Yong Li






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The overarching goal of my research is to shed light on how firms make strategic investment decisions in entrepreneurial contexts and how firms create and capture value from such decisions. My work is motivated by a pervasive business challenge: Decision making in entrepreneurial contexts is characterized by nontrivial uncertainty and information asymmetry. To meet this challenge, firms must formulate strategies to manage the relationship with their stakeholders and the environment. My research centers on analysis of these strategies and their performance implications.


The questions that intrigue me are located at the confluence of strategic entrepreneurship, innovation and internationalization. I explore these questions by using primarily real options theory, information economics and institutional theory and situating the empirical context largely in venture capital, crowdfunding, entrepreneurial innovation and international expansion. Accordingly, I have the following three interrelated research themes:


1.      How do firms make strategic entry and exit decisions in financing entrepreneurship?

2.     When does financing entrepreneurship promote innovation and vice versa?

3.     How do cross-border differences influence entrepreneurship and innovation?


From a practical perspective, I am particularly interested in the mechanisms to aid decision making under information asymmetry and uncertainty, such as strategic flexibility (as reflected in staging, portfolio investment, entry mode choice et al.) and signaling.




1.      Liu, Z., Z. Xu, Z. Zhou, & Y. Li. Accepted. Buddhist entrepreneurs and new venture performance: The mediating role of entrepreneurial risk-taking. Small Business Economics. [Download]

2.     Li, Y., & E. Yao. 2017. All ties are not created equal: Institutional equity ties, IPO performance, and market growth of new ventures. In D. Cumming & S. Johan (ed.). Oxford Handbook of IPO. [Download]

3.     Courtney, C., S. Dutta & Y. Li, 2016. Resolving information asymmetry: Signaling and crowdfunding success. Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice. [Download]

4.     Li, Y., S. Zahra & L. Sai. 2015. Heterogeneity in New Venture Formation Rates across Nations: The Schumpeterian and Institutional Economics Views. The World Scientific Reference on Entrepreneurship. Lead article. [Download]

5.     Li, Y. & J. Li. 2015. Amazon Goes Global (case no. 9B14M122), with a Teaching Note (case no. 8B14M122). Ivey Publishing. Teaching case.

o   Best seller in March 2017


6.     Li, Y., I. Vertinsky, & J. Li. 2014. National distances, international experience, and venture capital investment performance. Journal of Business Venturing. [Download]

7.     Zahra, S., Newey, L. R. & Li, Y. 2014. On the Frontiers: The Implications of Social Entrepreneurship for International Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. [Download]

8.     Li, Y. & T. Chi. 2013. "Venture capitalists decision to withdraw: The role of portfolio configuration from a real options lens". Strategic Management Journal. [Download][SSRN]

9.     Li, J., Y. Li, & Daniel Shapiro. 2012. Knowledge seeking and outward FDI of emerging market firms: The moderating effect of inward FDI. Global Strategy Journal. 2(4): 277-295. Lead article [Download]

10.  Li, Y. & S. Zahra. 2012. "Formal Institutions, Culture, and Venture Capital Activity: A Cross-Country Analysis". Journal of Business Venturing. 27(1): 95-111. [Download]

11.   Li, J., Y. Li & A. Rugman. 2012. Real options theory and international investment strategy. In A. Verbeke & H. Merchant (eds.). Edward Elgar Handbook of Research on International Strategic Management. [Download]

12.  Li, Y. 2012. Venture capital staging: Domestic VC- versus foreign VC-led investments. In D. Cumming (ed.). Oxford Handbook of Venture Capital. Oxford University Press: 354-372. [Download]

13.  Tong, T. & Y. Li. 2011. Real Options and Investment Mode Decision: Evidence from Corporate Venture Capital and Acquisition. Organization Science. 22(3): 659-674. [Download]

14.  Li, Y. & J. Mahoney. 2011. When Are Venture Capital Projects Initiated? Journal of Business Venturing. 26(2): 239-254. [Download]

15.  Li, J. & Y. Li. 2010. Flexibility versus Commitment: MNEs Ownership Strategy in China. Journal of International Business Studies. 41(9): 1550-1571. [Download]

16.  Iriyama, A., Y. Li, & R. Madhavan. 2010. Spiky Globalization of Venture Capital Investments: The Influence of Prior Human Networks. Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. 4(2): 106-127. [Download

17.  Li, Y. 2008. Duration Analysis of Venture Capital Staged Financing: A Real Options Perspective. Journal of Business Venturing. 23: 497-512. Lead article [Download]

18.  Li, Y. & R. Aguilera. 2008. Director Turnover in Acquired Firms: A Multi-Theoretical Approach. Corporate Governance: An International Review. 16(6): 492-503. [Download]

19.  Li, Y., B. James, R. Madhavan, & J. Mahoney. 2007. Real Options: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead. Advances in Strategic Management, 24: 31-66. Lead article [Download]




Courtney, C., S. Dutta & Y. Li. 2016. Resolving Information Asymmetries: Influence of Media and Crowd Sentiment on Crowdfunding Success. Academy of Management Conference Proceedings.

Li, Y., J. Li, & I. Vertinsky. 2010. National Institutional Differences and Performance of International Venture Capital Syndicates. Academy of Management Conference Proceedings.

Iriyama, A., Y. Li, & R. Madhavan. 2009. Spiky Globalization of Venture Capital Investments. Academy of Management Conference Proceedings.




Deans Fellowship in Research, University at Buffalo, 2010

Finalist, Carolyn Dexter Award, Academy of Management, 2010

Finalist, 3rd Israel Strategy Conference Best Paper Award, 2010

Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, 2009, 2010

Nominated for SMS Best Paper, Strategic Management Society, 2007, 2009




Associate Editor, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal

Editorial boards, Academy of Management Review

Journal of Business Venturing

Journal of International Business Studies


Ad Hoc Reviewer

Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice

Journal of Management Studies

Journal of Retailing

Organization Science

Research Policy

Strategic Management Journal

Conference Manuscript Reviews

Academy of International Business Conference

Academy of Management Conference

Strategic Management Society Conference

Grant Reviews

External Examiner, Hong Kong SAR Research Grants Council, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Grant Reviewer, Research Council of Canada for Social Sciences and Humanities, 2015




Summer research grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $14,250, April 2017

Summer research grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $9200, April 2016

Summer research grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $9200, April 2015

Summer research grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $9000, April 2014

Small grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $1800, November 2014

Summer research grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $9000, April 2013

Small grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $680, March 2013

Summer research grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $7500, March 2012

Small grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $470, March 2012

Summer research grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $9000, March 2011

Small grants, SUNY at Buffalo, $900, January 2010

Scholars in Creativity, Innovation and Research Fund, University of Illinois (with Joe Mahoney), $10,000, 2008-2009

UUP small grant, $480, June 2009

Summer research grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $8000, March 2009

Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, SUNY at Buffalo, $913, June 2008

Summer research grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $4500, March 2008

Small grants, SUNY at Buffalo, $1900, January 2008

Summer research grant, SUNY at Buffalo, $7500, March 2007

Small grants, SUNY at Buffalo, $1600, January 2007

Kauffman Foundation Fellowship, PhD Seminar in Entrepreneurship, Case Western Reserve University, $1200, August 7-11, 2006

Graduate Scholars Fund, Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, $5000, 2005

Illinois CIBER PhD Dissertation Research Grants, $2600, 2004-05; 2005-06

Kauffman Foundation Scholarship, AOM Entrepreneurship Doctoral Consortium, $750, 2005

University of Illinois Travel Grants, $400, 2005

Illinois CIBER Professional Development Award, $500, 2005