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Dissertation and Thesis Presentations

Candidates who are in the process of defending their doctoral dissertation or master's thesis may submit their information to the Office of Graduate Studies for posting to this page. Submissions intended for this page should be sent at least two weeks before the date of the defense.

Dissertation Presentations

Student Name: Ivan Grek
Graduate Level: Ph.D.
Field of Study: History
Committee Chair: Professor Eric Lohr
Committee Members: Professor Anton Fedyashin, Professor Keith Darden, Professor Marlene Laruelle (External Reader, George Washington University)
Date of Presentation: 8/19/2021
Time of Presentation: 9:00 am

Title of Dissertation: Illiberal Civil Society in Russia, 1985-2002

Abstract: Conventional interpretations of civil society tend to present horizontal associations as an exclusively liberal phenomenon. Drawing on the alternative theory of “Bad” Civil Society, which argues that civil society is a variable that can be both liberal and illiberal, this research tackles the problem of understudied illiberal horizontal associations in Russia by conducting the first systematic empirical investigation of the emergence of conservative civil society network in the late 1980s – early 1990s. This research indicates that since the 1980s, middle and upper-middle class citizens started to engage the Russian Orthodox Church and regional politicians in the creation of a variety of conservative civic organizations such as the RZM, the Foundation of St. Andrew, Golden Vitiaz’, and others. After the collapse of the USSR, these networks promoted a resurrection of Orthodox values and helped to build the foundation of new political Russian conservatism through many projects from school reforms to influencing Russian Constitution and legislation.


Student Name: Youngil Choi
Committee Members: Prof. Xuguang Simon Sheng (Chair), Prof. Gabriel Mathy, Prof. Salem Abo-Zaid, Dr. Charl Jooste
Date: September 10, 2021
Time: from 9AM to 11AM, Eastern time (U.S.)
Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 975 2351 0563  Passcode: 452151

Title: Uncertainty, Credit Risk, and Corporate Investment

This paper offers the first empirical account for the impacts of uncertainty and credit risk on corporate investment in the context of Korean economy. For the empirical investigation, we propose a new approach, the risk sensitivity of investment, to measure the effect of credit risk and uncertainty. The approach is not subject to the measurement error with Tobin’s Q. A new measure of firm-level uncertainty is also constructed using the Black-Scholes-Merton model. Independent of credit risk, the “delevered” asset uncertainty can identify the real options effect apart from the credit risk effect. A novel identification scheme, based on a sample split by debt regime, cleanly identifies the role of risky debt in terms of the agency cost of the underinvestment problem. The credit risk effect demonstrates the discriminating power of the risk sensitivity approach as a new test for the presence of financial constraints.

The empirical findings show that financial frictions are powerful conduits of uncertainty shocks. Both the credit risk and the real options channels have significant dampening effects on investment. The credit risk channel turns out to be more powerful than the real options channel. Under the risky debt, there exists a sizable agency cost related to the underinvestment problem. The risk sensitivity would have more pronounced effects when firms’ profitability is low.