URIS 2012 Project One – led by Dr. Yontem Sonmez and Dr. Matthew Gobey
Project Title: Croatia’s EU Accession: Implications on Trade Patterns
Project Outline: Difficulties with keeping the Eurozone crisis under control, the EU and Croatian leaders signed Croatia's EU Accession Treaty in December 2011 and Croatia will become the EU's 28th Member State on 1 July 2013 subject to ratification of the Treaty by all the Member States and Croatia.
The aim of this project is to estimate the potential trade flows from Croatia to the EU27 based on panel data from the period 1990 to 2011 and then comparing the estimated flows with the actual trade flows to find out whether there is still some trade potential between EU27 and Croatia that could be exploited.
Croatia’s most important export and sectors will be analysed by using the sectoral data on a two-digit level, based on the harmonised systems (HS) classification, from the EUROSTAT’s trade database COMEXT. For this project, an improved econometric specification of the gravity model will be used together with panel data.
URIS 2012 Project Two – led by Professor Philip B. Whyman and Dr. Alina I. Petrescu
Project Title: Determinants of Charitable Donations
Project Outline: The project will carry out an analysis of the determinants of charitable donations. The aim is to ascertain which characteristics of charities are likely to be associated with charities collecting a higher volume of charitable donations. Increasing the extant knowledge of the way charities could be more successful at attracting donations is expected to have wide societal benefits.
Using a combination of secondary data (such as from the Charities Aid Foundation), supplemented by primary data, the project will test which charity characteristics are associated with more charitable donations.
The project involves the intern in all of its stages, from initial literature search, collation of secondary data (from the industry or web-search) as well as design and distribution of survey, to data entry, and ending with provisional data analysis (if time and skills permit).
URIS 2012 Project Three – led by Dr. Mitch Larson
Project Title: Workplace Spirituality
Project Outline: One difficulty in modern business is maintaining effective engagement between employees and the organisation. Companies are increasingly concerned with squeezing the most out of each employee already on staff, but this kind of energetic commitment on the part of the employee can prove hard to create. One recent innovation in this regard is an effort by large companies to return ‘meaningfulness’ to the working experience through a variety of programmes. Often this is done by appealing to the employees’ external personal interests in social causes and/or providing small levels of support to help people feel that they are making a difference in their work rather than just a pay cheque.
This project aims to analyse this new phenomenon and situate it in the broader landscape of corporate social responsibility and responsible business practices. What sort of results have companies been having with this activity and has it led to increased employee loyalty and productivity? This research is still in its early stages which allows the intern to see how business research can be designed whilst also offering insight into the preliminary stages of literature and data collection.
This research project derives from an existing research project on which I have done some preliminary work already. It fulfils the mission of the Lancashire Institute for Economic and Business Research (under Prof. Phil Whyman) to pursue research in the social sciences and runs parallel to the research on Corporate Social Responsibility undertaken by Institute member Professor Andrei Kuznetsov. The research has potential impact for the corporate world if we can determine what element(s) of workplace engagement appear to be most successful or most valued by employees of big companies.