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China awards Loyola professor rare research grant

Loyola press release - November 8, 2010

Lee Yao, Ph.D., the Rev. J.A. Butt, S.J. Distinguished Professor in Accounting at Loyola University New Orleans, received a very rare, competitive grant from the Chinese government to study government intervention into the capital market. The study, conducted in conjunction with the Southwestern University of Economics and Finance in China, will examine how the Chinese government affects the market in relationship to different corporate government structures.

“In an effort to attract investors, the Chinese government has privatized many of what were once state-owned companies, but they are still major stockholders,” Yao said. “China, being a communist country, still tends to use government influence to make a company go in a certain direction by manipulating the corporate structure. They have a big say in who’s on the board, who’s the CEO and how the company will react in a crisis situation. These are all factors that we are going to study.”

Major research grants, awarded by the government-run National Natural Science Foundation, are highly competitive and rarely given to social science or business applicants. Yao said of the thousands of applications received, most grants are awarded to scientists conducting medical research, which makes receiving this grant a remarkable achievement.

“Although they are a communist country, they are playing a capitalist game,” Yao continued. “They want to see the surveys and find out how they are reacting in certain situations. Are they making certain decisions consciously or simply reacting to the environment? And for them to allow me, in America, to conduct the study is a major breakthrough.”

Yao will design the structure of the study to be conducted by two fellow researchers in China, who will collect the data and return it to Yao for analysis. The group will present their findings at a national conference in China in 2012.

For more information, please contact Matt Lambert with Loyola Public Affairs at 504-861-5448 or mlambert@loyno.edu.