Honors & Awards

  • Stanford Graduate Fellowship on Global Development, Stanford King Center on Global Development (2020-2021)
  • Stanford Graduate Fellowship, Stanford University (2015 - 2020)
  • Outstanding Graduate of Peking University, Peking University (2015)
  • Peking University Leadership Scholarship, Peking University (2014 - 2015)
  • National Scholarship, Ministry of Education of China (2012 - 2013, 2013 - 2014)
  • China Economic Research Scholarship, Peking University National School of Development (2014 - 2015)

Professional Affiliations and Activities

  • Ad-hoc Reviewer, the Academy of Management (AoM) Annual Conference
  • Ad-hoc Reviewer, The Strategic Management Society (SMS) Annual Conference
  • Coordinator, SIEPR Social Science and Technology Seminars
  • Coordinator, The West Coast Research Symposium
  • Organizer, Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) Research Day
  • Ad-hoc Reviewer, International Association for Chinese Management Research (IACMR) Annual Conference

Education & Certifications

  • B.S., Peking University, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Environmental Science (2015)
  • B.S., Peking University, National School of Development, Economics (2015)

Personal Interests

An amateur ping-pong player. A big fan of Chinese essays and poems.

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Prior literature emphasizes that aligning with regulatory, normative, and cognitive institutional arrangements aids organizational formation, resource gathering, and performance. However, during institutional changes, the old and the new rules often coexist and interact, resulting in conflicting institutional arrangements. These conflicts create strategic dilemmas for entrepreneurs, but we don’t have a systematic understanding of entrepreneurial strategies to tackle the conflicts. To address this question, my dissertation consists of three papers that examine entrepreneurial strategies in three types of institutional changes – marketization, digitization, and tokenization. My first paper analyzes changes in entrepreneurial growth strategies during China’s institutional change from a government-dominated to a more market-based economy. Building on this dataset, I further analyze how migration and regional differences impact entrepreneurial growth. My second paper draws on institutional intermediary and network tie formation literature to examine entrepreneurial fundraising strategies on online platforms rather than offline. Building on this dataset, I further examine how investors screen business plans on digital platforms. My third paper draws on optimal distinctiveness theory and explores entrepreneurial framing strategies to balance differentiation and legitimation. Building on this novel dataset of blockchain startups, I further investigate the sequence of combining new and old funding sources and examine community-based versus company-based forms of organization. Empirically, I use machine learning models to create measures from big data and econometric models to identify causal relationships. Overall, my dissertation contributes to institutional theory by examining entrepreneurial agency in tackling institutional pressure and contributes to strategy literature by analyzing the institutional effects on entrepreneurial strategies.

All Publications

  • Entrepreneurship in Dynamic Environments: A Comparison Between the U.S. and China Quarterly Journal of Management Wu, Y., Eesley, C. E., Eisenhardt, K. M. 2020; 5 (2)
  • Education, Human Capital and the Impact of the Institutional Environment for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Drivers of Innovation: Entrepreneurship, Education, and Finance in Asia Eesley, C., Zhou, L., Wu, Y. Stanford University Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center Series with Brookings Institution Press. 2021
  • Regional Migration, Entrepreneurship and University Alumni: Evidence from an Emerging Economy Wu, Y., Eesley, C. E. Regional Studies, First Round R&R. 2020


    How does migration from rural to urban areas impact entrepreneurial performance? We argue that entrepreneurs who migrated from rural to urban areas tend to found larger firms than entrepreneurs who remained in urban areas, because migrants tend to be less risk-averse, and the rural-to-urban location change further reduces risk-aversion. Also, rural-to-urban migrants are more likely to found larger firms than entrepreneurs who migrated to rural areas or remained in rural areas, because the urban areas provide better entrepreneurial opportunities and resources to create larger firms. To empirically test our hypotheses, we conducted an alumni survey and analyzed 283 entrepreneurs who were admitted from various locations in China to Tsinghua University in Beijing, and then went to rural areas or urban areas upon graduation. We find that entrepreneurs who migrated from rural to urban areas are more likely to found firms in the top quantile of firm size. This study provides implications for designing regional policies that facilitate labor mobility from rural to urban areas.

  • Community Versus Company: A Comparative Case Study of Blockchain Infrastructure Startups Wu, Y. Working Paper. 2020
  • From Cold Pitches to Warm Handshakes: Venture Capital Investors’ Deal Screening Behaviors on Online Platforms Wu, Y. Working Paper. 2020
  • The Impact of Hiring Contract Design on Freelancer Work Li, Z., Wu, Y. Working Paper. 2020
  • When Old Meets New: Do Initial Coin Offerings and Venture Capitals Create Synergistic or Antagonistic Effects on Entrepreneurial Performance? Wu, Y. Working Paper. 2020