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: behavioral economics, entrepreneurship, human resource management, organizational 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. Her research interests are applied microeconomics and behavioral economics, with particular focuses on organizational decision-making in entrepreneurial environments and high skilled labor market. 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. Her senior thesis, “Heterogeneous Effects of Informational Nudges on Pro-social Behavior,” won the Agnes Reynolds Jackson Prize and was published in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. She was also a Plenary Speaker at National Collegiate Research Conference. 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 (Work In Progress), Reaction to Rejection: Gender Differences in How Past Job Seeking Outcomes Affect Future Job Seeking Behavior.

  • Jiayi Bao (Working), When Time Away Sparks Time at Work: Time-Off as a Source of Competitive Advantage for Innovation.

    Abstract: The management view of human capital as a source of sustained competitive advantage has driven research on how strategic human resource practices affect organizational performance. This paper focuses on how a firm’s time-off policy can be a source of competitive advantage in entrepreneurial settings, particularly for innovation. Three types of employee time-off are examined: job-protected unpaid leave, state-funded family leave, and firm- funded paid vacation. Exploiting state-to-state variation in eligibility thresholds, I adopt a regression discontinuity design to estimate the effect of state-mandated job-protected unpaid leave on patent and intellectual property ownership. I then estimate the effect due to state-funded paid family leave through a difference-in-difference estimation using a natural experiment. Finally, the effect of employer-funded paid vacation is evaluated with a fixed effects approach as well as an instrumental variable estimation. I find that job-protected unpaid leave has limited impact on innovation, at most via the intensive margin, supporting the 1-to-N innovation. Both state-funded family leave and firm-funded paid vacation have positive effects on innovation, especially via the extensive margin, contributing to the 0-to-1 innovation.

  • Tiantian Yang, Jiayi Bao, Howard E. Aldrich (Under Review), 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


    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 compared 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 determin what is best 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

  • 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 (Work In Progress), Reaction to Rejection: Gender Differences in How Past Job Seeking Outcomes Affect Future Job Seeking Behavior.
All Research

Awards and Honors

Mack Institute Research Fellowship 2017
All Awards