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This Year's Henry J. Leir Prizes Award Two Research Papers Equally

The Henry J. Leir Prizes, annual awards for the two best working papers and associated research proposals submitted by junior faculty in the School of Management, have been given equally this year to James Cicon, an assistant professor of finance, and to co-authors  P. Ben Chou, a senior university lecturer of economics,  and Ellen Thomas, an assistant professor of marketing.

The Henry J. Leir Prizes, annual awards for the two best working papers and associated research proposals submitted by junior faculty in the School of Management, have been given equally this year to James Cicon, an assistant professor of finance, and to co-authors  P. Ben Chou, a senior university lecturer of economics,  and Ellen Thomas, an assistant professor of marketing.

Cicon was recognized for his  a paper on the emotional state of CEOs during video interviews and the impact on the market performance of their firms. He used facial emotion recognition software to quantify their emotional state during interviews and found in a sample of Fortune 500 firms from 2006 to 2012 that the state of fear was connected to an increase in the market value of the firm around the interview date.  Cicon posited that the market perceives a fearful CEO to be a motivated CEO, thereby increasing firm value. However, he also showed that the market only prices facial emotions which occur in the first two minutes of an interview and argues this is so because the CEO works to ameliorate the initial and unintentional revelation of fear, over the remainder of the interview.

Chou and Thomas were recognized for their paper using game theory, which formalizes how parties interact strategically, to characterize the interactions between firms of different sizes in alliances around the development of a new product. They showed that a broader-scope link alliance tends to benefit the larger firm, while a narrower-scope scale alliance tends to benefit the smaller firm. The asymmetry of benefits also enables the larger firm to subsidize the smaller firm to maintain the stability of the alliance if it is beneficial for the larger firm to do so.

The prize of $2,000 awarded to the authors of both papers can be used for software, travel, or other expenses related to their proposed research.

Henry J. Leir was a 20th century industrialist and philanthropist whose foundations endowed two chairs at NJIT.