Elizabeth Lyons is an assistant professor of management at the School. Her research primarily employs field experiments to study questions related to entrepreneurship, alternative work arrangements, innovation policy, and organizational economics. Her work has been published in leading Management and Economics journals, and been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other major media outlets.
Her projects include analyses of firm hiring and organization in international labor markets, training and monitoring of remote and temporary workers, optimal incentives for novel innovation, the relationship between co-founder equity splits and production decisions, and the effects of entrepreneurship training on career decisions.
She is a recipient of the 2016 Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research. During her graduate studies, she was the associate director of the Creative Destruction Lab, a venture lab at the University of Toronto.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Future Of Telecommuting
Telecommuting Best Practices
2015 Hartle Award
For outstanding graduate scholarship on a policy-relevant topic from the University of Toronto.
2016 Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship
Awarded the 2016 Kauffman Junior Faculty Fellowship in Entrepreneurship Research.
University of Toronto: Ph.D., Strategic Management 2014
University of Toronto: A.B., Economics 2009
- Member, Asia Innovation and Entrepreneurship Association
- Member, Center for Effective Global Action
- Member, Strategy Research Forum
Media Appearances (4)
What's at the end of the coronavirus tunnel?
The San Diego Union-Tribune online
For many years now, for a variety of reasons, there’s been a move toward more people working from home. “The pandemic is fast-forwarding how quickly that shift is happening,” said Elizabeth Lyons, an assistant professor of management in UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.
The science of work
University of California online
Boldness, creativity and an aptitude for taking risks are all characteristics of a successful innovator. They also apply to UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) assistant professor of management Elizabeth Lyons, who studies innovation and entrepreneurship. The Canadian-born scholar grew up on the ice rinks of Ottawa, playing hockey primarily in boys’ leagues to keep her competitive edge, and applies this same boundary-breaking mentality to her research.
Are Innovators Born or Made?
Pro Market online
The question of whether people are born with innovative talent or can develop it has knock-on effects to issues ranging from productivity growth in the macroeconomy to innovators’ wages to the gender gap in entrepreneurship. Here the authors report the results of an experiment that aimed to “create” new innovators.
Why a winner-takes-all approach is the best way to spur innovation
The Globe and Mail print
Elizabeth Lyons, an assistant professor of management at UC San Diego, has been preoccupied by what drives innovation. “Why do people become innovators? What makes innovators better at innovating? Can anyone innovate, or are you either an innovator or not?” asks Lyons. Perhaps most interesting is the question of whether—or how—the process might be hacked.
The impact of job training on temporary worker performance: Field experimental evidence from insurance sales agentsJournal of Economics & Management Strategy
2020 Despite the limited incentives they provide for idiosyncratic investment, temporary work arrangements are becoming increasingly common. Using evidence from a field experiment conducted among salespeople in a Kenyan insurance firm, this paper examines the consequences of providing job training for temporary workers.
Fairness considerations in joint venture formationExperimental Economics
2019 Using a series of laboratory experiments in the context of bilateral bargaining over whether and how to engage in a joint venture, this paper shows that fairness concerns result in failures to undertake profitable joint production opportunities.
Trade-offs in motivating volunteer effort: Experimental evidence on voluntary contributions to sciencePLoS One
2019 Digitization has facilitated the proliferation of crowd science by lowering the cost of finding individuals with the willingness to participate in science without pay. However, the factors that influence participation and the outcomes of voluntary participation are unclear.
Increasing STEM undergraduate participation in innovative activities: Field experimental evidencePLoS One
2019 Workers trained in STEM are generally viewed as essential for innovation-led economic growth. Yet, recent statistics suggest that a majority of STEM undergraduates do not go on to pursue innovation-focused careers in their fields of study.
Who does (not) benefit from entrepreneurship programs?Strategic Management Journal
2018 We evaluate a technology entrepreneurship training program by comparing career decisions among applicants accepted into the program with unaccepted applicants who are program finalists.
Team Production in International Labor Markets: Experimental Evidence from the FieldAmerican Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2017, vol. 9 no.3.
oworkers are increasingly diverse in their nationality and skill sets. This paper studies the effect of diversity on how workers are organized using data from a field experiment conducted in an environment where diversity is pervasive. Findings show that team organization improves outcomes when workers are from the same country. The opposite is true when workers are nationally diverse. These results are more pronounced for teams of workers with specialized skills. Further investigation of the data suggests that nationally diverse teams have difficulty communicating.
The Impact of Entrepreneurship Programs on MinoritiesAmerican Economic Review
Coworkers are increasingly diverse in their nationality and skill sets. This paper studies the effect of diversity on how workers are organized using data from a field experiment conducted in an environment where diversity is pervasive. Findings show that team organization improves outcomes when workers are from the same country. The opposite is true when workers are nationally diverse. These results are more pronounced for teams of workers with specialized skills. Further investigation of the data suggests that nationally diverse teams have difficulty communicating.
Does standardized information in online markets disproportionately benefit job applicants from less developed countries?Journal of International Economics
We examine trade in services between employers from developed countries (DCs) and workers from less developed countries (LDCs) on an online platform for contract labor. We report evidence that 1) DC employers are less likely to hire LDC compared to DC workers even after controlling for a wide range of observables, 2) workers with standardized and verified work history information are more likely to be hired, and 3) information on verified work history disproportionately benefits LDC contractors. The LDC premium also applies to additional outcomes including wage bids, obtaining an interview, and being shortlisted. In addition, the evidence suggests that informational limits to trade may be addressed through a variety of market design approaches; for instance, an online monitoring tool substitutes for verified work history information.