Purdue University Northwest (PNW) faculty member, Maureen Mascha, associate professor of Accounting, has received a Fulbright Award to conduct research related to sustainability reporting and textual data analytics at the University of Vaasa in Finland.
“It’s an honor to have been selected,” says Mascha. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue my research and develop lasting connections with the faculty and students at the University of Vaasa. This truly ranks as one of the highlights of my professional career.”
Mascha, who will be in Finland from August 2022 through June 2023, will be furthering her research into sustainability reporting and textual data analytics as it relates to the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). The SFDR, a hallmark of the European Union’s (EU) sustainable finance agenda, seeks to increase the transparency of sustainability claims and decrease the use of greenwashing by financial firms.
The comparative study will take a closer look at published reports from EU firms that are required to follow the SFDR and firms in the U.S. that lack this type of regulation. “I have always been interested in sustainability,” says Mascha. “I have done research in this area as it applies to the accuracy, or lack thereof, in sustainability reports. I’m looking forward to exploring whether or not graphs and/or an audit report interact with the SFDR in deterring greenwashing’s effect on novice investors by looking at intention to invest, attitude towards the firm, risk appetite and risk attitude on the part of the participant to the firm, in both the U.S. and EU.”
Mascha’s research objectives are threefold. “I’m hoping to develop an appreciation for the sustainability reporting process and regulations in Europe which are very different from the U.S.,” she explains. “I’d like to show if it’s possible for the regulation imposed by the EU to positively affect U.S. sustainability reports. Also, in terms of reporting, if there’s any additional benefit from data visualization manipulation and/or audit report manipulation.”
While her award is largely research-based, Mascha will spend a small portion of her time at the Finnish university working with doctoral students in the finance field. She is also hoping to cultivate contacts within the European community that will help her develop future research.
Mascha looks forward to sharing her experience in Finland with PNW students upon her return.
"I am excited to be able to bring back a different perspective. It’s crucial for Purdue Northwest students to understand the global economy and I look forward to integrating my experience, research and first-hand knowledge into my classes." - Maureen Mascha
Mascha’s current areas of interest and research center on judgement and decision-making under uncertainty, including internal control review, the ability to detect fraudulent activities and the potential for fraudulent activities, as well as behavioral research into investor/auditor reactions and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
The Fulbright Scholar Program is the flagship international education exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and designed to foster international understanding and cooperation between the U.S. and other countries. Established in 1946 by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program gives faculty, scholars and professionals the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research in each other’s countries. It is one of the most prestigious and well known international exchanges programs in the world.