GW-CIBER Summer Doctoral Institute


SDI 2016 Scholars


Róisín Donnelly, SDI 2016 ScholarRóisín Donnelly is a Ph.D. student in Bentley University, Waltham, MA. Her research focuses on international business strategy with a particular emphasis on locational decisions, multinational firms and institutions. She is particularly interested in firm-specific experiences with institutions and how they affect locational decisions.

Róisín earned her M.Sc. in Finance and Bachelor of Business Studies from Trinity College Dublin. Her Master’s thesis was titled “Analysing the Relationship between Macro-Environmental Factors and Foreign Direct Investment” and was the catalyst for her doctoral research. Prior to her doctoral studies, Róisín worked at the Central Bank of Ireland.

Project: Firm-Specific Institutional Diversity and Performance

This paper will examine the multinationality/performance relationship with the institutional diversity of the multinational enterprise (MNE) as a measure of multinationality. Specifically, the diversity of the institutional environments the MNE is exposed to from administrative, cultural, demographic, economic, financial, global connectedness, knowledge and political institutions will be examined in relation to MNE performance.

The research question will be: how does multinationality relate to firm performance when taking an institutional perspective on multinationality? The expected contribution of this paper is that it brings the institution-based view of IB strategy into the multinationality-performance literature, highlighting how experience in diverse institutional environments impacts the performance of MNCs. We embrace this experience based approach to measuring firm exposure and learning in foreign markets and create measures that capture the multinationality of firms through different measures of institutional diversity across the location of an MNE’s operations.

SDI Mentor: Dr. Heather Berry



Yuanyuan Li, 2016 SDI ScholarYuanyuan Li is a Ph.D. student at Rutgers Business School, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Her research work focuses on foreign direct investment from emerging market, particularly internationalization process and technological catch up.

She earned her Master’s in International Trade from School of Economics, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China. Her thesis was about the relationship between trade and international production under various foreign direct investment motives. During her Master’s, Yuanyuan was a visiting student to GWU Business School. She was trained as an Economics student in her undergraduate at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies where most of her core courses were instructed bilingual. Other than her current study, she also has an interest in economic geography and political economics.

Project: Overseas Expansion of Chinese Multinationals

Ever since the Open and Reform policy in 1978, enterprises from China have footprint overseas. Based on a documentary dataset with every single project approved by Ministry of Commerce, we plan to look at how the pattern of Chinese foreign direct investment evolved, regarding host location, home provinces and major business activities overseas, under the regulatory institutional regime change during 1980 to 2014. This would allow us to test a bundle of international business theories, including but not limited to Uppsala Model, Flying Geese Model, Dunning’s Internationalization Investment development cycle and stages of FDI development approach.

SDI Mentors: Dr. Robert Weiner & Dr. Anupama Phene



Daniel Miller, 2016 SDI ScholarDaniel Miller is a native of the mountains of Southwest Virginia and a graduate of Guilford College as well as the MA program at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. His current dissertation research is focused on the strategic value of Chinese foreign loans, grants and aid. He is particularly interested in how the People’s Republic of China funds new energy and infrastructure development projects. His Summer Doctoral Institute research will explore these themes by looking at the repayment requirements for projects within the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Dan is a past recipient of the Bonderman Travel Fellowship from the University of Washington where he explored first hand traditional styles of folk wrestling in over a dozen different countries ranging from Tahiti to Switzerland. He is a former intern at the National Bureau of Asian Research and is a Slade Gorton Global Leader Fellow. Currently, he is also a Mellon Pre-doctoral Fellow at the University of Washington.

Project: China’s Evolving Foreign Investment Policy: Explaining Project Funding Variance in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

What can China’s rapidly changing foreign investment policy tell us about that country’s strategic commercial, political and development goals? The first decade-plus of the twenty first century has seen remarkable changes in the international political economy of foreign aid and investment. Large development projects, and especially state-supervised loans and grants, have been impacted by rapid technological and political evolution. New state powers have emerged alongside new methods of producing energy, interconnecting communities, and doing business.

In this period of rapid change, international development projects remain an important tangible strategic indicator of regime priorities. This is particularly true regarding states like China that exhibit relatively high degrees of economic, commercial and political coordination. Both the focus of specific projects and the repayment conditions imposed by lender states upon recipients convey important strategic information. For example, western lenders often impose “good governance” conditions that indicate underlying political, commercial, economic and moral interests. The re-emergence of a globally relevant and capital-rich People’s Republic of China into international investing necessitates viewing Chinese lending with a similar critical lens. At the current time no area of China’s foreign investment is more important than the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. In terms of gross investment size, strategic geopolitical value, and commercial utility this series of highways, rail lines, airports, ports, nuclear power stations, hydroelectric dams, subways and potentially the world’s largest solar energy plant is a massively important undertaking.

Through unpacking funding details within CPEC’s constituent projects the PRC’s overall strategic goals for the region can be discerned. Due to the nature of the political regimes involved the most expedient path of enquiry to discern what CPEC is designed to do is a comparative financial unpacking of how each project is funded in relation both to its CPEC cohort-mates and to the body of international investment at large. Across CPEC there is variance in repayment requirements for different project types. Why does this variance exist and how are different categories of investments required to be repaid? More importantly, how can these differences in project funding requirements inform our understanding of what the PRC’s strategic political and commercial objectives are? To understand the political and commercial future of China, South Asia and Central Asia these questions must be addressed.

SDI Mentor: Dr. Jiawen Yang



Yifan Wei, 2016 SDI ScholarYifan Wei is currently a Ph.D. candidate from the College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research lies at the intersection of international business and organizational theory with a specific interest in the institutional environment of entrepreneurship and corporate governance practices. He also holds the Master of Science in International Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a B.S. from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prior to doctoral studies, he also worked as consultant at Deloitte and Roland Berger.

Project: The Origins and Evolution of China’s Public Policies on Entrepreneurship

The dominant approach to studying entrepreneurship has traditionally focused on discovering personal attributes and the context that propel individuals into entrepreneurship. Yet it overlooks how organizational environment creates or destroys entrepreneurial opportunities. Organizational theorists have been trying to address the issue of entrepreneurial opportunity by analyzing economic, social, and political forces that produce entrepreneurial action. Less attention, however, has been devoted to unique national political and economic institutions that produce public policies on entrepreneurship. Our study seeks to fill the gap by answering the following questions: where do public policies on entrepreneurship come from and how they evolved over time? Empirically, we will analyze the origins and evolution of China’s public policies on entrepreneurship.

SDI Mentor: Dr. Jiawen Yang



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