Youthika Chauhan

Ongoing research

Strategic Advantages through Social Responsiveness: The Case of Certified B-Corps

Social enterprises or hybrid firms are those organizations that seek to fulfill certain goals for the common good (e.g., economic development, food security, and sustainability, gender equality, environmental protection, access to education, financial inclusion) while seeking profitability.

Scholars have described that the pursuit of dual missions leads to several internal and external tensions. My study aims to address the broader puzzle of how social enterprises address these tensions arising out of dual missions. More specifically, I identify the different mechanisms and changes that organizations undergo when they certify their dual missions through third parties.

This study is focused on South Asia (India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar). The identified firms strive to contribute to the economic development of developing nations. Further, social entrepreneurship is a relatively new phenomenon in this region. Each firm in my dataset aims to pursue one or more of the aforementioned social missions. By studying the entire population of certified B-Corps (i.e., Benefit Corporations certified by B-Lab, a US-based non-profit), I find the mechanisms whereby firms’ category and identity become established internally and externally. Moreover, I uncover different activities and mechanisms that can reinforce the notion of synergy between financial and social missions. Thus, I identify different activities by which firms can be financially profitable and socially impactful simultaneously. I also find several economic and strategic benefits of adopting social missions, which include attractiveness in the labor market, organizational identification, and recognition from future investors and clients.

Supported by: Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship (Carolina Asia Center, UNC Sangam), Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Presented at: AOM ONE Division Doctoral Consortium (2019), AOM SIM Division Research Development Workshop (2019), University of Virginia – Summer Seminar on Stakeholder Theory (2019), B-Academic Roundtable (2019), EGOS (2020), EURAM (2020)

Citation: Chauhan, Youthika and O’Neill, Hugh M., Strategic Advantages through Social Responsiveness: The Case of Certified B-Corps (April 7, 2020).

Available at SSRN:


Reverse Migration and Social Entrepreneurship

[Work in Progress]

While plenty of scholars from different fields (e.g., economics, sociology, psychology, public policy) have studied the trends, reasons, and consequences of migration from developing to developed countries, migration from developed to developing countries has been almost entirely overlooked. Although such a form of migration might be smaller in number, it has the potential to play a role in host countries’ social development through the entrepreneurial ventures founded by migrants from developed countries. Introducing the term ‘reverse migration’ to refer to this novel phenomenon, I aim to explore its implications in social impact generation and entrepreneurship.

Unlike immigrants from developing countries, reverse migrants have few co-ethnic ecosystems or co-ethnic immigrants in host countries. Hence, reverse migrants are likely to face a range of challenges, in addition to those faced by native and ethnic entrepreneurs. The solutions from prior literature do not apply to reverse migrants. Yet, these reverse migrants have not only established successful firms in developing countries but have also ensured their effectiveness towards a wide range of social missions. I aim to explore this phenomenon and to answer the question, “How do reverse migrants acquire and deploy economic, human, and social capital in their host countries to make the firms both financially viable and socially impactful?”

My present dataset consists of 22 reverse-migrant founded social enterprises in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. By studying these and other relevant firms, I aim to understand reverse migration as a phenomenon that globalizes business forms with the goal of economic development.

Supported by: Graduate Phillips Ambassador Program (Carolina Asia Center)

To be presented at SMS (2020), AOM ONE Division Doctoral Consortium (2020), AOM OMT Division – Global Paper Development Workshop (2019)

Resilience and recovery in the time of COVID19: Evidences from a field experiment

[Fieldwork in Progress]

Prior research suggests that social missions are associated with increased employee retention, organizational identification, employee commitment, and attractiveness in the labor market. However, we do not know whether social missions can help firms overcome setbacks.

To understand how organizations can overcome setbacks, I am working on a field experiment at social ventures in different developing economies. This study uses lockdowns due to COVID19 as a setback that has adversely impacted several organizations. Using social impact-based training as an intervention, I will evaluate whether social missions can help organizations to restore productivity after a crisis.

Supported by: Graduate Phillips Ambassador Program (Carolina Asia Center)


Past Research

Food System Transformation through Cloud Platforms: Application to the Food Waste Management in India

Under review at: Journal of Business Venturing Insights

Feeding people sustainably continues to be a challenge in the present times. Aggravating this problem is the fact that about one-third of the global food produced is wasted each year, which is nearly 1.3 billion tons of food suitable for human consumption. In developing and least developed countries, food wastage primarily occurs within the supply chain. Lack of infrastructure for transportation, warehousing, and refrigeration in developing countries cause significant post-harvest losses. In India, about 40% of fresh fruits and vegetables worth approximately USD 8.3 billion undergo spoilage before reaching the consumer. Additionally, about 21 million metric tons of grain rot due to improper storage.

A range of factors, such as microbial, enzymatic, chemical, physical, and mechanical ones, lead to food spoilage. These factors necessitate the development of logistics systems in food supply chains. Computerization and technological platforms facilitating online communications within food supply chains can facilitate the management of agricultural resources. While research shows that developments in food supply chains can reduce food wastage, no systematic research has been done so far to show the possible relationship between the use of technology in food supply chains and food losses. This paper attempts to address this gap by studying the supply chains of different organizations and their food wastage.

Using a multi-case study analysis of Indian processed food manufacturers, I identify the key factors (e.g., food perishability, product sensitivity, supply chain complexity, etc.) that can serve as indicators of food wastage. These can also help identify the relevance of technology in the product supply chains. This study reveals that cloud platforms can help reduce food wastage in supply chains, both directly and indirectly. Further, I identify the specific technologies and the conditions under which they can be useful in preventing food wastage in supply chains.

Note: The above paper was submitted as a Masters Thesis towards completion of the degree requirements. Draft available on request.

Citation: Chauhan, Youthika, Food System Transformation Through Cloud Platforms: Application to the Food Waste Management in India (September 15, 2014).

Available at SSRN:


Sustainability and Transparency in the Food Industry: Which Events Matter?

With growing concerns regarding food sustainability, while certain firms in the industry are acting responsibly and adopting sustainable practices, there are still several instances of firms’ wrong-doing. In this paper, I have considered the principles of sustainability as a source of economic gains and as a source of positive returns. Negative actions related to firm wrong-doing are considered to affect firms’ reputation and brand. We do not have a clear understanding of the impact of positive and negative news on the stock market performance of companies. Positive news announcements, such as those related to improved regulatory compliance, institutional acceptance, employee orientation, and community support, resulting in positive cumulative abnormal returns, whereas negative news announcements do not generate any investor reaction.  Through this paper, I have contributed to the literature by adding to empirical findings favoring stakeholder theory and institutional theory.

The findings from this paper have implications for production, marketing, and movement building for food systems with an orientation towards sustainable practices. The results from previous research studies have shown that consumers had preferences for food products with better information disclosure and were concerned about safety and nutrition aspects. I have explored this with a variety of other initiatives such as the adoption of sustainable practices, employee orientation, customer-centric innovation made by firms. I have also explored the impact of negative news announcements. My finding is that there is an incentive to engage in socially responsible action. Sustainable initiatives and improved compliance with norms can potentially improve a firm’s performance in the stock market, especially if substantiated by institutional acceptance. Negative news announcements do not generate any significant response.

 Note: The above four papers were submitted towards completion of doctoral course requirements. Draft available on request.


Female Literacy and Malnutrition in Children: A Country-Level Study

While the prevalence of malnutrition has significantly reduced in many parts of the world, child malnutrition persists in many developing economies. Research suggests that in the medium-to-long run, non-nutritional social interventions such as expanding female schooling, access to water and electricity, and improving agricultural productivity may have significant effects on reducing child malnutrition. In this cross-country study, I evaluate the role of certain non-nutritional factors related to the education of women on the prevalence of malnutrition.

I find that literacy among women is a statistically significant factor associated with child malnutrition. Accessibility of healthcare and the availability of prenatal care for pregnant women has a moderating effect on this variable.

Note: The above paper was submitted towards the completion of doctoral course requirements. Draft available on request.