Faculty & Research

Elena Belavina

Assistant Professor of Operations Management

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5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Elena Belavina studies supply chain management, global sourcing, intermediaries, retailing, applied microeconomic theory and game theory. Her recent article titled, “The Relational Advantages of Intermediation” was co-authored with Karan Girotra and appeared in Management Science.

Belavina holds a Ph.D. in management from INSEAD. She earned both a M.Sc. and a B.Sc. in applied mathematics and physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, as well as a Diploma of Business Communication Translator from the same institution.

Outside of academia Belavina is a consultant for a major Russian fashion retailer.


2015 - 2016 Course Schedule

Number Name Quarter
40000 Operations Management: Business Process Fundamentals 2016 (Spring)

Research Activities

Supply chain management, global sourcing, intermediaries, retailing, applied microeconomic theory, game theory and econometrics

REVISION: Supply Networks for Relational Sourcing
Date Posted: Apr  23, 2015
Making long-term commitments to exclusive suppliers, or relational sourcing, is critical in industries where quality includes social, ethical, and technical elements concerning which contractual terms would be difficult to write and enforce. This study identifies supplier network topologies that best facilitate such relational sourcing. We consider a brand-owning firm that sources in an ongoing fashion from a general multi-tier network of idiosyncratic suppliers. Alternate network designs are compared in terms of three defining structural properties: network scope, the number of suppliers at each tier in the network; degree of control/delegation, the number of tiers in the network; and network connectivity, the connections between firms located at different tiers. Our analysis reveals that neither network connectivity nor the distribution of costs among suppliers affects the ability of relational sourcing to ensure compliance. Networks characterized by more delegation or less scope ...

REVISION: Bike-Share Systems: Accessibility and Availability
Date Posted: Jan  31, 2015
The cities of Paris, London, Chicago, and New York (among others) have recently launched large-scale bike-share systems to facilitate the use of bicycles for urban commuting. This paper estimates the relationship between aspects of bike-share system design and ridership. Specifically, we estimate the effects on ridership of station accessibility (how far the commuter must walk to reach a station) and of bike-availability (the likelihood of finding a bike at the station). Our analysis is based on a structural demand model that considers the random-utility maximizing choices of spatially distributed commuters, and it is estimated using high-frequency system-use data from the bike-share system in Paris. The role of station accessibility is identified using cross-sectional variation in station location and high -frequency changes in commuter choice sets; bike-availability effects are identified using longitudinal variation. Because the scale of our data, (in particular the high-frequency ...

REVISION: Online Fresh Grocery Retail: A La Carte or Buffet?
Date Posted: Jan  28, 2015
This paper identifies the best revenue models for firms aspiring to capture the untapped trillion-dollar opportunity in online retail of fresh groceries. We compare the financial and environmental performance of two revenue models: the per-order model, where customers pay for each delivery; and subscription, where customers pay a subscription fee and receive free deliveries. We build a stylized model that incorporates customers with ongoing uncertain grocery needs who choose between shopping offline or online and an online retailer that makes deliveries through a proprietary distribution network. In contrast with practitioners’ widely-held views, we find that subscription incentivizes a customer order pattern that reduces total grocery sales on account of lower food waste. Subscription also has higher delivery costs, but these disadvantages are countered by delivery scale economies, lower grocery acquisition costs and potentially higher adoption of the online channel. From an ...

New: The Benefits of Decentralized Decision-Making in Supply Chains
Date Posted: Sep  04, 2012
The inefficiency of decentralized decision-making is one of the most influential findings of the supply chain coordination literature. This paper shows that with the possibility of continuing trade, decentralization can be beneficial in improving supply chain performance. In a supply chain with decentralized decision-making and continuing trade, it is easier to incentivize players to coordinate on efficient actions. There are more gains to be shared from coordination, and by virtue of each playe

REVISION: The Relational Advantages of Intermediation
Date Posted: Feb  15, 2012
This paper provides a novel explanation for the use of supply chain intermediaries such as Li & Fung Ltd.. We find that even in the absence of the well-known transactional and informational advantages of mediation, intermediaries improve supply chain performance. In particular, intermediaries facilitate responsive adaptation of the buyers’ supplier base to their changing needs while simultaneously ensuring that suppliers behave as if they had long-term sourcing commitments from buying firms. In

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