but not female-typed fields. Implications for research on gender segregation, careers and hiring are discussed.

  • Jiayi Bao (Working), When Time-Off Sparks Time-At-Work.

  • Tiantian Yang, Jiayi Bao, Howard E. Aldrich (Under Revision), The Paradox of Resource Provision in Entrepreneurial Teams: Between Self-Interest and the Collective Enterprise.

    Abstract: Using a nationally representative multi-wave panel study of nascent entrepreneur, we investigate the antecedents and consequences of the founding entrepreneur’s paradox: assembling an entrepreneurial team as a way of eliciting contributions from others may not provide enough resources to launch new venture. We argue that the precarious nature of the early founding stage and the intrinsic properties of valuable resources, such as difficulty in withdrawing or redeploying them for other uses, may amplify the risk of early-stage resource contributions and increase team members’ tendencies toward free- riding and hold-up. The expectation that early entrepreneur efforts will not pay off may discourage individuals from investing their own resources early on, generating tension between individuals’ natural dispositions to guard their personal interests and a team’s dependence on collective efforts, ultimately limiting members’ contributions. Analyzing a representative sample of entrepreneurial teams in the United States assembled in 2005, we show that early-stage team members are more willing to provide extractible/duplicable resources (i.e. information, advice) than non-extractible/non-duplicable resources (i.e. financial resource and time), even though such resources are less critical to venture survival than non-extractible/non-duplicable resources. Pre-signed formal contracts and founding entrepreneurs’ initial contributions make members’ contributions more likely. Our results suggest that entrepreneurs’ commitments to their business, signified by their contributions of valuable resources, help mitigate the tension between individuals’ tendencies to preserve their personal resources and a teams’ reliance on collective effort for success in cases where teams have not signed collective agreements regarding ownership.

  • Jiayi Bao and Andy Wu (Working), Equality and Equity in Compensation.

    Abstract: Equity compensation is widely used for incentivizing skilled employees, particularly in new technology businesses. Traditional theories explaining why firms offer equity suggest that workers with higher rank should receive compensation packages more heavily weighted in equity. However, we observe the puzzle that many firms adopt an equality-in-equity strategy: they offer different cash salaries across all jobs but the same equity compensation. We propose a behavioral theory of domain-contingent inequality aversion to explain this finding: we argue that workers view salary and equity as two domains and are more inequality averse in the equity domain. Inequality in equity has a negative asymmetric effect on effort whereas the effect of inequality in salary can be positive. Our experimental findings are consistent with the existence of domain-contingent inequality aversion; we also find that inequality aversion in equity is more severe than in salary because of the perceived scarcity of equity.

  • Jiayi Bao and Benjamin Ho (2015), Heterogeneous Effects of Informational Nudges on Pro-social Behavior, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 15 (4), pp. 1619-1655.

    Abstract: Numerous experimental studies of informational nudges both in the lab and the field have demonstrated not just that informational nudges are effective policy tools for influencing behavior, but also that nudges have heterogeneous impacts that differ depending on the characteristics of the person involved and the situation. We adapt Andreoni’s theory of warm-glow impure altruism to account for how altruism motives respond differently depending on the disposition of the person and the situation. The model explains both positive spillovers (moral cleansing) and negative spillovers (moral licensing) for behavioral interventions, showing that targeting of informational campaigns depends on the complementarity between people’s traits and the intervention’s content. More importantly, the design of economic incentives (like Pigouvian taxes) to shift economic behavior should depend on both the distribution of social preferences in the population and the use of behavioral interventions.


Past Courses

  • BEPP250 - Managerial Economics

    This course will introduce you to "managerial economics" which is the application of microeconomic theory to managerial decision-making. Microeconomic theory is a remarkably useful body of ideas for understanding and analyzing the behavior of individuals and firms in a variety of economic settings. The goal of the course is for you to understand this body of theory well enough so that you can effectively analyze managerial (and other) problems in an economic framework. While this is a "tools" course, we will cover many real-world applications, particularly business applications, so that you can witness the usefulness of these tools and acquire the skills to use them yourself. We will depart from the usual microeconomic theory course by giving more emphasis to prescription: What should a manager do in order to achieve some objective? That course deliverable is to compare with description: Why do firms and consumers act the way they do? The latter will still be quite prominent in this course because only by understanding how other firms and customers behave can a manager determine what is beswt for him or her to do. ,Strategic interaction is explored both in product markets and auctions. Finally, the challenges created by asymmetric information - both in the market and within the firm - are investigated.

Awards and Honors

  • Wharton Risk Center Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowship Award, 2018
  • Mack Institute Research Fellowship, 2018
  • Wharton George James Travel Award, 2018
  • Kauffman Knowledge Challenge Grant (Insight to Impact), 2018
  • Mack Institute Research Fellowship, 2017
  • Emilie Louise Wells Fellowship, 2017
  • Wharton People Analytics Research Paper Competition Finalist, 2017
  • Wharton George James Travel Award, 2017
  • Emilie Louise Wells Fellowship, 2016
  • Mack Institute Research Fellowship, 2016
  • Wharton Risk Center Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowship Award, 2016
  • I.S.E.O. Summer School Scholarship, 2014
  • The Agnes Reynolds Jackson Prize, 2014
  • The Virginia Swinburne Brownell Prize in Political Economy, 2014
  • Plenary Speaker at National Collegiate Research Conference, 2014
  • The DeGolier Prize for Academic Excellence, 2013
  • Lui & Wan Foundation Scholarship, 2010-2014


Latest Research

Tiantian Yang, Ming D. Leung, Jiayi Bao (Under Review), Approaching or Avoiding: Gender Asymmetry in Reactions to Prior Job Search Experience.
All Research

Awards and Honors

Wharton Risk Center Russell Ackoff Doctoral Student Fellowship Award 2018
All Awards