Author's School

Olin Business School


English (en)

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Nicholas S. Argyres Lamar Pierce

Committee Members

Seth Carnahan, Daniel W. Elfenbein, Aseem Kaul, Minyuan Zhao,


This dissertation comprises three distinct chapters, all centered on the critical phenomenon I term the “transparency dilemma.” This dilemma arises when firms are requested by regulators and stakeholders to reveal proprietary operational information to address externalities created by their business activities. In doing so, they risk losing vital intellectual property or damaging relationships with stakeholders who may benefit from keeping the information confidential. How do firms navigate this dilemma? In Chapter 1, I explore alternative strategies firms employ when disclosure threatens their intellectual property. By focusing on the trade secret provision in chemical disclosures within the hydraulic fracturing sector of the US oil industry, I demonstrate that firms opt for complementary assets over secrecy when public pressure for transparency intensifies. In Chapter 2, I investigate how the uneven distribution of external pressure across firms leads to idiosyncratic disparities between public and private firms in their disclosure decisions and chemical choices, consequently impacting directed technical change. In Chapter 3, I examine how firms utilize self-regulation within a multi-stakeholder initiative to manage conflicting stakeholder demands for transparency and the resulting effect on firms’ competitiveness when disclosure becomes mandatory.

Available for download on Wednesday, July 10, 2024