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Are the Most Talented Employees the Highest Paid? Yes—If They’re Bankers

A recent study by Claire Célérier and Boris Vallée finds that the French finance industry compensates employees largely according to how talented they are. Other high-paying industries? Not so much. Open for comment; 15 Comments posted.

Don’t Take ‘No’ for an Answer: An Experiment with Actual Organ Donor Registrations

More than 10,000 people in the United States die each year while waiting for an organ transplant. Policymakers and some economists who have tried to increase the rates of organ transplantation have focused on changing the registration question—usually asked when people renew their driver's license—from a simple opt-in to one in which potential donors have the opportunity to make an active "yes" or "no " choice. The authors provide the first concrete evidence of whether active choice affects registration decisions about organ donation. Somewhat surprisingly, the results suggest that not only does active choice not increase registration, it may decrease the transplantation rate by suggesting to next-of-kin that unregistered donors actively chose not to donate. At the same time, however, experimental results suggest other ways to increase the rates of organ donor registration. For example, people are 22 times more likely to add themselves to the registry than remove themselves from the registry, even though they had been asked previously about organ donor registration. This suggests the effectiveness of making a repeated appeal for organ donor registration. In addition, giving people more information about organ donation increases registration rates. Read More

Who Should Choose Your Boss?

The employee-led battle to reinstate the fired CEO of Market Basket has riveted the business world. But Jim Heskett asks, who really should hire the CEO? The board? Company leaders? Rank and file employees? What do YOU think? Open for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Food Stamp Entrepreneurs: How Public Assistance Enables Business Bootstrapping

Gareth Olds finds a definitive link between an increase in access to government assistance programs and an increase in new company formation. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Patent Trolls

Clearly defined property rights are essential for well-functioning markets. In the case of intellectual property (IP), however, property rights are complex to define; unlike ownership of physical assets, the space of ideas is difficult to clearly delineate. A solution employed by the United States and many other countries is the patent-a property right allowing an idea's owner sole commercialization rights for a period of time. A new organizational form, the non-practicing entity (NPE), has recently emerged as a major driver of IP litigation. NPEs amass patents not for the sake of producing commercial products, but in order to prosecute infringement on their patent portfolios. In this paper the authors provide the first large-sample evidence on the litigation behavior of NPEs. They show precisely which corporations NPEs target, when NPEs litigate, and how NPE litigation impacts the innovative activity of targeted firms. NPEs behave, on average, as patent trolls. This means that NPEs target firms that are flush with cash or that have just had positive cash shocks. NPEs even target conglomerate firms that earn their cash from segments having nothing to do with their allegedly infringing patents. The stakes of how to organize intellectual property disputes are massive. If the United States becomes a less desirable place to innovate because NPEs are left unchecked, innovation and human capital, and the returns to that innovation and human capital, will likely flee overseas. But innovators will also leave if they feel they are not are protected from large, well-funded interests that might infringe on innovative capital without recourse. Read More

Government Can Do More to Unfreeze Small Business Credit

In part three of her series on the state of small-business lending, Karen Mills discusses how public-private partnerships and government guarantee programs have the potential to enhance economic growth. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Learning From Japan’s Remarkable Disaster Recovery

Harvard Business School students make an annual trek to businesses in the Japanese area wrecked by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Their objectives: learn all they can about human resilience and share their own management knowledge. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Starbucks Reinvented

Nancy Koehn's new case on the rebirth of Starbucks under Howard Schultz "distills 20 years of my thinking about the most important lessons of strategy, leadership, and managing in turbulence." Open for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Dragging Patent Trolls Into the Light

New research by Lauren Cohen and colleagues shows that patent trolls are not just the stuff of fairy tales. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Have a Better Idea To Improve Health Care?

Harvard launches an open competition to promote already proven innovations that could increase the quality and lower the cost of health care. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

The State of Small Business Lending: Credit Access During the Recovery and How Technology May Change the Game

Small businesses are core to US economic competitiveness. Not only do they employ half of the nation's private sector workforce--about 120 million people--but also since 1995 they have created approximately two‐thirds of the net new jobs in the country. Yet in recent years, small businesses have been slow to recover from the recession and credit crisis that hit them especially hard. This lag has prompted the question, "Is there a credit gap in small business lending?" In this paper the authors compile and analyze the current state of access to bank capital for small business from the best available sources. The authors explore both the cyclical impact of the recession on small business and access to credit, and several structural issues that impede the full recovery of bank credit markets for smaller loans. They argue that the online banking market is likely to continue to grow, disrupting traditional ways of lending to small businesses. This will create both opportunities and risks for policymakers and regulators. Read More

Climbing Down from the Ivory Tower

Nava Ashraf explains why it makes sense for field researchers to co-produce knowledge with the people they study and serve. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Why Small-Business Lending Is Not Recovering

Lending to small businesses has not returned to levels seen before the financial crisis. Karen Mills, former head of the US Small Business Administration, explains the reasons and why the situation is not likely to improve anytime soon. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Learning from the Kursk Submarine Rescue Failure: The Case for Pluralistic Risk Management

During a military exercise in August 2000, a state-of-the-art Russian nuclear submarine, the Kursk, sank in the Barents Sea, triggering global media attention and an international rescue effort. In addition to Russia's Northern Fleet, two other organizations got involved in the rescue operation: the UK Submarine Rescue Service and a Norwegian offshore-diving company. Between them, these three parties seemingly had all that was needed to rescue the trapped sailors, yet the entire crew was lost. How did this happen? In this paper, focusing on the multiparty "virtual organization" formed by Russian, British, and Norwegian forces during the Kursk rescue mission, the authors explore the organizational, cultural, and structural origins of coordination failure. Then, reflecting on the limited ability of traditional, diagnostic risk management controls to address the demands of situations such as this, they call for the inclusion of pluralistic control principles into the risk-management practices of complex, multiparty organizations. Read More

Reform Tax Law to Keep US Firms at Home

The flood of US corporations relocating to other countries is a hot topic in Congress. In recent testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance, Mihir Desai provided possible solutions around rethinking corporate tax and regulatory policy. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Is a Gap in Small-Business Credit Holding Back the American Economy?

Karen Mills, former head of the US Small Business Administration, analyzes the current state of availability of bank capital for small business. Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

Marketing Obamacare

HBS Professor John Quelch contends that the success of the Affordable Care Act depends more on marketing than it does on policy. And in Connecticut, he's got just the state to prove it. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

How Business Leaders Can Strengthen American Schools

The declining competitiveness of the United States in world markets is due in part to the country's stagnant education system. Yet partnerships between business and educators have been marked by distrust. Jan Rivkin highlights proposals for a new collaboration. Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

Banning Big-box Stores Can Hurt Local Retailers

Research by Raffaella Sadun shows how regulations meant to protect independent retailers from big-box stores may actually backfire. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

The Role of Emotions in Effective Negotiations

HBS Senior Lecturer Andy Wasynczuk, a former negotiator for the New England Patriots, explores the sometimes intense role that emotions can play in negotiations. Open for comment; 19 Comments posted.

FIELD Trip: Conquering the Gap Between Knowing and Doing

Forget what you remember about school field trips. Harvard Business School is in its fourth year of a bold innovation that ships all first-year students on global excursions. FIELD leaders Alan MacCormack and Tony Mayo describe lessons learned so far. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Wisdom or Madness? Comparing Crowds with Expert Evaluation in Funding the Arts

In fields as diverse as technology entrepreneurship and the arts, crowds of interested stakeholders are increasingly responsible for deciding which innovations to fund, a privilege that was previously reserved for a few experts, such as venture capitalists and grant-making bodies. Despite the growing role of crowds in making decisions once left to experts, however, we know little about how crowds and experts may differ in their ability to judge projects, or even whether crowd decision-making is based on any rational criteria at all. Drawing on a panel of national experts and data from the crowd funding platform Kickstarter, this study offers the first detailed comparison of crowd and expert judgment. There are three main findings. First, on average, there is a remarkable degree of congruence between the realized funding decisions by crowds and the evaluation of those same projects by experts. Second, there seems to be an "art" to raising money from crowds, one that may be systematically different from that of raising money from experts. Third, crowd funded projects are equally likely to have delivered on budget, result in organizations that continue to operate, and be successful in other ways. Overall, crowd funding appears to allow projects the option to receive multiple evaluations and reach out to receptive communities that may not otherwise be represented by experts. Read More

The Unfulfilled Promise of Educational Technology

With 50 million public school students in America, technology holds much potential to transform schools, says John Jong-Hyun Kim. So why isn't it happening? Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

World Cup Soccer: 770 Billion Minutes of Attention

FIFA stands to generate $23 billion in revenue from World Cup soccer over the next few weeks. Clearly the organization understands "Attention Economics," says marketing expert Thales Teixeira. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

In the Future of Sports Investing, Media Is the Best Bet

Sports investing is no longer just about buying teams and selling beer. Bob Higgins discusses why media, digital devices, and invention of fan-friendly sports are driving next-generation investors. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Cohort Turnover and Productivity: The July Phenomenon in Teaching Hospitals

Nearly all managers must deal with the consequences of employee turnover within their organizations. Despite the importance of this issue, several authors have observed that academic attention has been disproportionately focused on the causes rather than consequences of turnover. To investigate consequences more closely, the authors of this paper focus on the effects of turnover in a particularly high-stakes setting: teaching hospitals. Specifically, the authors examine the effects on productivity of cohort turnover-the planned simultaneous exit of a large number of experienced employees-in this case, medical residents and fellows-and a similarly sized entry of new residents and fellows. Typically, at (or slightly before) the beginning of every July, the most senior residents at teaching hospitals move on to permanent medical positions or fellowships at other hospitals, and recent medical school graduates arrive as first-year residents. The authors examine the impact of the July turnover on hospital productivity using data on all patient admissions from a large, multi-state sample of American hospitals over a 16-year period. By comparing trends in teaching hospitals to those for non-teaching hospitals over the course of the year, they find significant negative effects of the residency turnover on hospital efficiency as measured by risk-adjusted, average length of stay. Overall, the cohort turnover of resident physicians in teaching hospitals reduces medical productivity by increasing resource utilization and, to a lesser degree, decreasing quality. The authors discuss implications for labor turnover in other types of organizations. Read More

Eliciting Taxpayer Preferences Increases Tax Compliance

Most citizens dislike paying taxes. In the United States, for example, tax noncompliance is estimated to amount to some $385 billion annually. Many other governments also suffer from a "tax gap" in their national accounts. A meaningful portion of tax aversion can be understood and addressed by considering psychological characteristics of the tax process. To explore this possibility the authors design and carry out a set of experiments that allow taxpayers to express advisory preferences regarding the use of their tax dollars. They then assess the effects of this taxpayer agency treatment on tax compliance as well as satisfaction with tax payment and attitudes towards taxation. Findings show that providing taxpayers with such "taxpayer agency"—giving them a sense of influence over tax spending—significantly increases tax compliance. The authors also observe that agency operates, in part, by bringing together payment and benefit. In addition, agency creates no decrease in tax satisfaction or change in fear of audit, and it may reduce general antitax sentiment among taxpayers. Overall, giving taxpayers a voice may act as a two-way nudge, changing tax payment from a passive experience to a channel of communication between taxpayers and government. Read More

Building Histories of Emerging Economies One Interview at a Time

Much of modern business history has been written on experiences in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Now, the unheard stories of emerging markets in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are being told on a new website by the Business History Initiative. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

The Alibaba Effect

Alibaba's $200 billion mega-IPO is history-making in a number of ways. Bill Kirby and Warren McFarlan discuss what the deal says about Chinese entrepreneurship and American markets. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

How Should Wealth Be Redistributed?

SUMMING UP James Heskett's readers weigh in on Thomas Piketty and how wealth disparity is burdening society. Closed for comment; 42 Comments posted.

Firms and the Economics of Skilled Immigration

Firms play a central role in the immigration of skilled workers to the United States. In this paper the authors review the progress that has been made so far on understanding the impacts of high skilled immigration from the perspective of the firm. They discuss why an understanding of the economics of the firm is important, and emphasize the important degree to which firms internalize substitutions and complementarities over different worker groups and occupations. They then review recent academic work about firms and skilled immigration, and describe important areas for future research from both microeconomic and macroeconomic perspectives, respectively. Overall, the authors make clear that firms play an essential and active role in the skilled immigration process. In fact, the structure of the most important skilled immigration program allows firms to first choose the worker that they want to hire before the immigration to the United States occurs. The same importance is true for universities and students, who often become the workers later hired by firms (e.g., Stephan and Levin 2001, Stephan 2010). Given this policy framework, it is particularly valuable to understand exactly how these institutions choose to be a part of the immigration process, the role of the immigrants in their sponsoring institutions, and how these initial conditions persist for future assimilation of the immigrant. Read More

Comparing the Cash Policies of Public and Private Firms

Industrial firms listed on stock markets in the United States held $1.5 trillion in cash at the end of 2011. Many commentators and policymakers observed that this so-called "dead money" might be one reason behind the sluggish performance of the United States and other developed economies since the Great Recession. But evidence on such cash-hoarding behavior is limited to listed (or 'public') firms, which account for a relatively small part of the US economy. Do private firms also hold large cash balances? Using a rich panel of over 200,000 non-SEC-filing private US firms, the author finds that the average public firm holds twice as much cash as the average large private firm over the 2002-2011 period. Results are most consistent with the hypothesis that differences in the extent to which public and private firms engage in market timing are a key driver of public firms' higher demand for cash, as the risk of misvaluation induces public firms to raise capital and accumulate precautionary cash reserves when they perceive their equity to be overvalued. Consistent with this hypothesis, the author finds that the cash difference between public and private firms is larger in industries with a higher prevalence of misvaluation shocks. In addition, public firms in these industries tend to save a larger fraction of their equity issuance proceeds than private firms, particularly in times when they have reasons to believe that their equity is overvalued. Read More

Football Stars Debate ‘The Social Capital of the Savvy Athlete’

NFL players Richard Sherman, Arian Foster, Larry Fitzgerald, and Domonique Foxworth discussed Twitter pros and cons on marketing and race relations at Harvard Business School. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

To Pay or Not to Pay: Argentina and the International Debt Market

Argentina's escalating financial crisis seems rocketing toward disaster. The fix? Finance Professor Laura Alfaro, who served as Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy in Costa Rica, recommends a radical solution sure to anger banks and fund managers: absolute sovereign immunity, Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Bio-Piracy: When Western Firms Usurp Eastern Medicine

Raj Choudhury and Tarun Khanna examine the history of herbal patent applications, challenging a stereotype that characterizes Western firms as innovators and emerging markets as imitators. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Poverty and Crime: Evidence from Rainfall and Trade Shocks in India

Concern about climate change has spurred a large body of scholarship examining how climate influences human behavior, particularly human conflict. While a link between climate and human conflict is well established, we still do not fully understand the mechanisms that underlie the observed relationship between rainfall and crime. In this paper the authors shed light on these mechanisms using four decades of district-level data from India. They first establish a robust effect of rainfall on different types of crime, with the strongest effects on violent crimes (including murder) and property crimes. They then go beyond previous studies, which simply document the link between weather variations and human conflict, and examine to what extent poverty is the main causal pathway between rainfall and crime. To do so they identify a source of income shocks for households in rural India that is completely independent of the amount of rainfall: trade reform that began in 1991. Findings show that violent crimes and property crimes, the types of criminal activities that are most sensitive to rainfall shocks, indeed respond to trade shocks. The larger the loss in trade protection a district experienced, the higher is the incidence of these crimes. Overall, the results provide evidence for income as a mechanism behind the observed rainfall-crime relationship, which had mostly been assumed in previous scholarship. Read More

Calderón: Economic Arguments Needed to Fight Climate Change

Former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón says the United States Congress and Chinese coal plants are the biggest obstacles to fixing climate change. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

A Playbook for Small-Business Job Creation

Karen Mills left her post as SBA Administrator for a joint fellowship at Harvard to tackle a question she's faced her whole career: How can the United States drive innovation and turn it into jobs? Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Opting Out of Good Governance

New disclosure rules of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) require that foreign firms listed on US exchanges articulate more clearly their compliance with exchange requirements. In this paper the authors study the extent to which cross-listed firms opt out of corporate governance rules, analyzing which firms opt out of US exchange requirements and the consequences of doing so. Opting out is quite common, with 80.2 percent of cross-listed firms opting out of at least one exchange corporate governance requirement. Firms that opt out appear to adopt weaker governance practices and have fewer independent directors. The decision to opt out appears to reflect the relative costs and benefits of this governance choice. The costs of complying are likely to be higher for insiders who might enjoy certain private benefits when following weak governance practices allowed in their home country. The benefits of complying are likely to be higher for firms that are attempting to raise capital and grow. Consistent with this tradeoff, the data show that firms based in countries with weak corporate governance are less likely to comply, and those that are based in such countries and are expanding and issuing equity are more likely to comply. Opting out of US exchange requirements also has consequences for how the market values cash holdings. For firms from countries with weak governance requirements, cash within the firm is worth significantly less if the firm opts out of more US exchange requirements. Overall, the paper provides insight about the costs and benefits of complying with stringent governance rules and also sheds light on the effect of governance requirements on valuation. Read More

When Do Alliances Make Sense?

Analyzing drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico, John Beshears explores a question as old as business itself: When does it pay to make an alliance? Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Encouraging Niche Content in an Ad-Driven World

Research by Feng Zhu and Monic Sun explores how advertising drives bloggers to shift their writing to subjects that will grab more eyeballs—namely, the stock market, celebrities, and salacious behavior. But surprise: Ads might also help generate more niche content. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

How Electronic Patient Records Can Slow Doctor Productivity

Electronic health records are sweeping through the medical field, but some doctors report a disturbing side effect. Instead of becoming more efficient, some practices are becoming less so. Robert Huckman's research explains why. Open for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Book Excerpt: ‘Can China Lead?’

Creativity and innovation can be nurtured in different educational and institutional settings, but does China have a good institutional framework for innovation? An excerpt from Can China Lead? Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

China’s Economic System has Difficult Road Overcoming its Political System

It's fashionable to be bullish on China. But the new book "Can China Lead?" urges a more cautious view on the prospects of the country, where government bureaucracy stifles innovation. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

The Surprising Link Between Language and Corporate Responsibility

Research by Christopher Marquis shows that a company's degree of social responsibility is affected by a surprising factor—the language it uses to communicate. Open for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Waste, Recycling and Entrepreneurship in Central and Northern Europe, 1870-1940

The efficient and appropriate collection and disposal of solid waste has been recognized as essential to the hygiene and health of urban societies since the nineteenth century. Over the course of the first half of the twentieth century, sanitary engineers and the broader public also came to understand that the inappropriate treatment of waste could cause major environmental degradation, while recycling could contribute significantly to environmental sustainability. A key question for this industry, therefore, has been whether such social value could be combined with the pursuit of profitable opportunities. In this paper the authors focus on the late nineteenth century through the 1940s, a crucial period for the emergence of firms concerned with waste disposal in industrialized central and northern Europe. The authors show that German, Danish, and other European entrepreneurs built substantial businesses which aimed to achieve "shared value" by making positive social and environmental contributions to their societies. Some of these entrepreneurs had strikingly modern views of environmental challenges and they prefigured many later twentieth-century recycling processes. At the same time, the profit motive encouraged technological innovation, a major ideal of capitalist enterprise, and left a legacy of scientific and engineering knowledge of waste materials and their processing and utilization which benefited later recyclers. Although post-1970 non-profit community recycling centers, municipal collection programs, and recycling divisions of waste management companies provide the terminology and the ideology behind modern recycling, they owe their technological and organizational foundations to an earlier generation of profit-seeking engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Read More

The Use of Broker Votes to Reward Brokerage Firms’ and Their Analysts’ Research Activities

Broker votes are one of the most pervasive yet least understood reporting practices on Wall Street. The votes are essentially ratings of the value of brokers' investment research services. These ratings are produced by institutional investors (the "buy side") and solicited by broker dealers (the "sell side"). Little research to date, however, has examined the determinants of broker votes, their consequences, and their economic function. In this paper the authors use data gathered from a mid-sized investment bank for the years 2004 to 2007 in order to study how broker votes are related to institutional investors' commission payments and analysts' client services and compensation. Results overall suggest that broker votes help to facilitate implicit contractual relationships between sell-side brokers, their affiliated analysts, and their buy-side clients. Broker votes are neither mere popularity contests nor a simple reflection of trading in analysts' covered stocks. Instead, they appear to be a key component of the investment research industry's contracting technology, acting as the nexus for a set of relationships between sell-side brokers, their affiliated analysts, and their buy-side clients. The findings thus deepen our understanding of how information is exchanged on Wall Street and help to explain why the practice of collecting and aggregating client votes—a costly internal reporting procedure—has stood the test of time and has been replicated across countless sell-side research departments. Read More

A Brand Manager’s Guide to Losing Control

Social media platforms have taken some of the marketing power away from companies and given it to consumers. Jill Avery discusses the landscape of "open source branding," wherein consumers not only discuss and disseminate branded content, they also create it. Closed for comment; 9 Comments posted.

Can We Get To Where We Need To Go?

America's infrastructure woes and how to fix them were front and center at the recent summit, America on the Move: Transportation and Infrastructure for the 21st Century, led by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Entrepreneurship and Multinationals Drive Globalization

Why is the firm overlooked as a contributor when we identify the drivers of globalization? Geoffrey Jones discusses his new book, Entrepreneurship and Multinationals: Global Business and the Making of the Modern World. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Book Excerpt: ’Entrepreneurship and Multinationals’

An excerpt from Entrepreneurship and Multinationals: Global Business and the Making of the Modern World, by Geoffrey Jones. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Return Migration and Geography of Innovation in MNEs: A Natural Experiment of On-the-Job Learning of Knowledge Production by Local Workers Reporting to Return Migrants

Since the mid-1990s, a large number of multinational enterprises (MNEs) have set up research and development centers in China, India, and other emerging markets. Such MNEs face constraints in expanding their "geography of innovation" —that of producing and transferring knowledge across borders—because for the MNE knowledge is likely to be localized within larger, more established centers of knowledge production. How do MNEs in emerging markets circumvent this constraint? In this paper, the author uses personnel data from a Fortune 50 technology firm and studies the role of return migrants in facilitating patenting at the emerging market R&D center. The author also studies on-the-job learning of knowledge production by local employees who report to return migrants at an emerging-market R&D setting. The findings generate insights into the functioning of 'internal labor markets' of multinationals. The results are also important for managers: Given the great many Fortune 500 MNE R&D centers in countries such as China and India, and the large fraction of these centers managed by return migrants, the findings may assist those who set up and manage current and future MNE R&D centers. Read More

Counting Up the Effects of Sarbanes-Oxley

More than a decade after its inception, the effects of Sarbanes-Oxley seem, if anything, beneficial, say Harvard's Suraj Srinivasan and John C. Coates. Why then do so many critics remain? Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

When Will the Next Dot.com Bubble Burst?

Summing Up: Is that the sound of a dot.com bubble bursting? Could be, but is that a bad thing?, ask Jim Heskett's readers. Open for comment; 14 Comments posted.

Decommoditizing the Canned Tomato

Most commodity producers look to cut costs aggressively. So why is Mutti S.p.a, an Italian producer of tomato products, paying farmers more than competitors? Mary Shelman discusses her case study. Closed for comment; 6 Comments posted.

How Grocery Bags Manipulate Your Mind

People who bring personal shopping bags to the grocery store to help the environment are more likely to buy organic items—but also to treat themselves to ice cream and cookies, according to new research by Uma R. Karmarkar and Bryan Bollinger. What's the Quinoa-Häagen-Dazs connection? Closed for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Uncovering Racial Discrimination in the ‘Sharing Economy’

New research by Benjamin G. Edelman and Michael Luca shows how online marketplaces like Airbnb inadvertently fuel racial discrimination. Closed for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Busting Six Myths About Customer Loyalty Programs

Low-margin retailers argue they can't afford customer loyalty programs, but is that true? Rajiv Lal and Marcel Corstjens make the case that such programs are profit-enhancing differentiators. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Racist Umpires and Monetary Ministers

Are baseball umpires racist? Are ministers motivated by money? Christopher Parsons teases important economic lessons from unlikely sources. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Companies Detangle from Legacy Pensions

Although new defined benefit plans are rare, many firms must still fund commitments to retirees. Luis M. Viceira looks at the pension landscape and the recent emergence of insurance companies as potential saviors. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Management Practices, Relational Contracts, and the Decline of General Motors

What led to General Motors' decline? Long regarded as one of the best managed and most successful firms in the world, its share of the US market fell from 62.6 to 19.8 percent between 1980 and 2009, and in 2009 the firm went bankrupt. The authors argue that the conventional explanations for GM's decline are seriously incomplete. They discuss a number of causes for the firm's difficulties, and make the case that one of the reasons that GM began to struggle was because rival Toyota's practices were rooted in the widespread deployment of effective relational contracts--agreements based on subjective measures of performance that could neither be fully specified beforehand nor verified after the fact and that were thus enforced by the shadow of the future. GM's history, organizational structure, and managerial practices made it very difficult to maintain these kinds of agreements either within the firm or between the firm and its suppliers. The authors also argue that at least two aspects of GM's experience seem common to a wide range of firms. First, past success often led to extended periods of denial: Indeed a pattern of denial following extended success appears to be a worldwide phenomenon. Second, many large American manufacturers had difficulty adopting the bundle of practices pioneered by firms like Toyota. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of this history for efforts to revive American manufacturing. Read More

Stressing Safety in South Africa’s Platinum Mines

Gautam Mukunda discusses why and how he teaches a case study about Cynthia Carroll, the first woman and non-South African to serve as chief executive of mining giant Anglo American. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

The Art of American Advertising

Harvard Business School's Baker Library is hosting a historical exhibit that examines the advertising industry in a bygone era. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Can Putin Score Olympic Gold?

With billions of dollars on the line at this year's troubled Winter Olympics, Stephen Greyser breaks down what's at stake for the brands of NBC, key corporate sponsors, Russia—and Vladimir Putin. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

The Tricky Business of Managing Web Advertising Affiliates

Advertising through numerous website affiliates potentially helps marketers get more bang for their buck. But the far-flung systems can also lead to fraud, says Ben Edelman. What's the best way to manage your advertising network? Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

The Diseconomies of Queue Pooling: An Empirical Investigation of Emergency Department Length of Stay

Improving efficiency and customer experience are key objectives for managers of service organizations including hospitals. In this paper, the authors investigate queue management, a key operational decision, in the setting of a hospital emergency department. Specifically, they explore the impact on throughput time depending on whether an emergency department uses a pooled queuing system (in which a physician is assigned to a patient once the patient is placed in an emergency department bed) or a dedicated queuing system (in which physicians are assigned to specific patients at the point of triage). The authors measured throughput time based on individual patients' length of stay in the emergency department, starting with arrival to the emergency department and ending with a bed request for admission to the hospital or the discharge of a patient to home or to an outside facility. The findings show that, on average, the use of a dedicated queuing system decreased patients' lengths of stay by 10 percent. This represented a 32-minute reduction in length of stay—a meaningful time-savings for the emergency department and patients alike. The authors argue that physicians in the dedicated queuing system had both the incentive and ability to make sure their patients' care progressed efficiently, so that patients in the waiting room could be treated sooner than they otherwise would have. Read More

Super Bowl Ads for Multitaskers

With more than half the Super Bowl audience using smartphones or laptops at the same time they watch the big game on TV, Thales S. Teixeira says advertisers have to step up their game. Closed for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Digital Discrimination: The Case of Airbnb.com

To build trust and facilitate transactions, online marketplaces present information not only about products, but also about the people offering the products. Many platforms now allow sellers to present personal profiles, post pictures of themselves, and even link to their Facebook accounts. While these features serve the laudable goals of building trust and accountability, they can also bring unintended consequences: Personal profiles may facilitate discrimination. Benjamin G. Edelman and Michael Luca investigate the extent of racial discrimination against hosts on the popular online rental marketplace Airbnb.com. They construct a data set combining pictures of all New York City landlords on Airbnb with their rental prices and information about characteristics and quality of their properties. The authors use this data to measure differences in outcomes according to host race. Nonblack hosts are able to charge approximately 12 percent more than black hosts, holding location, rental characteristics, and quality constant. Moreover, black hosts receive a larger price penalty for having a poor location relative to nonblack hosts. These differences highlight the risk of discrimination in online marketplaces, suggesting an important unintended consequence of a seemingly-routine mechanism for building trust. Read More

Family CEOs Spend Less Time at Work

CEOs who are related to the owners of family-owned firms work significantly fewer hours than nonfamily CEOs, according to a new study by Raffaella Sadun and colleagues. This is in light of the fact that longer working hours are associated with higher productivity, growth, and profitability. Open for comment; 16 Comments posted.

Separating Homophily and Peer Influence with Latent Space

People are often more willing to try new things when they see others doing so. This phenomenon, which academics call "social influence", has a profound impact on many aspects of customer decision-making and marketing. For example, social influence affects consumers' willingness to take up new technologies, adopt and use social networks, and ask their physicians for particular prescription medicines. Marketers are thus eager to understand how and to what extent social influence affects people's consumption decisions. To date, however, it has been difficult to pinpoint the effects of social influence, as researchers have struggled to separate it from a simple fact that like-minded people tend to enjoy the same things, per the adage "Birds of a feather flock together." The authors use the field of mobile app adoption in Japan to examine this problem. Japan is an ideal testing ground because approximately 80-85 percent of all page views occur through mobile. In addition, mobile apps are often social in nature, especially those that are linked to a social network platform. The authors devise a new method to assess social influence by controlling for other factors that usually complicate the picture. Overall, the findings show that peer usage accounts for more than a quarter of all mobile app adoptions. The paper also highlights a risk that firms could overestimate social influence by 40 percent on average, even up to 100 percent in certain cases. The authors' method helps overcome this risk. Read More

High-Tech Immigrant Workers Don’t Cost US Jobs

Hiring skilled immigrants by United States high-tech firms not only doesn't push out existing workers, it creates job opportunities for all, argues William Kerr. Open for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Language Wars Divide Global Companies

An increasing number of global firms adopt a primary language for business operations—usually English. The problem: The practice can surface dormant hostilities around culture and geography, reports Tsedal Neeley. Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Resolving Patent Disputes that Impede Innovation

Technical standards both spur innovation and protect the innovators, but abuses in the intellectual property protection system threaten US competitiveness. Josh Lerner and Jean Tirole discuss remedies. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Redrawing the Lines: Did Political Incumbents Influence Electoral Redistricting in the World’s Largest Democracy?

Most democratic countries undergo a process of redrawing their electoral boundaries every few years, usually with the goal of equalizing population sizes across constituencies. While this is important in maintaining the principle of one-person, one-vote, there is concern that the redistricting process can be influenced by political incumbents to create safe seats, where incumbents are unlikely to face strong electoral challenges ("gerrymandering"). In this paper the authors study this issue in the context of India, the world's largest democracy. India redrew the boundaries of national and state electoral constituencies in 2008 after a gap of three decades. Examining the influence of political incumbents on this redistricting process, the authors find that, by and large, the process achieved its primary goal of equalizing population sizes across constituencies. More importantly, the redistricting process does not appear to have been influenced by incumbent politicians to a great extent, although there is some evidence that the constituencies of specific politicians (advisory committee members) were less likely to undergo unfavorable changes. Overall, the redistricting process did not make a large difference to either the advantage enjoyed by the incumbent party or the electoral prospects of incumbent politicians. An important policy conclusion of the study is that it is possible to implement politically neutral redistricting plans in a developing country, provided that a non-political body is in charge of the process, and that the process is transparent and inclusive of all relevant stakeholders. Read More

How Government Can Restore the Faith of Citizens

Would we like government more if we could see what it was doing to help citizens? Research by Michael Norton and Ryan Buell. Open for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Excerpt: ’Fortune Tellers’

An excerpt from Walter A. Friedman's book, Fortune Tellers: The Story of America's Economic Forecasters. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Economic Transition and Private-Sector Labor Demand: Evidence from Urban China

One of the key economic and historic events of the late twentieth century was the transition of centrally planned socialist economies to market economies, including the movement of labor from state employment to private employment. The authors examine two questions: 1) What are effective policies for gradually transitioning labor into the private sector? 2) What is the adaptability of labor demand in the new private sector during economic transition? Data from urban China and show that delinking housing benefits from state-sector employment accounts for more than a quarter of the overall increase in labor supply to the private sector during 1986-2005. Furthermore, increasing the private-sector labor supply by 10 percent reduces wages by 1.8 to 3.2 percent. These results have several implications: First, employer-provided housing benefits contribute to reduced labor mobility across sectors, a phenomenon called "job-lock" (similar patterns have been documented for employer-provided health benefits in the United States). Second and more importantly, the private sector, even in its infancy, can absorb a significant amount of labor without large wage declines. However, the projected magnitudes of labor movement into the Chinese private sector are so large that they still imply drastic private-sector wage reductions, if capital and technology movements remain at the same rate as in these data. Thus, to minimize wage reductions, Chinese policy makers may want to consider policies that increase the availability of other factors of production into the private sector, such as greater capital availability or adoption of newer technologies, to raise labor productivity. Read More

The Entrepreneurs Who Invented Economic Forecasting

The new book Fortune Tellers investigates the history of economic forecasting and its roots in the turbulent nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Read an interview with author Walter A. Friedman and an excerpt. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Do Productivity Increases Contribute to Social Inequality?

Summing Up: Jim Heskett's readers are divided about whether corporate productivity increases make social inequality worse. Closed for comment; 23 Comments posted.

Mechanisms of Technology Re-Emergence and Identity Change in a Mature Field: Swiss Watchmaking, 1970-2008

According to most theories of technological change, old technologies tend to disappear when newer ones arrive. As this paper argues, however, market demand for old technologies may wane only to emerge again at a later point in time, as seems to be the case for products like Swiss watches, fountain pens, streetcars, independent bookstores, and vinyl records, which have all begun to claim significant market interest again. Looking specifically at watchmaking, the author examines dynamics of technology re-emergence and the mechanisms whereby this re-emergence occurs in mature industries and fields. Swiss watchmakers had dominated their industry and the mechanical watch movement for nearly two centuries, but their reign ended abruptly in the mid-1970s at the onset of the "Quartz Revolution" (also known as the "Quartz Crisis"). By 1983, two-thirds of all watch industry jobs in Switzerland were gone. More recently, however, as the field has moved toward a focus on luxury, a "re-coupling" of product, organizational, and community identity has allowed master craftsmen to continue building their works of art. The study makes three main contributions: 1) It highlights the importance of studying technology-in-practice as a lens on viewing organizational and institutional change. 2) It extends the theorization of identity to products, organizations, and communities and embeds these within cycles of technology change. 3) It suggests the importance of understanding field-level change as tentative and time-bound: This perspective may allow deeper insights into the mechanisms that propel emergence, and even re-emergence, of seemingly "dead" technologies and industries. (Read an interview with Ryan Raffaelli about his research.) Read More

Technology Re-Emergence: Creating New Value for Old Innovations

Every once in a while, an old technology rises from the ashes and finds new life. Ryan Raffaelli explains how the Swiss watch industry saved itself by reinventing its identity. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Managing the Family Firm: Evidence from CEOs at Work

According to prior research, firm performance is weaker among companies with CEOs who have a family connection to the firm owners compared with nonfamily CEOs, that is professionals. Given the ubiquity of family firms and the implications for aggregate income and growth, what explains this variation? This paper provides evidence on the causes, features, and correlates of CEO attention allocation by looking at a simple yet critical difference between family and professional CEOs: the time they spend working for their firms. The Indian manufacturing sector makes an excellent case study because family ownership is widespread and the productivity dispersion across firms is substantial. Examining the time allocation of 356 CEOs of listed firms in this sector, the authors make several findings. First, there is substantial variation in the number of hours CEOs devote to work activities. Longer working hours are associated with higher firm productivity, growth, profitability, and CEO pay. Second, family CEOs record 8 percent fewer working hours relative to professional CEOs. The difference in hours worked is more pronounced in low-competition environments and does not seem to be explained by measurement error. Third, estimates with respect to the cost of effort, due to weather shocks and popular sport events, suggest that family CEOs place a higher relative weight on leisure, which could be due to either a wealth effect or job security. Overall, the evidence highlights the importance of how corporate leaders allocate their managerial attention. Read More

HBS Cases: What Warren Buffett Saw in Newspapers

When Warren Buffett made a bid for troubled Media General's newspapers, analysts wondered whether the legendary investor had lost his fastball. Hardly, as Benjamin Esty's case reveals. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Just How Independent are ‘Independent’ Directors?

A rule in China, which mandates publicly-traded company directors to explain their dissenting votes, provides Tarun Khanna and Juan Ma with rich data looking into the inner workings of how board members interact. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

D’O: Making a Michelin-Starred Restaurant Affordable

Under the leadership of Chef Davide Oldani, the Italian restaurant D'O balances Michelin-star-level quality with affordable prices. In the following story and video, Professor Gary Pisano explains how Oldani does it. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Cultural Disharmony Undermines Workplace Creativity

Managing cultural friction not only creates a more harmonious workplace, says professor Roy Y.J. Chua, but ensures that you reap the creative benefits of multiculturalism at its best. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

HBS Faculty Remember Nelson Mandela

Harvard Business School faculty Nitin Nohria, Linda Hill, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, and Gautam Mukunda remember Nelson Mandela, a leader who truly made a difference in the world. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Is Walmart Defying Economic Gravity?

Summing Up Can Walmart sustain its half-a-trillion-dollar enterprise much longer? Jim Heskett's readers see a conflict between the company's immense size and its business model. Closed for comment; 17 Comments posted.

Encourage Breakthrough Health Care by Competing on Products Rather Than Patents

For too long, the science behind breakthrough therapeutics has been locked behind patents held by universities. Richard Hamermesh proposes the market compete on solutions rather than intellectual property rights. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

The Fantastic Horizon: How to Invest in a New City

Rapid urbanization and resource scarcity pose problems—and opportunities—for businesses and governments all over the world. Senior Lecturer John Macomber writes about his recent investigative visits to nascent privately-funded municipalities in Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Companies Choreograph Earnings Calls to Hide Bad News

Data from thousands of Wall Street earnings conference calls suggests that many companies hide bad performance news by calling only on positive analysts, according to new research by Lauren Cohen and Christopher Malloy. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Surfacing the Submerged State with Operational Transparency in Government Services

Research shows that Americans' trust in government is near historic lows and frustration with government performance is approaching record highs. While debates rage about how effective government is in providing basic services, one explanation for these trends in public opinion is that, independent of effectiveness, many voters may simply be unaware that government provides any services at all. Previous research by the authors reveals that seeing the labor in which firms engage improves customer satisfaction. In this paper, the authors design and test an intervention targeted toward increasing citizens' awareness of the services provided by government. Specifically, they present the results of an experiment in which Boston-area residents interacted with a website that visualized the service requests submitted by members of the public and the City's efforts to address those requests. Does seeing the work of government—fixing potholes, repairing streetlamps, removing graffiti, collecting garbage—lead citizens to express more positive attitudes toward government and increase their support for maintaining and expanding the scale of government programs? The study shows that providing greater operational transparency into government's efforts to address citizens' needs can improve attitudes toward government. Read More

Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of US Firms

The immigration of skilled workers is of deep importance to the United States, particularly in occupations closely linked to innovation and technology commercialization. Appropriate policies and admissions levels for skilled workers remain bitterly debated in the popular press. The authors analyze how the hiring of skilled immigrants affects the employment structures of US firms. This focus on the firm is both rare and important, since economists typically study immigration through the conceptual framework of shifts in the supply of workers to a labor market; yet substantial portions of the US immigration framework have been designed to allow American firms to choose the immigrants that they want to hire. Young workers account for a large portion of such skilled immigrants; for example, 90 percent of H-1B workers are under the age of 40. Given this context, the authors look specifically at the role of young skilled immigrants within more than 300 large employers and major patenting firms over the 1995-2008 period. The evidence suggests that increased employment of young skilled immigrants 1) raises the overall employment of skilled workers in the firm, 2) increases the immigrant share of these workers, and 3) reduces the older worker share of skilled employees. The latter effect is evident even among natives only. Overall, these results provide a multifaceted view of how young skilled immigration shapes the employment structures of US firms. There are significant implications for the competitiveness of American firms, the job opportunities of natives and immigrants employed by these firms, the larger national innovative capacity of the United States, and much beyond. Read More

Hiding From Managers Can Increase Your Productivity

Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Ethan S. Bernstein explains why decreasing workplace transparency can increase productivity. Open for comment; 26 Comments posted.

Path-Breakers: How Does Women’s Political Participation Respond to Electoral Success?

Many explanations have been put forward to explain the gender gap in executive positions in finance, business, and politics. However, scholars know surprisingly little about the effects of exposure to women who are competitively selected into leadership positions. Focusing on India, the world's largest democracy, the authors obtained data on elections to state legislative assemblies in 3,473 constituencies from the Election Commission of India over the period 1980-2007 in which most states had six elections. They used data for the 16 major states of India which account for over 95 percent of the total population. The authors identified a large and significant increase in the subsequent share of women candidates fielded by major parties in Indian state elections. The increase arises mainly from an increased propensity for previous candidates to run for re-election, rather than the entry of new women candidates. Given that a substantial fraction of incumbents in Indian state elections do not re-run and female incumbents overall are less likely to re-run than male incumbents, this is an important result. There is, however, no significant increase in the probability that a woman wins the next election. Consistent with this, the estimated impact on women's candidacy fades over time although a significant impact persists through two elections, which is a period of 10 years. Overall, this study makes clear that it is important to identify the extent to which a spontaneous dynamic operates in launching women into the political sphere when quotas are absent. Read More

Twitter IPO: Overvalued or the Start of Something Big?

Although it has yet to make a dime, share buyers valued Twitter's IPO at $25 billion. Asks professor Chet Huber, what do they see? Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Do Measures of Financial Constraints Measure Financial Constraints?

A core question in corporate finance is how financial constraints affect firm behavior. To answer this question we need a way to identify constrained firms with reasonable accuracy. Since the financial constraints that a firm faces are not directly observable, scholars have tended to rely on indirect proxies-such as having a credit rating or paying dividends-or on one of three popular indices based on linear combinations of observable firm characteristics such as size, age, or leverage (the Kaplan-Zingales, Whited-Wu, and Hadlock-Pierce indices). In this paper the authors ask: How well do these measures of financial constraints identify firms that are plausibly financially constrained? The short answer is: not well at all. The authors develop three different tests that show that public firms classified as constrained have no trouble raising debt when their demand for debt increases, are unaffected by changes in the supply of bank loans, and engage in paying out the proceeds of equity issues to their shareholders ("equity recycling"). Results imply that popular measures of financial constraints tend to identify as constrained subsets of firms that differ from the general firm population of public firms on a number of dimensions, but not in their ability to raise external funding. Importantly, the tests developed by the authors can be used to systematically test the extent to which any measure of financial constraints does capture constraints. Read More

How Major League Baseball Clubs Have Commercialized Their Investment in Japanese Top Stars

Japanese money flowing from broadcasting rights, sponsorships, and merchandise contributes substantially to the prosperity of Major League Baseball (MLB) in America. This market growth depends on wide exposure of and good performance by Japanese major leaguers. Acquiring and signing these stars can become a passport to get in touch with the Japanese market directly. The authors examine how the MLB clubs have tried to commercialize their investment in Japanese top stars and assesses whether the clubs have succeeded. Seven factors attract revenues from Japanese companies and fans: pitcher or position player, player's popularity, non-stop flights from Japan, distance from Japan, non-sport tourist attractions in a city, size of Japanese community in the city, and player's and team's performance. The most important factor, however, is the player's talent and popularity in terms of performance in both Japan and the US and his media exposure in Japan including endorsement contracts. Read More

Monetary Policy Drivers of Bond and Equity Risks

Given the importance of nominal bonds in investment portfolios, and in the design and execution of fiscal and monetary policy, financial economists and macroeconomists need to understand the determinants of nominal bond risks. This is particularly challenging because the risk characteristics of nominal bonds are not stable over time. In this paper the authors ask how monetary policy has contributed to these changes in bond risks. They propose a model that integrates the building blocks of a New Keynesian model into an asset pricing framework in which risk and consequently risk premia can vary in response to macroeconomic conditions. The model is calibrated to US data between 1960 and 2011, a period in which macroeconomic conditions, monetary policy, and bond risks have experienced significant changes. Findings show that two elements of monetary policy have been especially important drivers of bond risks during the last half century. First, a strong reaction of monetary policy to inflation shocks increases both the beta of nominal bonds and the volatility of nominal bond returns. Positive inflation shocks depress bond prices, while the increase in the Fed funds rate depresses output and stock prices. Second, an accommodating monetary policy that smooths nominal interest rates over time implies that positive shocks to long-term target inflation cause real interest rates to fall, driving up output and equity prices, and nominal long-term interest rates to increase, decreasing bond prices. The paper shows empirical evidence that the Fed monetary policy followed an anti-inflationary stance after 1979, but it has moved to a more accommodating, nominal interest rate smoothing policy since the mid 1990's. Consistent with the predictions of the model, the first period corresponds to a period of average positive Treasury-bond beta and stock-bond correlation, and the second period to a period of average negative bond beta and stock-bond correlation. Overall, results imply that it is particularly important to take account of changing risk premia. Read More

Reserve Bank Governor Discusses India’s Financial Opportunities

A month after becoming the new governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan came to HBS to deliver the 2013 Leatherbee Lecture, "India: The Opportunities and Challenges Ahead." Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Response to Readers: Combating Climate Change with Nuclear Power and Fracking

Following a contentious online debate, Professor Joe Lassiter expands his argument that nuclear power and fracking are the lesser evils when stacked up against coal power, and presents a way forward. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Time that Government Reopens for Business

Senior Lecturer Joe Fuller, an expert on competitiveness, sheds light on the government shutdown in Washington, DC and why it's time to "reopen for business." Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

The Case for Combating Climate Change with Nuclear Power and Fracking

Joseph B. Lassiter explains why he believes that nuclear power and shale gas are on the right side of the fight against climate change, and why markets have a better shot at winning the fight than governments do. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

Imperfect Information, Patent Publication, and the Market for Ideas

The market for ideas improves the innovation process by promoting division of labor between upstream inventors and downstream developers. Frictions such as asymmetric information and search costs may hinder the smooth functioning of the market and delay, or even block, mutually profitable transactions between buyers and sellers. In this paper, the authors study the effects of an important disclosure mechanism, the publication of patent applications, on mitigating these frictions and, thus, facilitating transactions in the market for ideas. In particular, they employ an important policy change in the American Inventors Protection Act (AIPA), which required that U.S. patent applications filed beginning on November 29, 2000 be published 18 months after the application date. Findings show that post-AIPA patents, on average, are licensed 8.5 months earlier than pre-AIPA inventions. This shortening of the licensing lag is economically significant, given the 20-year duration of U.S. patents, and can translate to millions of dollars in profits and licensing revenues. Read More

Lehman Brothers Plus Five: Have We Learned from Our Mistakes?

Is the US financial system in better shape today than it was five years ago? Finance professors Victoria Ivashina, David Scharfstein, and Arthur Segel see real progress—but also missed opportunities and more challenges. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Organizational Factors that Contribute to Operational Failures in Hospitals

Despite a pressing need to do so, hospitals are struggling to improve efficiency, quality of care, and patient experience. Operational failures—defined as instances where an employee does not have the supplies, equipment, information, or people needed to complete work tasks—contribute to hospitals' poor performance. Such failures waste at least 10 percent of caregivers' time, delay care, and contribute to safety lapses. This paper seeks to increase hospital productivity and quality of care by uncovering organizational factors associated with operational failures so that hospitals can reduce the frequency with which these failures occur. The authors, together with a team of 25 people, conducted direct observations of nurses on the medical/surgical wards of two hospitals, which surfaced 120 operational failures. The team also shadowed employees from the support departments that provided materials, medications, and equipment needed for patient care, tracing the flow of materials through the organizations' internal supply chains. This approach made it possible to discover organizational factors associated with the occurrence and persistence of operational failures. Overall, the study develops propositions that low levels of internal integration among upstream supply departments contributed to operational failures experienced by downstream frontline staff, thus negatively impacting performance outcomes, such as quality, timeliness, and efficiency. Read More

The Impact of Conformance and Experiential Quality on Healthcare Cost and Clinical Performance

This study examines the relationship between hospital's focus on both conformance and experiential dimensions of quality and their impact on financial and clinical outcomes. Conformance quality measures the level of adherence to evidence-based standards of care achieved by the hospitals. Experiential quality, on the other hand, measures the extent to which caregivers consider the specific needs of the patient in care and communication, as perceived by the patient. These are important dimensions to investigate because hospitals may face a tension between improving clinical outcomes and maintaining their financial bottom-line. However, little has been known on the joint impact of these dimensions on hospital performance in terms of cost and clinical quality. The authors' study, which examined data from multiple sources for the 3,458 U.S. acute care hospitals, is a first step towards understanding these relationships. Results show that hospitals with high levels of combined quality are typically associated with higher costs, but better clinical outcomes, as measured by length of stay and readmissions. These results suggest that hospitals face a tradeoff between cost performance and clinical outcomes. The study also finds that the effect of conformance quality on length of stay is dependent on the level of experiential quality. Taken together, these findings underline the important synergy that exists between conformance and experiential quality with regards to clinical outcomes, a topic that has been completely overlooked in the extant literature. Read More

Playing Favorites: How Firms Prevent the Revelation of Bad News

Given the current regulatory environment in the United States (and increasingly globally) of level playing-field information laws, firms can only communicate information in public exchanges. However, even in these highly regulated venues, there are subtle choices that firms make that reveal differential amounts of information to the market. In this paper the authors explore a subtle but economically important way in which firms shape their information environments, namely through their specific organization and choreographing of earnings conference calls. The analysis rests on a simple premise: firms understand they have an information advantage and the ability to be strategic in its release. The key finding is that firms that manipulate their conference calls by calling on those analysts with the most optimistic views on the firm appear to be hiding bad news, which ultimately leaks out in the future. Specifically, the authors show that "casting" firms experience higher contemporaneous returns on the (manipulated) call in question, but negative returns in the future. These negative future returns are concentrated around future calls where they stop this casting behavior, and hence allow negative information to be revealed to the market. Read More

Behind India’s Economic and Political Woes

Declining value of the rupee and soaring prices for onions are just two of the problems plaguing India. Professor Tarun Khanna explains the political and economic causes. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Status: When and Why It Matters

Status plays a key role in everything from the things we buy to the partnerships we make. Professor Daniel Malter explores when status matters most. Closed for comment; 9 Comments posted.

Historical Origins of Environmental Sustainability in the German Chemical Industry, 1950s-1980s

This paper examines the emergence of environmental strategies in the chemical industry between the 1950s and the 1980s. German chemical firms have been hailed as "eco-pioneers" in this regard, but this study demonstrates that initially the leading chemical companies of both Germany and the United States followed a similar approach to societal concerns about environmental pollution. Both German and American firms suggested that pollution incidents and complaints were a matter for local responses, tailored to specific settings, and should be considered primarily as nuisances rather than as environmental or health hazards. By the 1970s, however, the evolution of environmental strategies in the German chemical industry diverged greatly from that of the United States. This working paper explores how and why by examining the strategies of two prominent German chemical companies, Bayer and Henkel. The German firms diverged from their American counterparts in using public relations strategies not only to contain fallout from criticism of their pollution impact, but also to create opportunities for changes in corporate culture to encourage sustainability. While the US chemical industry remained defensive and focused on legal compliance, there was a greater proactivity among the German firms. The study stresses the importance of the regional embeddedness of Bayer and Henkel in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which made their reputations especially vulnerable to criticism. A new generation of corporate leaders also perceived that more reactive strategies were needed to fulfill societal expectations. They were savvy enough to understand that investing in environmental sustainability could provide an opportunity to create value for the firm, and that self-identifying as eco-pioneers had commercial as well as reputational benefits, provided that the image reflected genuine policies and processes. Read More

U.S. High-Skilled Immigration, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Empirical Approaches and Evidence

In the 2008 Current Population Survey, immigrants represented 16 percent of the United States workforce with a bachelor's education. Moreover, immigrants accounted for 29 percent of the growth in this workforce during the 1995-2008 period. Exceeding these strong overall contributions, the role of immigrants within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is even more pronounced. Even so, the importance of the global migration of STEM talent has been under-studied. In this paper, which focuses exclusively on the United States' experience, the author reviews academic work regarding the effects of global migration on innovation and entrepreneurship. Findings show that while some aspects of the phenomenon are well understood, such as the quantity and quality of immigrants, scholars still have very little insight on others, such as return migration. Overall, immigration has clearly been essential for the United States' leadership in innovation and entrepreneurship. There is also evidence of positive impacts of high-skilled diasporas for home countries, although the ledger that can be measured in the United States remains incomplete. Read More

Unspoken Cues: Encouraging Morals Without Mandates

Harvard Business School professor Michel Anteby studied his own employer to better understand how organizations can create moral behavior using unspoken cues. Closed for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Excerpt: Manufacturing Morals

At Harvard Business School, the orderly landscape and community setting reinforces values the School wishes to introduce to both faculty and students. An excerpt from professor Michel Anteby's Manufacturing Morals: The Values of Silence in Business School Education Read More

Earnings Calls That Get Lost in Translation

Clear communication is critical for a successful earnings call. The challenge is doubly hard for foreign executives conducting calls in English. New research by Gwen Yu and Francois Brochet provides guidance to executives speaking to investors in any language. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

The Curse of Double-Digit Growth

Liberia wants fast growth in order to solidify its social and political advances. Problem is, says Eric D. Werker, countries growing that quickly "are not unequivocally a club that one should strive to join." Closed for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Built for Global Competition from the Start

Building a startup as a global business requires managers with skills and strategy much different from their predecessors of even a generation ago, says William R. Kerr. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

What Went Wrong at J.C. Penney?

J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson went bold in his attempted rescue of the fading retailer, but his top-to-bottom makeover failed. Marketing expert Rajiv Lal explores what went wrong and why JCP has an even more difficult road ahead. Closed for comment; 27 Comments posted.

Studying How Income Inequality Shapes Behavior

Professor David A. Moss is studying how growing income disparity affects our decision-making on everything from risk-taking to voting. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Competition and Social Identity in the Workplace: Evidence from a Chinese Textile Firm

Social identity theory suggests that individuals derive part of their self-concept from their perceived membership in a social group and behave differently towards in-group versus out-group members. But despite the importance of social identity in organizational contexts, the existing empirical evidence in managerial economics has mostly come from lab experiments, and there exist few quantitative studies on the impact of social identity on worker behaviors in real workplaces. This paper provides novel evidence of the impact of social identity on workers' competitive behaviors in a Chinese textile firm that uses relative performance incentives. The firm provides an unusual empirical setting in which there is a historical and institutional division of all weavers into two distinct groups with different social identities: urban resident and rural migrant workers. Our findings show that the weavers do not compete against coworkers who share the same social identity even though there is a tournament incentive to outperform their coworkers in general. Instead, they only compete against coworkers who do not share the same social identity. Managers who design incentive schemes without understanding the dynamics of social incentives in the workplace may fail to achieve the intended effects on productivity. Read More

Firm Competitiveness and Detection of Bribery

Bribery is widespread around the world, illegal, detrimental to economic progress and social stability, and at the same time it can have clear economic benefits for a firm. While the benefits of bribery for a firm, through acquisition of contracts or avoidance of government bureaucracy, are intuitive and well documented, the costs after detection are less well understood. In this paper the author examines how the impact on firm competitiveness from the detection of bribery varies with the identity of the initiator, the method bribery was detected, and the firm's response after detection. All three dimensions are significantly associated with the impact on firm competitiveness. In addition, the data suggest that the most significant impact is on employee morale, followed by business relations and reputation, and then regulatory relations. Read More

Read All About It: Digital CEO Buys Traditional Media!

At 136 years old, the Washington Post has reported on critical news events over the decades. Now the sale of the Post to Jeff Bezos is itself a game changer, for digital media. Harvard Business School strategy experts Bharat Anand and David Collis read between the lines. Closed for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Learning from Double-Digit Growth Experiences

Double-digit growth in real GDP is defined as a compound annual growth rate of 10 percent or more over a period of eight years or longer. This paper was written as a policy memorandum for the Government of Liberia, which seeks rapid growth in order to reach middle-income status by 2030. For Liberia, current IMF forecasts predict growth in real GDP on the order of 6 to 7 percent per year. The comparative analysis of this paper asks: In what ways do countries growing real GDP at double-digit rates differ from countries growing real GDP at rates of 6-7 percent? Overall, the findings suggest that Liberia is reasonably well positioned to become another country with double-digit growth. Yet as the analysis shows, countries that have attained double-digit growth are not unequivocally a group that one should strive to join. The ultra-rapid growers whose growth has been driven by resources, aid, or remittances have not generally conducted the sorts of reforms to the legal, regulatory, and governance environment that could have generated high growth without such unearned income. They have also not generally invested their rents well in infrastructure or human capital. Moreover, post-conflict double-digit growers have found it difficult to reform or invest well. Read More

Detroit Files for Bankruptcy: HBS Faculty Weigh In

After a long period of economic decline, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy protection last week. John Macomber, Robert Pozen, Eric Werker, and Benjamin Kennedy offer their views on some down-the-road scenarios. Closed for comment; 22 Comments posted.

Sharpening Your Skills: Meeting Management Challenges in India

We revisit four articles where India and its managers confronted problems and seized opportunities on the topics of big data, branding, intellectual property protection, and creating a new-product category. Read More

Five Imperatives for Improving Health Care

Leaders from Harvard's medical and business schools are exploring ways to improve health care delivery. In a new study, their Forum on Healthcare Innovation delivers five key imperatives. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Religion, Politician Identity, and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India

Minority social groups may be disadvantaged by policy choices made by democratically elected leaders. It is therefore pertinent to consider whether increasing the political representation of minority groups improves their outcomes. This paper investigates whether the religious identity of state legislators in India influences development outcomes, both for citizens of their religious group and for the population as a whole. Results show that raising the share of Muslim legislators in individual districts leads to a large and statistically significant decline in infant and neonatal mortality rates. Importantly, they find no significant difference in the impact of Muslim political representation on Muslim compared with non-Muslim households. Indeed, the estimated coefficients indicate smaller beneficial impacts for Muslim children. Overall, these findings contribute to a recent literature on the relationship between religion and development, and to the literature on politician identity. Read More

A Roadmap for Afghanistan’s Economic Future

Most discussions about the immediate future of Afghanistan center on security. A consideration just as important, says Professor Tarun Khanna, is rebuilding the embattled country's economy. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

How to Do Away with the Dangers of Outsourcing

The collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh should be a warning to companies that embrace outsourcing, says Professor Ranjay Gulati. Closed for comment; 8 Comments posted.

Corporate Leaders Need to Step Up on Climate Change

Despite perceptions that sustainable business efforts are progressing, the environment reminds us we're failing to deal with the problem sufficiently. Here's what business leaders must do next, according to Michael Toffel and Auden Schendler. Closed for comment; 14 Comments posted.

Can LEGO Snap Together a Future in Asia?

Using scenario planning, executives at LEGO Group played through a possible strategy shift in Asia. Thanks to a new case study by professor Anette Mikes, students can make their own decisions. Closed for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Board Games: Timing of Independent Directors’ Dissent in China

Independent directors are an integral part of corporate governance. Despite the copious scholarly debates surrounding board independence, however, little progress has been made in studying the inner workings of public boards. Fortunately, the regulatory environment in China offers a rare window to observe the inner workings of independent directors. This paper is one of the first statistical investigations of the circumstances under which so-called "independent" directors voice their independent views. The authors explore the following questions: 1) Why do independent directors dissent? 2) Under which circumstances is an independent director more likely to issue an open dissent? and 3) Does dissent matter sufficiently to affect independent directors' careers and firm performance? Unlike most of the previous models that view boards as a monolithic entity that "shares a common agenda on all matters," this study allows the authors to see boards as consisting of individuals with different utility functions and to examine board behaviors at the individual director level. Read More

The Long-Term Fix to US Competitiveness

Participants at a Harvard Business School event were urged by professors Michael Porter and Jan Rivkin to chart a new path forward to improve US competitiveness. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Making America an Industrial Powerhouse Again

President Obama's funding of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation is a needed step to get the country building again, says Professor Gary Pisano. Closed for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Clusters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

For many decades, the common wisdom among local officials pursuing employment growth for their areas was to attract a large firm to relocate. This "smokestack chasing" led to many regional governments bidding against each other and providing substantial incentives to large plants making their location choice decisions. The success of entrepreneurial clusters in recent decades, however, has challenged this wisdom, and now many policy makers state that they want their regions "to be the next Silicon Valley." This has led to extensive efforts to seed local entrepreneurship, with today's politicians routinely announcing the launch of an entrepreneurial cluster in a hot industry, such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, or advanced manufacturing. In this paper, the authors explore the rationale for and efficacy of policies to promote local entrepreneurship and innovation and reflect on recent initiatives in this domain. Read More

A Company’s Evolving View of Gender Equity

Looking at the evolution of gender in US society over nearly 20 years, a new study by Lakshmi Ramarajan, Kathleen L. McGinn, and Deborah Kolb traces how one prominent professional-service firm internalized the shifting concerns. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

How Local Events Shake Up Corporate Philanthropy

Large-scale events like the Olympics lead to a dramatic, albeit short-term increase in otherwise steady charitable-giving patterns among corporations headquartered near the event's host city, according to research by András Tilcsik and Christopher Marquis. Closed for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Are First-Time Buyers Left Out of Real Estate’s Rebound?

Real estate is again on the move in the United States. Nicolas P. Retsinas examines the impact on home buyers, renters, and policymakers. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Diagnosing the ‘Flutie Effect’ on College Marketing

Boston College, after one of the most dramatic plays in collegiate football history, benefitted with a dramatic upswing in applications. Other colleges have experienced similar upswings from sports success. In a new study, Doug J. Chung demonstrates the reality behind the "Flutie Effect," named after BC quarterback Doug Flutie. Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

The Auditing Oligopoly and Lobbying on Accounting Standards

The US auditing industry has been characterized as an oligopoly, which has successively tightened from eight key players to four over the last 25 years. This tightening is likely to change the incentives of the surviving big auditors, with implications for their role in our market economy. Motivated by the economic and public policy implications of the tightening audit oligopoly, the authors of this paper investigate the changing relation between the big firms and accounting standards. Accounting standards are a key input in the audit process and, through their effects on financial reporting, can impact capital allocation decisions in the economy. Results show that the big auditors are more likely to identify decreased reliability in proposed standards as the auditing oligopoly has tightened: This suggests that big auditors perceive higher litigation and political costs from the increased visibility that accompanies tighter oligopoly. The findings are also consistent with tighter oligopoly decreasing competition among the surviving firms to satisfy client preferences in accounting standards. The findings do not support the concern that tightening oligopoly has rendered the surviving big firms "too big to fail." Read More

Learning Curve: Making the Most of Outsourcing

Companies that view outsourcing as an easy way to offload commodity work are missing powerful improvements to be gained by working closely with service providers, says Professor Robert S. Huckman. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

How to Demotivate Your Best Employees

Many companies hand out awards such as "employee of the month," but do they work to motivate performance? Not really, says professor Ian Larkin. In fact, they may turn off your best employees altogether. Closed for comment; 62 Comments posted.

First Minutes are Critical in New-Employee Orientation

Employee orientation programs ought to be less about the company and more about the employee, according to new research by Daniel M. Cable, Francesca Gino, and Bradley R. Staats. Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

How Chapter 11 Saved the US Economy

In a relatively short time, much of the corporate debt that defaulted during the US financial crisis has been managed down and corporate profits have rebounded. Stuart C. Gilson reviews the power of Chapter 11 bankruptcy Closed for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Pulling Campbell’s Out of the Soup

Campbell Soup had lost its way when Douglas Conant took charge in 2001. His first task: get out of his quiet zone and apply bold measures. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

First Look: March 19

When daily deals misfire on merchants … Lessons of war for negotiators … The unexpected effect of electronic monitoring of criminals. Read More

HBS Cases: LEGO

LEGO toys have captivated children and their parents for 80 years. But managing the enterprise has not always been fun and games. Professor Stefan H. Thomke explains the lessons behind a new case on the company. Closed for comment; 14 Comments posted.

No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax

This research investigates the effectiveness of the Value Added Tax in facilitating tax enforcement and sheds light on the role of information and third-party reporting for taxation. Drawing on results from two field experiments with over 400,000 Chilean firms, it provides evidence for the self-enforcing power of the paper trail in the VAT and for spillovers in tax enforcement through firms' trading networks more generally. The findings also show that while the VAT paper trail seems to be highly effective in Chile overall, the mere existence of a VAT system, in the absence of credible deterrence, does not lead to self-enforcement. Results have implications for public finance in developing countries and for tax policy in general. Read More

Video: Harvard Business School at the Kumbh Mela

In this video report, Senior Lecturer John Macomber visits the Kumbh Mela in India to discover what such an undertaking can teach us about real estate, urbanization, sustainability, and infrastructure. Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Women MBAs at Harvard Business School

Professor Boris Groysberg discusses his new case, "Women MBAs at Harvard Business School: 1962-2012," which delves into the experiences of the School's alumnae over the past 50 years. Closed for comment; 5 Comments posted.

The Dirty Laundry of Employee Award Programs: Evidence from the Field

Many scholars and practitioners in human resource management have recently argued that awards and other forms of on-the-job recognition provide a "free" way to motivate employees. But are there unintended, negative effects of such awards? In this paper, the authors simultaneously examine the costs and benefits of an attendance award program that was implemented in an industrial laundry plant. The award used in the study was effective in that it reduced the average rate of tardiness among employees. However, it also led to a host of potential spillover effects that the plant manager readily admits were not considered when designing the program, and that reduced overall plant productivity. Overall, findings demonstrate that an award program that appears to be effective may also induce unintended consequences severely reducing the net value of the program. These results highlight the impact such a program can have on the overall performance of the firm and suggest caution when designing and implementing such programs. Read More

Lessons from Running GM’s OnStar

Before teaching at Harvard Business School, Chet Huber ran the General Motors telematics subsidiary OnStar. Huber discusses how the lessons he learned in the field mesh with the lessons he teaches to students. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Developing the Guts of a GUT (Grand Unified Theory): Elite Commitment and Inclusive Growth

Why do some countries successfully initiate episodes of rapid growth while others suffer extended stagnation? Furthermore, why are some countries able to sustain growth episodes over many decades of rapid or steady growth, while other growth episodes end in reversion to stagnation or collapse? This paper represents an initial step in a research agenda aiming to build a unified theory of growth that considers the complex dynamics and varied roles of elites. The analytical model suggested here is capable of generating both transitory and sustained episodes of accelerated growth. As Pritchett and Werker argue, progress on a unified theory of growth would explain, better than current long-run growth theories, the onset of growth episodes. It would also examine how the dynamics of growth interact with existing political and institutional configurations to produce feedback effects on policy and institutions such that some growth episodes end in bust or stagnation while others are continued. Read More

Big Deal: Reflections on the Megamerger of American and US Airways

The proposed marriage between American Airlines and US Airways would create the nation's largest airline. Professors Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Stuart Gilson reflect on a megamerger. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

The Dynamic Advertising Effect of Collegiate Athletics

The primary form of mass media advertising by academic institutions in the United States is, arguably, through its athletics program. This study investigates the possible advertising effects of intercollegiate athletics. Specifically, it looks at the spillover effect and the magnitude and divergence that athletic success has on the quantity and quality of applications received by an academic institution of higher education in the United States. Overall, findings show that athletic success has a significant impact on the quality and quantity of applicants to these institutions. However, athletic success has relatively more importance to the students with lower ability. Students of higher ability have a stronger preference for the quality of education compared to their lower-ability counterparts. Read More

Are the Big Four Audit Firms Too Big to Fail?

Although the number of audit firms has decreased over the past few decades, concerns that the "Big Four" survivors have become too big to fail may be a stretch. Research by professor Karthik Ramanna and colleagues suggests instead that audit firms are more concerned about taking risks. Closed for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Dollar Funding and the Lending Behavior of Global Banks

A striking fact about international financial markets is the large share of dollar-denominated intermediation done by non-US banks. The large footprint of global banks in dollar funding and lending markets raises several important questions. This paper takes the presence of global banks in dollar loan markets as a given, and explores the consequences of this arrangement for cyclical variation in credit supply across countries. In particular, the authors show how shocks to the ability of a foreign bank to raise dollar funding translate into changes in its lending behavior, both in the US and in its home market. Overall, the authors identify a channel through which shocks outside the US can affect the ability of American firms to borrow. Although dollar lending by foreign banks increases the supply of credit to US firms during normal times, it may also prove to be a more fragile source of funding that transmits overseas shocks to the US economy. Read More

These Are the Good Old Days: Foreign Entry and the Mexican Banking System

In this paper, the authors take on an aspect of contract design that is fundamental to explain economic development and financial stability. They study the incentives contained in the "partnership" contract between bankers, the government, depositors, and bank shareholders, and examine how the incentives that come out of that contract explain the volatility of the banking system. The main insight is that bankers in developing countries with weak property rights demand rents (such as high barriers to entry) and lax regulation, as a way to compensate them for the political risk they face of being expropriated by the government or used for policy objectives (for example, if the government forces banks to buy its debt). Depositors, on the other hand, demand deposit insurance in case bankers are reckless, while minority shareholders demand high returns to compensate for the risk of insider lending or reckless behavior on the part of bankers. Then, the combination of high barriers to entry, lax regulation, and deposit insurance induces bankers to take on more risks to try to maximize their rents, and does not encourage depositors and minority shareholders to monitor bankers either (as the government limits downside risk for them). This dynamic, in the case of Mexico, led to frequent banking crises between the 1970s and the 1990s. This was the case until 1997, when the government allowed foreign bankers take over the largest domestic commercial banks and improved the monitoring of banks. This increased the stability of the system. There has not been a crisis since then, partly because of improvements in regulation and partly because foreign bankers have been more conservative, not only because they have standardized procedures to deal with risk but also because they are closely monitored by their parent banks abroad. Read More

Creating the Perfect Super Bowl Ad

Professor Thales S. Teixeira says TV viewers lose purchasing interest when ads get too caught up in entertainment. His advice for the perfect pitch: tie together a good story and a compelling brand. Closed for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Why a Harvard Finance Instructor Went to the Kumbh Mela

Every 12 years, millions of Hindu pilgrims travel to the Indian city of Allahabad for the Kumbh Mela, the largest public gathering in the world. In this first-person account, Senior Lecturer John Macomber shares his first impressions and explains what he's doing there. Closed for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Altruistic Capital: Harnessing Your Employees’ Intrinsic Goodwill

Everyone comes to the table with some amount of "altruistic capital," a stock of intrinsic desire to serve, says professor Nava Ashraf. Her research includes a study of what best motivates hairdressers in Zambia to provide HIV/AIDS education in their salons. Closed for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Deregulation, Misallocation, and Size: Evidence from India

India carried out wide-ranging deregulation policies in 1991. Significant sectors of the economy were opened up for private participation through de-licensing and allowing entry to industries previously reserved exclusively for the state-owned sector. This paper analyzes the efficiency impact of the removal of a specific distortion: compulsory industrial licensing that regulated firm entry and imposed output capacity constraints on Indian firms prior to 1991. Did industrial delicensing in India, which relaxed entry barriers and capacity constraints on firm size, lead to a change in firm size distributions within industries? Read More

The Messy Link Between Slave Owners and Modern Management

Harvard-Newcomen Fellow Caitlin C. Rosenthal studies the meticulous records kept by southern plantation owners for measuring the productivity of their slaves, some of which were forerunners of modern management techniques. Closed for comment; 53 Comments posted.

Few Women on Boards: Is There a Fix?

Women hold only 14 percent of the board seats at S&P 1500 companies. Why is that, and what—if anything—should business leaders and policymakers do about the gender disparity? Research by Professor Boris Groysberg and colleagues shows that male and female board members have very different takes on the issue. Closed for comment; 17 Comments posted.

The Value of Advice: Evidence from Mobile Phone-Based Agricultural Extension

This paper evaluates a new service that provides mobile-phone based agricultural consulting to poor farmers in India. For decades, the Government of India, like most governments in the developing world, has operated a system of agricultural extension, intended to spread information on new agricultural practices and technologies through a large work force of public extension agents. Evidence of the efficacy of these extension services, however, is limited. This paper describes a randomized field experiment examining the potential for an alternate route to improving agricultural management. Specifically, the authors evaluate Avaaj Otalo (AO), a mobile phone-based technology that allows farmers to call a hotline, ask questions, and receive responses from agricultural scientists and local extension workers. Findings show that AO had a range of important, positive effects on farmer behavior. This paper may be the first rigorous evaluation of mobile phone-based extension and, more generally, the first evaluation of a demand-driven extension service delivered by any means. Read More

Should We Rethink the Promise of Teams?

Summing Up: Teams that are properly structured and managed can support innovative thinking that depends on contributions from both extroverts and introverts, according to Professor Jim Heskett's readers. Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Affordable Housing: Israel and the United States

At a recent conference in Herzliya, Israel, Nicolas P. Retsinas, John H. Vogel, and Charles S. Laven joined residential developers, non-profits, national and local government officials, and academics to brainstorm approaches to affordable rental housing. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

An Outside-Inside Evolution in Gender and Professional Work

How do organizations adapt to social transformation? In the US, one of the most visible changes in employment since the 1980s—the growing representation of highly educated women—has challenged widely held understandings about gender and professional work. Although much is known about social institutions and social issues at the institutional and organizational levels, researchers still know very little about how individual organizations experience and internalize gradual shifts in deeply held social understandings. To bridge the gap, this study analyzes nearly 20 years of data to explore the adaptation of one professional service firm to an increase in women in the professional workforce and the shifting discourse around gender and work. Findings show that the firm internalized shifts in the social institution of gender through iterated cycles of analysis and action, integrating external pressures from the changing social institution of gender into its beliefs, structure, policies, programs, and practices. Overall, the study reveals how the interplay between activities and beliefs directs the pace and course of organizational change over time. Read More

Power to the People: The Unexpected Influence of Small Coalitions

J. Gunnar Trumbull discusses his new book, Strength in Numbers, in which he argues that diffuse groups—environmentalists, consumer activists, farmers—wield great influence in areas of regulation including trade to product safety and labor policy. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Book Excerpt: Strength in Numbers

In his new book, Strength in Numbers: The Political Power of Weak Interests, Gunnar Trumbull shows how consumer groups can effect change by forming interest-driven alliances among activists, regulators, and corporations. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Vulnerable Banks

Since the beginning of the US financial crisis in 2007, regulators in the United States and Europe have been frustrated by the difficulty in identifying the risk exposures at the largest and most levered financial institutions. Yet, at the time, it was unclear how such data might have been used to make the financial system safer. This paper is an attempt to show simple ways in which this information can be used to understand how deleveraging scenarios could play out. To do so the authors develop and test a model to analyze financial sector stability under different configurations of leverage and risk exposure across banks. They then apply the model to the largest financial institutions in Europe, focusing on banks' exposure to sovereign bonds and using the model to evaluate a number of policy proposals to reduce systemic risk. When analyzing the European banks in 2011, they show how a policy of targeted equity injections, if distributed appropriately across the most systemic banks, can significantly reduce systemic risk. The approach in this paper fits into, and contributes to, a growing literature on systemic risk. Read More

Book Excerpt: Harder Than I Thought

Harder Than I Thought: Adventures of a Twenty-First Century Leader invites readers to critique the fictional journey of Jim Barton, the new CEO of a west coast aerospace firm. The book was written by business scholars Robert Austin, Richard Nolan, and Shannon O'Donnell. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Against the Grain

Dealing with pervasive, institutionalized corruption is tough but not impossible. A new case study on Tanzania joins a series of cases in professor Karthik Ramanna's research that explore the deep-seated problems of corruption as well as multiple entrepreneurial paths to combat it. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

No Margin, No Mission? A Field Experiment on Incentives for Pro-Social Tasks

Organizations from large corporations to NGOs use a range of nonfinancial performance rewards to motivate their employees, and these rewards are highly valued. While theory has suggested mechanisms through which nonfinancial incentives can elicit employee effort, evidence on the mechanisms, and on their effectiveness relative to financial incentives, remains scarce. This paper helps to fill this gap by providing evidence from a collaboration with a public health organization based in Lusaka, Zambia, that recruits and trains hairdressers and barbers to sell condoms in their shops. This setting is representative of many health delivery programs in developing countries where embedded community agents are called upon to deliver services and products, but finding an effective way to motivate them remains a significant challenge. Findings show the effectiveness of financial and nonfinancial rewards for increasing sales of condoms. Agents who are offered nonfinancial rewards ("stars" in this setting) exert more effort than either those offered financial margins or those offered volunteer contracts. Read More

New Winners and Losers in the Internet Economy

In a stressed US economy, employment in the Internet ecosystem is growing at an impressive rate, with small companies especially benefiting, according to a new study by Professor John A. Deighton and research associate Leora D. Kornfeld. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

LEED-ing by Example

When a local government decides to pursue environmentally aware construction policies for its own buildings, the private sector follows suit, according to new research by Timothy Simcoe and Michael W. Toffel. Closed for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Funding the Design of Livable Cities

As a burgeoning global population migrates to the world's urban centers, it's crucial to design livable cities that function with scarce natural resources. John Macomber discusses the critical connection between real estate financing and innovative design in the built environment. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Sir Alex Ferguson--Managing Manchester United

For almost three decades, Sir Alex Ferguson has developed the Manchester United soccer club into one of the most recognized sports brands in the world. Professor Anita Elberse discusses the keys to Sir Alex's long-time success. Closed for comment; 23 Comments posted.

Stop Talking About the Weather and Do Something: Three Ways to Finance Sustainable Cities

How do we ensure that our cities are resilient in the face of inevitable future weather events like Hurricane Sandy? John Macomber offers three ways that the private sector can take action. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

What Wall Street Doesn’t Understand About International Trade

Firms that correlate their international trading activity with the local ethnic community significantly outperform those that don't, according to new research by Lauren H. Cohen, Christopher J. Malloy, and Umit G. Gurun. Closed for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Developing the Global Leader

The shift from a country-centric company to one more global in its outlook will have a radical impact on leadership development, says Professor of Management Practice William George. Closed for comment; 15 Comments posted.

Want People to Save More? Send a Text

What's the most effective way to encourage people to save their money? The answer lies in a combination of peer pressure and text messages, according to new research by Assistant Professor Dina D. Pomeranz. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Not Your Father’s State-Run Capitalism

The face of state-owned companies in Russia, China, and other countries has changed dramatically over the last several decades, says professor Aldo Musacchio. What capitalists need to know about these increasingly powerful competitors. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Digital Technology’s Profound Game Change for Marketers

Within a few years, chief marketing officers will spend more on technology--digital marketing--than CIOs. Jeffrey Bussgang says it is clear that technology is radically transforming the marketing function and the role of the marketing professional. Closed for comment; 6 Comments posted.

The Immigrants Who Built America’s Financial System

In The Founders and Finance, Harvard Business School business historian Thomas McCraw lays out in fascinating detail how immigrants Alexander Hamilton and Albert Gallatin became essential to the nation's survival. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Can We Bring Back the “Industrial Commons” for Manufacturing?

Summing Up: Does the US have the political will or educational ability to remake its manufacturing sector on the back of an 'industrial commons?' Professor Jim Heskett's readers are dubious. Closed for comment; 26 Comments posted.

Colocation and Scientific Collaboration: Evidence from a Field Experiment

In recent years there has been considerable interest in the policy arena on fostering collaborative and especially interdisciplinary collaborations. Yet there is scant evidence on how to do this in practice. To learn how team members find each other in the scientific community and decide to collaborate, the authors designed and carried out an experiment involving Harvard University and its affiliated hospitals. Results suggest that matching between scientists may be subject to considerable frictions, even among scientists in relatively close geographic proximity and in the same organizational system. However, even a brief and focused event facilitating face-to-face interactions can be useful for the formation of new scientific collaborations. Read More

Why Do We Tax?

As the US presidential election bears down for November, it's prime time to ask how the income tax system could be improved. Assistant Professor Matthew C. Weinzierl suggests how. Open for comment; 20 Comments posted.

US Competitiveness at Risk

America's declining global competitiveness—it ranks No. 7 this year in one respected survey—began long before the current recession took hold. Harvard Business School Professors Michael E. Porter and Jan W. Rivkin discuss causes and possible solutions. From Harvard magazine. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Risky Business: The Impact of Property Rights on Investment and Revenue in the Film Industry

Films are a risky business because much more is known about the quality and revenue potential of a film post-production than pre-production. Using rich data on the US film industry, this paper explores variation in property right allocations, investment choices, and film revenues to find empirical support for three predictions based on property rights theory. (1) Studios underinvest in the marketing of independent films relative to studio-financed films. (2) Because of underinvestment, independent films have lower revenues than comparable studio-financed films. (3) If production cost and marketing investment are complementary, underinvestment in marketing harms large-budget films more than small-budget films, making it more likely that large-budget films will be studio-financed. Kuppuswamy and Baldwin's paper may be the first to provide evidence that vertical integration affects the revenue of specific products through its impact on marketing investments in those products. Read More

Why Public Companies Underinvest in the Future

Private companies are much more focused on the long term when making deals than their publicly owned counterparts. Which side has the right idea? New research from Assistant Professor Joan Farre-Mensa and colleagues. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Spatial Organization of Firms: Internal and External Agglomeration Economies and Location Choices Through the Value Chain

How do firms decide location strategy for distinct activities in the value chain, such as manufacturing, research and development, or sales? Does strategy depend on geographically bounded spillovers between firms, or within firms? This paper uses data for organic expansions in the US by firms in pharmaceuticals in 1993-2005 to consider two types of expansions. The first is internal: an increase in employment in existing establishments. The second is external: opening new establishments. Alcacer (HBS) and Delgado (Fox School of Business) argue that decisions about geographical location are a tradeoff between external drivers pulling firms to geographically disperse activities and internal drivers pushing within-firm collocation, either across activities (such as manufacturing and R&D) or within activities (such as multiple R&D labs). Read More

HBS Cases: Branding Yoga

As yoga's popularity has grown into a $6 billion business, a cast of successful entrepreneurs has emerged with their own styles of the ancient practice. Yet yoga's rise underscores a larger question for Professor Rohit Deshpandé: Is everything brandable? Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Will Business Management Save US Health Care?

Summing Up: Problems confronting the US health care system are much larger and broader than those that can be solved by management in the absence of other remedies, readers tell Jim Heskett. Open for comment; 28 Comments posted.

Entrepreneurship and Urban Growth: An Empirical Assessment with Historical Mines

Does entrepreneurship cause urban growth? Economists and policymakers often argue yes, but it is remarkable how little is known about what lies behind this relationship. This paper investigates the connection more closely using a link between historical mineral and coal deposits and modern entrepreneurship observed in US cities today. Because the process of bringing ores out of the earth is a capital-intensive operation that often benefits from large-scale operations, cities with a historical abundance of nearby mineral and coal mines developed industrial structures with systematically larger establishments and less entrepreneurship. These early industrial traits persisted long after the initial conditions faded through intergenerational transmissions, path dependency, and similar. Using this variation, the study finds the strong connection between a city's initial entrepreneurship and subsequent economic growth is still observed after removing the most worrisome endogeneity. This connection works primarily through lower employment growth of startups in cities that are closer to mines. Read More

Employee-Suggestion Programs That Work

The key to operating a successful employee-suggestion program is to stop spending so much time on big-bang projects and focus on solving "low-hanging-fruit" problems. Research by Anita L. Tucker and Sara J. Singer. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Key Drivers of Successful Implementation of an Employee Suggestion-Driven Improvement Program

Service organizations frequently implement improvement programs to increase quality. These programs often rely on employees' suggestions about improvement opportunities. Yet organizations face a trade-off with suggestion-driven improvement programs. Should managers use an "analysis-oriented" approach to surface a large number of problems, prioritize these, and select a small set of high priority ones for solution efforts? Or is it better to take an "action-oriented" approach, addressing problems raised by frontline staff regardless of priority ranking? In this paper the authors weigh the tradeoff between these two different approaches. Using data from 58 work groups in 20 hospitals that implemented an 18-month-long employee suggestion-driven improvement program, the authors find that an action-oriented approach was associated with higher perceived improvement in performance, while an analysis-oriented approach was not. The study suggests that the analysis-oriented approach negatively impacted employees' perceptions of improvement because it solicited, but not act on, employees' ideas. Read More

A Randomized Field Study of a Leadership WalkRounds™-Based Intervention

Hospitals face an imperative to improve quality, increase efficiency, and improve customer experience. Many hospitals utilize process improvement techniques to achieve these goals. One technique to involve senior managers, known in hospitals most commonly as Leadership WalkRounds™, is a program of visiting the organization's frontlines to observe and talk with employees while they do their work. The intention is that managers and frontline staff will work together to identify and resolve obstacles to efficiency, quality, or safety. (For brevity, the authors refer to it in this paper as WalkRounds™.) Rigorous testing of the effectiveness of process improvement interventions generally, and WalkRounds™ particularly, however, has been rare. This paper presents results from a field study that tested the effectiveness of a safety improvement program inspired by WalkRounds™. The authors compare pre-program and post-program measures of perceived improvement in performance (PIP) from work areas in hospitals that were randomly selected to implement the program, with pre- and post- measures from the same types of work areas in control hospitals. Findings show that, contrary to expectations, the WalkRounds™-based program was associated with decreased PIP. This study calls into question the general effectiveness of WalkRounds™ on employees' perceptions, which had been assumed in prior literature. Read More

Advertising: It’s Not ‘Mad Men’ Anymore

Three major forces have changed advertising since Don Draper last prowled the corridors of Sterling Cooper. Professor Emeritus Alvin J. Silk's decades of research finds an industry that, while evolving in fundamental ways, is healthy and creative. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Legislating Stock Prices

This paper examines the importance of firms' relationships with their legal and political environment, and the actors who form this environment. Governments pass laws that affect firms' competitive landscape, products, labor force, and capital, both directly and indirectly. And yet, it remains difficult to determine which firms any given piece of legislation will affect, and how it will affect them. By observing the actions of legislators whose constituents are the affected firms, the authors gather insights into the likely impact of government legislation on firms. Specifically, the authors demonstrate that legislation has a simple yet previously undetected impact on firm prices. Read More

When Good Incentives Lead to Bad Decisions

New research by Associate Professor Shawn A. Cole, Martin Kanz, and Leora Klapper explores how various compensation incentives affect lending decisions among bank loan officers. They find that incentives have the power to change not only how we make decisions, but how we perceive reality. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Unobserved State Fragility and the Political Transfer Problem

This paper describes how the dynamics of unobserved state fragility may generate negative consequences for other countries. Ahmed and Werker argue for the theoretical possibility that autocrats experiencing a windfall in unearned income may find it optimal to donate some of the windfall away in order to make the state less attractive a prize to a potential insurgent. Additionally, recipients of the aid may themselves become more repressive with high aid and fall into conflict with lower levels of aid. These joint phenomena make up what the authors term the political transfer problem. The largest windfall in unearned income of the 20th century, the period from 1973-85 during which oil prices were at all-time highs, produced political dynamics consistent with this model. Read More

Off and Running: Professors Comment on Olympics

The most difficult challenge at The Olympics is the behind-the-scenes efforts to actually get them up and running. Is it worth it? HBS professors Stephen A. Greyser, John D. Macomber, and John T. Gourville offer insights into the business behind the games. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

How Technology Adoption Affects Global Economies

In a series of research papers, Associate Professor Diego A. Comin and colleagues investigated the relationship between technology adoption and per capita income. They found that the rate at which nations adopted new tools hundreds of years ago strongly affects whether those nations are rich or poor today. Closed for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Penn State Lesson: Today’s Cover-Up was Yesterday’s Opportunity

While leaders may rationalize that a cover-up protects the interests of their organizations, the inevitable damage harms their institutions far more than acknowledging a mistake, says professor Bill George. Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

HBS Faculty on Supreme Court Health Care Ruling

We asked three Harvard Business School faculty members, all experts in the health care field, to provide their views on various facets of one of this country's most important and complex problems. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Leviathan in Business: Varieties of State Capitalism and their Implications for Economic Performance

State capitalism, the widespread influence of the government in the economy, still looms large in developed and developing countries after over two decades of extensive state reform and privatization. Research by Aldo Musacchio and Sergio G. Lazzarini documents the extent and reach of state capitalism around the world and explores the economic implications of these new forms of state capitalism. There are three key arguments: First, state capitalism in the twenty-first century combines majority ownership of state-owned enterprises with a hybrid form that includes minority equity investments as well as other forms of support for private firms (such as subsidized loans). Second, all of those forms are present around the world, both in rich and poor countries, and in most cases they co-exist. Although some countries appear to have a prevalence of the minority investor mode while other countries emphasize the majority mode, in most cases the two modes jointly occur. Third, the emergence of those modes is explained by a host of environmental, political, and historical factors; and the economic performance of each mode depends on certain contingencies that should affect their benefits and costs, such as the economic distortions that they may generate. Read More

Collaborating Across Cultures

Learning to collaborate creatively with people from other cultures is a vital skill in today's business environment, says professor Roy Y.J. Chua, whose research focuses on a key measure psychologists have dubbed "cultural metacognition." Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: A Startup Takes On the Credit Ratings Giants

Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor's dominated the credit ratings industry for decades. Could the recession weaken their hold? Professor Bo Becker discusses his case on super startup Kroll. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

When Business Competition Harms Society

In highly competitive markets, many firms are likely to bend the rules if doing so will keep their customers from leaving for a rival, according to new research by professor Michael W. Toffel and colleagues. Case in point: service stations that cheat on auto emissions testing. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Location Choices Under Strategic Interactions

How do firms decide their location when expanding geographically? This paper explores how strategic interaction among competitors affects firms' geographic expansion across time and markets. HBS professor Juan Alcacer builds a model in which two firms that differ in their capabilities enter sequentially into two markets with different potentials for profit. The model is solved using game theory under three learning scenarios that capture the ability of a firm to transfer its capabilities across markets: no learning, local learning, and global learning. Three equilibrium strategies emerge: accommodate, marginalize, and collocate. Alcacer identifies how these strategies are more or less likely to emerge depending on three parameters: initial relative firm capabilities, relative market profitability, and learning rates. For managers, the paper illustrates different ways that firms can use location choices across time and geographic markets as a tool to enhance or preserve their competitive position within an industry. Read More

Conflict Policy and Advertising Agency-Client Relations: The Problem of Competing Clients Sharing a Common Agency

This paper takes a fresh look at a recurring and often contentious issue in agency-client relations: Should an advertising agency simultaneously serve competing accounts or should the agency be restricted from doing so? Professor Alvin J. Silk traces the evolution and current state of industry practices with respect to conflict norms and policies; reviews the body of conceptual and empirical research that is available about the sources and consequences of conflicts, and outlines some directions for future research to address unresolved policy issues. Read More

Creating a Venture Ecosystem in Brazil: FINEP’s INOVAR Project

Since the mid-1990s, several groups in Brazil have been working on developing an indigenous venture capital ecosystem, largely to stimulate the establishment of innovative companies and help them gain access to capital. In 2000, the Brazilian government's Agency for Innovation (Financiadora de Estudos e Projectos, or FINEP), with support from the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), unveiled INOVAR, a program to address these needs. In the 12 years since INOVAR's debut, the program has had two iterations and has been recognized as a role model for government efforts to stimulate a VC ecosystem. In this paper, Ann Leamon and Josh Lerner present a brief background on private equity in both Latin America and Brazil, then explore the genesis of INOVAR (Innovation), the details of the program, and its results. They conclude with challenges to be addressed. Read More

OSHA Inspections: Protecting Employees or Killing Jobs?

As the federal agency responsible for enforcing workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is often at the center of controversy. Associate Professor Michael W. Toffel and colleague David I. Levine report surprising findings about randomized government inspections. Closed for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Can Decades of Military Overspending be Fixed?

Costs tend to rise in all organizations unless managers and their staffs have the motivation and skill to control them. Professor emeritus J. Ronald Fox analyzes this phenomenon during 50 years of US military overspending. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

India’s Ambitious National Identification Program

The Unique Identification Authority of India has been charged with implementing a nationwide program to register and assign a unique 12-digit ID to every Indian resident—some 1.2 billion people—by 2020. In a new case, Professor Tarun Khanna and HBS India Research Center Executive Director Anjali Raina discuss the complexities of this massive data management project. Closed for comment; 30 Comments posted.

Is India’s Manufacturing Sector Moving Away from Cities?

One of the biggest challenges in development is urbanization. Within developing countries, nearly two billion people are expected to move from rural regions into cities in the next two decades. This paper closely examines the movement of economic activity in Indian manufacturing between urban and rural areas. The authors find that while the organized sector is becoming less urbanized, the unorganized sector is becoming more urbanized. This process has been most closely linked to greater urbanization changes in districts with high education levels; a second role is often evident for public infrastructure as well. On the whole, these urbanization changes have modestly improved the urban-rural allocation of industries within India's districts. Read More

HBS Cases: Who Controls Water?

In a recent field study seminar, Professor Forest L. Reinhardt discussed the case "Woolf Farming & Processing," which illustrates how access to water—a basic building block of agriculture—is affected by everything from complex government-mandated requirements to a 3-inch endangered bait fish. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

The High Risks of Short-Term Management

A new study looks at the risks for companies and investors who are attracted to short-term results. Research by Harvard Business School's Francois Brochet, Maria Loumioti, and George Serafeim. Closed for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Who Sways the USDA on GMO Approvals?

Government agencies can be "captured" by the very companies or industries they regulate. Looking at how genetically altered food products are approved, Assistant Professor Shon R. Hiatt finds unexpected influencers on the US Department of Agriculture. Open for comment; 15 Comments posted.

Clear and Present Danger: Planning and New Venture Survival Amid Political and Civil Violence

Strategy theory often takes for granted the role of state institutions in providing stable, predictable environments in which new firms are founded. Yet, many states around the world (such as Iraq, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) lack political institutions of sufficient strength to ensure personal safety and public order, thereby creating environments where civil and political violence can ferment. This paper explores the impact of such violence on new venture processes. Results show that comprehensive planning was negatively correlated with venture survival in such environments. While there are implications for strategy theory, the study is also relevant to entrepreneurs and organizations promoting new venture planning in less-developed countries, particularly those experiencing political and civil turmoil. Currently, prospective entrepreneurs are taught the importance of business planning by both universities and non-governmental organizations that offer entrepreneurial training. But this study suggests that such training will have mixed effects on new venture survival, depending on the extent to which these entrepreneurs pursue ventures in violent and uncertain environments. In such contexts where governments fail to maintain public safety and order, these training programs may actually increase the likelihood of new venture failure. Read More

An Exploration of Luxury Hotels in Tanzania

Tanzania is justly famous for its incredible natural landmarks such as the Rift Valley, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Mount Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, and, above all, the Serengeti and the Great Migration. Why, despite being so richly endowed in touristic resources, does Tanzania receive relatively few tourists and little revenue from tourism? Diego Comin explored the drivers and influencing factors on the size of the tourism sector, using as a starting point the abnormally high prices of upscale hotels in Tanzania, especially in the safari areas. Findings suggest that the cost of supplying upscale hotel services is not sufficient to explain the abnormally high prices, and the more likely candidate is high markups. Interviews with hotel managers supported this conclusion. In addition, while cross-country differences in demand are large, once we control for these differences, discrepancies in upscale hotel prices account for a significant share of cross-country differences in demand, and cross-country differences in demand are very persistent. On the basis of the role of word-of-mouth, learning by doing, and pecuniary externalities in driving differences in demand, there may be room for the Tanzanian government to induce lower hotel prices and to try to independently increase the foreign perception of the country's attractiveness. Read More

Finding the Right Jeremy Lin Storyline

New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin is confounding every stereotype we have about modern day basketball stars. Professor Lakshmi Ramarajan suggests that Lin's complex storylines can help us put our own prejudices in focus. Closed for comment; 7 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Overcoming the Stress of ‘Englishnization’

CEOs of global companies increasingly mandate that their employees learn English. The problem: these workers can experience a loss of status and believe they aren't as effective in their learned language, says Assistant Professor Tsedal Neeley. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

Crowded at the Top: The Rise of the Functional Manager

It's not lonely at the top anymore—today's CEO has an average of 10 direct reports, according to new research by Julie M. Wulf, Maria Guadalupe, and Hongyi Li. Thank a dramatic increase in the number of "functional" managers for crowding in the C-suite. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Customer-Driven Misconduct: How Competition Corrupts Business Practices

Competition is typically thought to generate many positive outcomes including lower prices and higher productivity. But competition can also lead firms to increase quality for their customers in ways that are both illegal and socially costly. This paper examines the impact of competition on the vehicle emissions testing market, and finds that firm misconduct increases with competitive pressure and the threat of losing customers to rival firms. These results have serious implications for policy makers and managers. This paper is among the first to empirically demonstrate that increased competition can motivate firms to provide illicit quality to avoid losing business. Read More

Unplugged: What Happened to the Smart Grid?

Replacing the antiquated electrical system in the United States with a super-efficient smart grid always seemed a surefire opportunity for entrepreneurs. So what went wrong? asks Professor Rebecca M. Henderson. Open for comment; 14 Comments posted.

Big BRICs, Weak Foundations: The Beginning of Public Elementary Education in Brazil, Russia, India, and China

Economists have argued that the "Great Divergence" between the developed and underdeveloped world in the nineteenth century was reinforced—if not caused—by rapid improvements in schooling that occurred in the advanced economies. Explaining differences in economic development today may hinge on understanding why most societies failed to develop adequate primary education in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This study sheds new light on the comparative experiences of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) during the formative years of their primary education systems. Read More

Is JC Penney’s Makeover the Future of Retailing?

The stuffy department store chain has become emboldened under new CEO Ron Johnson, with plans for an innovative store upgrade, simplified prices, and a brand polish. Professor Rajiv Lal discusses whether Johnson can repeat his previous magic at Apple and Target. Closed for comment; 45 Comments posted.

Nitin Nohria: Why US Competitiveness Matters

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria discusses the multidimensional quality of the American competitiveness problem, and why it matters to all. Read More

Learning from My Success and From Others’ Failure: Evidence from Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

The importance of failure in the learning process is well recognized. In organizations as work grows increasingly fragmented—more specialized and divided into smaller tasks—the role of individuals in organizational learning becomes more important. This paper examines how individuals learn directly from their own past experience, and indirectly from the past experience of others. Focusing on one particular performance outcome, the quality of surgeries, findings indicate that individuals learn the most from their own successes and the failures of others, possibly because in both cases they attribute the outcomes to internal rather than external factors. This research has implications for healthcare and organizations more generally. Research by KC Diwas, Bradley R. Staats, and Francesca Gino. Read More

Kodak: A Parable of American Competitiveness

When American companies shift pieces of their operations overseas, they run the risk of moving the expertise, innovation, and new growth opportunities just out of their reach as well, explains HBS Professor Willy Shih, who served as president of Eastman Kodak's digital imaging business for several years. Open for comment; 32 Comments posted.

Once a Castle, Home is Now a Debtors’ Prison

Forget the notion of the home as "castle." Twenty-two percent of Americans owe more on their mortgages than the value of their homes. Nicolas P. Retsinas offers ideas for how these "debtors' prisons" can be turned into productive housing. Closed for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Is Support for Small Business Misplaced?

Summing Up Is small business overhyped as a panacea for our economic troubles? Jim Heskett's readers don't think so. Closed for comment; 35 Comments posted.

Measuring the Efficacy of the World’s Managers

Over the past seven years, Harvard Business School's Raffaella Sadun and a team of researchers have interviewed managers at some 10,000 organizations in 20 countries. The goal: to determine how and why management practices differ vastly in style and quality not only across nations, but also across various organizations and industries. Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Who Lives in the C-Suite? Organizational Structure and the Division of Labor in Top Management

The size of a CEO's executive team has increased dramatically in recent decades, but little has been known about its composition. Using a rich dataset of US firms from 1986 to 2006, this paper documents the dramatic increase in the number of functional managers in the executive team. The size of the team in these firms doubled over the time period from five to 10 positions, with approximately three-fourths of the increase attributable to functional managers (such as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and so on) rather than general managers. The paper explores the drivers of these changes. Findings are critical for practitioners, and specifically CEOs, as they structure their executive teams and more generally as they make decisions to implement or execute strategy. Read More

A Few Firms Have Outsized Influence in D.C.

New research by Harvard Business School Associate Professor William R. Kerr suggests the number of companies affecting government policy through lobbying may be smaller—but more powerful—than previously thought. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

What Do Development Banks Do? Evidence from Brazil, 2002-2009

Private firms in developed and developing markets find themselves competing with the so-called "national champions"—private and state-owned enterprises that receive entitlements, mostly trade protections and/or subsidized credit from the government. Most of these national champions get support by proposing long-term projects with large capital investment that would usually not be easy to fund using private capital. This paper, written by Research by Sergio G. Lazzarini, Aldo Musacchio, Rodrigo Bandeira-de-Mello, and Rosilene Marcon, uses evidence from Brazil to look at what happens to firm performance, investment, and financial expenditures when companies get subsidized credit from the Brazilian National Bank of Economic and Social Development, known as BNDES. Read More

Income Inequality and Social Preferences for Redistribution and Compensation Differentials

Market-based factors have substantially increased inequality in the United States over the last three decades. If the inequality caused by these mechanisms reduces social preferences regarding distributive equality, the inequality can become amplified and entrenched. The potential thus exists for the formation of a "vicious cycle" where increases in disparity weaken concern for wage equality or redistribution. This weakened concern affords greater future compensation differentials, a shrinking of the welfare state, and so on that further increase inequality and again shift preferences. Alternatively, changes in social preferences can counteract inequality increases. William Kerr characterizes how changes in inequality affect social attitudes towards government-led redistribution and compensation differentials. The results of this study provide mixed evidence regarding the vicious-cycle hypothesis. Kerr's findings suggest that social preferences regarding inequality adjust to desire more redistribution while allowing greater labor market inequality. Read More

Beyond Heroic Entrepreneurs

Research in progress by Harvard Business School's Julie Battilana and Matthew Lee reveals that a large number of social entrepreneurs are focused on local rather than global change, and on sustainable funding. Closed for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Private Meetings of Public Companies Thwart Disclosure Rules

Despite a federal regulation, executives at public firms still spend a great deal of time in private powwows with hedge fund managers. Eugene F. Soltes and David H. Solomon suggest that such meetings give these investors unfair advantage. Closed for comment; 5 Comments posted.

The Evolving Basis for Legitimacy of the World Trade Organization: Dispute Settlement and the Rebalancing of Global Interests

The WTO is reconfiguring people's relationships to goods and services by facilitating trade and the consequent conversion of goods and ideas into property, including ones previously gifted or kept local. Unsurprisingly, there has been considerable opposition from the losers in the free trade system and attendant challenges to the legitimacy of the WTO. Arthur Daemmrich argues that understandings of legitimacy change over time, especially as organizations like the WTO interact with organized interests, including member countries and outside NGOs. He provides a brief history of the WTO as an organizational entity managing the institution of free trade, and a case study of a lengthy international trade dispute between Brazil and the United States over agricultural subsidies generally and cotton subsidies in particular. At the WTO, he writes, an important shift has taken place from the strategy of building organizational legitimacy through expanding membership to institutional deepening via the dispute process. Thus the WTO has become one of a few key sites for working out how knowledge claims will be formulated, framed, and validated on the international level. Read More

Climbing the Great Wall of Trust

New research from Assistant Professor Roy Y.J. Chua investigates the difficulties for foreigners doing business in China, and what they can do to overcome the challenge. Closed for comment; 20 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Clocky, the Runaway Alarm Clock

There had not been an innovative breakthrough in alarm clock design since the snooze button until entrepreneur Gauri Nanda created Clocky. Her runaway hit has been the inspiration for several cases written by Professor Elie Ofek. Closed for comment; 8 Comments posted.

Are There Too Many Safe Securities? Securitization and the Incentives for Information Production

Markets for near-riskless securities have suffered numerous shutdowns in the last 40 years, with the recent financial crisis the most prominent example. This suggests that instability could be a general characteristic of such markets, not just a one-time problem associated with the subprime mortgage crisis. Professors Samuel G. Hanson and Adi Sunderam argue that the infrastructure and organization of professional investors are in part determined by the menu of securities offered by originators. Since robust infrastructure is a public good to originators, it may be underprovided in the private market equilibrium. The individually rational decisions of originators may lead to an infrastructure that is overly prone to disruptions in bad times. Policies regulating originator capital structure decisions may help create a more robust infrastructure. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

What Impedes Oil and Gas Companies’ Transparency?

Oil and gas companies face asset expropriations and corruption by foreign governments in many of the countries where they operate. In addition, most of these companies operate in multiple host countries. What determines their disclosure of business activities and hence transparency? Paul Healy, Venkat Kuppuswamy, and George Serafeim examine three forms of disclosure costs that oil and gas managers could potentially consider. Both the US government and the European Union are currently considering laws that would require oil and gas companies to disclose information about operations in host countries. Read More

Greater Fiscal Integration Best Solution for Euro Crisis

Ministers and central bankers are working to solve the debt crisis that threatens the European integration project. Is there hope? There is reason to be optimistic, according to Harvard Business School's Dante Roscini, a former investment banker. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Local Industrial Structures and Female Entrepreneurship in India

Despite its recent economic advances, India's gender balance for entrepreneurship remains among the lowest in the world. Improving this balance is an important step for India's achievement of greater economic growth and gender equality. This paper uses detailed micro-data on the unorganized manufacturing and services sectors of India in 2000-2005 to identify and quantify the importance of existing female business networks for promoting subsequent entrepreneurship among women at the district-industry-year level. Read More

Rethinking the Fairness of Organ Transplants

Because of an organ shortage, hundreds or even thousands of people miss out on needed organ transplants each year. Business researchers at Harvard and MIT are rethinking how kidney transplants are allocated to give patients longer lives. An interview with professor Nikolaos Trichakis. Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

The Organization of Firms Across Countries

Economists have been paying increasing attention to the role that culture plays in a firm's overall performance. This paper focuses on how trust—a key cultural factor—affects firms' decision-making process, size, and productivity. Research was conducted by Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University, Rafaella Sadun of the Harvard Business School, and John Van Reenen of the London School of Economics. Read More

Caste and Entrepreneurship in India

Has India's political revolution been accompanied by corresponding changes in the economic sphere? This paper argues that for the most vulnerable, whether in villages or cities, the social structure has not changed. While Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and traditionally "middle-level" castes have made significant progress at the level of political representation in independent India, their progress in entrepreneurship has been uneven. By looking at the ownership of enterprises across the country, this paper sheds light on two larger narratives about India's emerging political economy: first, that the rich have benefitted more than the poor, the towns and cities more than the villages, and the upper castes more than the lower castes has acquired salience in several quarters. And second, that "Dalit entrepreneurship," a category conspicuous by its absence in India's business history, has become a significant trend. Findings by Lakshmi Iyer, Tarun Khanna, and Ashutosh Varshney show that while the "middle-level" castes have made progress in entrepreneurship, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are considerably under-represented in the entrepreneurial sphere. That is, for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, political gains have not manifested themselves in greater entrepreneurial prowess. Read More

The Dynamics of Firm Lobbying

Lobbying is a primary avenue through which firms attempt to change policy in the United States, with total expenditures outnumbering campaign contributions by a factor of nine. While lobbying by businesses is a frequently debated issue, there has been little systematic empirical evidence on these behaviors at the firm level. This paper is one of the first to begin to fill this gap. To do so, the researchers constructed an empirical model of lobbying behavior of publicly traded, US-headquartered firms between 1998 and 2006. They also looked in depth at a specific policy shift that has been the subject of significant public debate: the dramatic decline in the limit on H-1B visas that occurred in 2004. Findings show that the decline in the limit on H-1Bs did not induce new firms to lobby that were not previously lobbying on other issues. The decline did, however, significantly shift lobbying resources towards high-skilled immigration issues amongst firms that had lobbied previously for other issues. Moreover, the manner in which this shift occurs among firms already lobbying indicates little constraint on adjustments across issues important for firms. Read More

Creating a Global Business Code

In the wake of corporate scandals, many companies are looking more closely at how to manage business conduct worldwide. Realizing the complexity of this issue, Harvard Business School professors Rohit Deshpandé, Lynn S. Paine, and Joshua D. Margolis decided to evaluate standards of corporate conduct around the world—one of the most daunting research projects the three faculty have undertaken. Open for comment; 9 Comments posted.

Spatial Determinants of Entrepreneurship in India

In South Asia, which regional traits encourage local entrepreneurship? While multiple studies have considered this question in advanced economies, especially for the manufacturing sector, there has been very little empirical evidence for developing countries like India. While India has historically had low entrepreneurship rates, this weakness is improving and will be an important stepping stone to further development. In this paper, the authors explore the spatial determinants of local entrepreneurship in India for both manufacturing and services. At the district level, their strongest evidence points to the roles that local education levels and physical infrastructure quality play in promoting entry. They also find evidence that strict labor regulations discourage formal sector entry, and better household banking environments encourage entry in the unorganized sector. The paper then evaluates how incumbent industrial structures of cities shape the type of entrants that emerge in local areas. Startups are more frequent for a city in industries that share common labor needs or have customer-supplier relationships with the city's incumbent businesses. This is among the first studies to quantify the spatial determinants of entrepreneurship in India. Moreover, it moves beyond manufacturing to consider services, which are very important for India's economic growth. Read More

HBS Cases: Making Lincoln Center Cool Again

When Reynold Levy took over as president of New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, he faced challenges ranging from crumbling buildings to an aging customer base. How could the venerable institution get its high notes back? Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

CEO Bonus Plans: And How to Fix Them

Discussions about incentives for CEOs in the United States begin, and often end, with equity-based compensation. After all, stock options and (more recently) grants of restricted stock have comprised the bulk of CEO pay since the mid-1990s, and the changes in CEO wealth due to changes in company stock prices dwarf wealth changes from any other source. Too often overlooked in the discussion, however, is the role of annual and multiyear bonus plans—based on accounting or other non-equity-based performance measures—in rewarding and directing the activities of CEOs and other executives. In this paper, Kevin J. Murphy and Michael C. Jensen describe many of the problems associated with traditional executive bonus plans, and offer suggestions for how these plans can be vastly improved. The paper includes recommendations and guidelines for improving both the governance and design of executive bonus plans and, more broadly, executive compensation policies, processes, and practices. The paper is a draft of a chapter in Jensen, Murphy, and Wruck (2012), CEO Pay and What to Do About it: Restoring Integrity to both Executive Compensation and Capital-Market Relations, forthcoming from Harvard Business School Press. Read More

The Forgotten Book that Helped Shape the Modern Economy

A British merchant's long-forgotten work, An Essay on the State of England, could lead to a rethinking of how modern economies developed in Europe and America, and add historical perspective on the proper relationship between government and business. An interview with business historian Sophus A. Reinert. Open for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Fairness, Efficiency, and Flexibility in Organ Allocation for Kidney Transplantation

For many people who suffer end-stage renal disease, a kidney transplant is considered a potentially life-saving gift. Allocation policies for kidneys from deceased donors are thus of central importance and have to accomplish major objectives in alleviating human suffering, prolonging life, and providing nondiscriminatory, fair, and equal access to organs for all patients. In this paper, the authors focused on national allocation policies in the United States and the recent effort to revise the current policy. Their design of a national allocation policy focuses on perhaps the simplest, most common and currently used priority method, namely a point system. They also present four case studies in which they designed new policies under different scenarios. Read More

Chasing Stars: Why the Mighty Red Sox Struck Out

When the Red Sox announced they had signed away veteran pitcher John Lackey from the Anaheim Angels, it was the start of one of the most expensive talent hunts in baseball history. So why were the Red Sox an epic failure in 2011? Lackey's lackluster performance is a case study in the perils of chasing superstars, says Professor Boris Groysberg. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

The Yelp Factor: Are Consumer Reviews Good for Business?

In a new study, Assistant Professor Michael Luca shows just how much restaurant reviews on Yelp affect companies' bottom lines. The more difficult question: Are these ratings reliable as a measure of product quality? Closed for comment; 14 Comments posted.

Designing Cities for a Sustainable Future

The city of the past is likely not the city of the future—climate change is bringing an end to the traditional model. Harvard Business School faculty are thinking along with government leaders and business practitioners about how to create sustainable places to live and work. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

Historical Trajectories and Corporate Competences in Wind Energy

Analyzing developments in the wind turbine business over more than a century, Geoffrey Jones and Loubna Bouamane argue that public policy has been a key variable in the spread of wind energy since the 1980s, but that public policy was more of a problem than a facilitator in the earlier history of the industry. Geography has mattered to some extent, also: Both in the United States and Denmark, the existence of rural areas not supplied by electricity provided the initial stimulus to entrepreneurs and innovators. Building firm-level capabilities has been essential in an industry which has been both technically difficult and vulnerable to policy shifts. Read More

How ‘Hybrid’ Nonprofits Can Stay on Mission

As nonprofits add more for-profit elements to their business models, they can suffer mission drift. Associate Professor Julie Battilana says hybrid organizations can stay on target if they focus on two factors: the employees they hire and the way they socialize those employees. Open for comment; 14 Comments posted.

US Healthcare Reform and the Pharmaceutical Industry

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will restructure the US health care market in the coming years. For the pharmaceutical industry, the ACA is likely to prove a mixed blessing. In this paper, Assistant Professor Arthur Daemmrich analyzes the political economy of health care, specifically concerning health care reform. He then considers how the ACA will affect the pharmaceutical sector, both quantitatively in terms of the size of the prescription drug market and qualitatively in terms of industry structure and competitive dynamics. Daemmrich also places the current reforms into historical context and describes the political negotiations that enabled passage of the ACA. Read More

The Steve Jobs Legacy

Harvard Business School faculty offer their perspectives on the legendary career of Steve Jobs, who remade several industries even as he changed how we use technology. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Measuring Teamwork in Health Care Settings: A Review of Survey Instruments

It is critical to accurately assess teamwork in health-care organizations. About 60 percent of primary-care practices in the United States use team-based models to coordinate work across the broad spectrum of health professionals needed to deliver quality care; in many other countries the percentage is almost 100 percent. While the benefits of effective teamwork are substantial, effective teamwork is often lacking in these settings, with negative consequences for patients. To date, little has been known about the survey instruments available to measure teamwork. In this paper Valentine, Nembhard, and Edmondson report the results of their systematic review of survey instruments that have been used to measure teamwork in various contexts. Their research helps to identify existing teamwork scales that may be most useful in testing theoretical models. Read More

Doomsday Coming for Catastrophic Risk Insurers?

Insurance "reinsurers" underwrite much of the catastrophic risk insurance taken out to protect against huge disasters natural and man-made. Problem is, says Professor Kenneth A. Froot, reinsurers themselves are in danger of failing from a major catastrophic event. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Ethnic Innovation and US Multinational Firm Activity

What effects do immigrant scientists and engineers have on the global activities of the firms that employ them? To what extent do these high-skilled immigrants help US multinationals capitalize on foreign opportunities? Professors Foley and Kerr analyze key data concerning US patents, direct investment abroad, research and development, and the ownership structure of firms. They show that immigration enhances the competitiveness of US multinationals. Taken together, the results have implications for immigration policies. Many debates about immigration focus on the potentially deleterious impact of low wage immigrants on the domestic workforce. However, Foley and Kerr point out that immigrants who are skilled enough to engage in innovative activity generate benefits for firms that are seeking to do business abroad. Read More

The Untold Story of ‘Green’ Entrepreneurs

The history of entrepreneurs in green industries is largely unwritten, a fact that Harvard Business School business historian Geoffrey Jones is trying to remedy. In a new paper, Jones explores the edge-of-society pioneers who created the wind turbine industry. Open for comment; 16 Comments posted.

Improving Fairness in Flight Delays

Airlines and the FAA don't like flight delays any more than passengers, but what's to be done? Assistant Professor Douglas Fearing and colleagues propose a "fairness" system that could save travelers time and service providers millions of dollars annually. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Decoding Insider Information and Other Secrets of Old School Chums

Associate Professors Lauren H. Cohen and Christopher J. Malloy study how social connections affect important decisions and, ultimately, how those connections help shape the economy. Their research shows that it's possible to make better stock picks simply by knowing whether two industry players went to the same college or university. What's more, knowing whether two congressional members share an alma mater can help predict the outcome of pending legislation on the Senate floor. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

The Globalization of Corporate Environmental Disclosure: Accountability or Greenwashing?

Between 2005 and 2008, the world saw a dramatic increase in corporate environmental reporting. Yet this transition toward greater transparency and accountability has occurred unevenly across countries and industries. Findings by professors Christopher Marquis and Michael W. Toffel provide the first systematic evidence of how the global environmental movement affects corporations' environmental management practices. Firms' use of symbolic compliance strategies, for instance, is affected by specific corporate characteristics and by institutional context. This study contributes to a larger body of research on the effects of global social movements and environmental reporting. Read More

Business Plan Contest: 15 Years of Building Better Entrepreneurs

Since 1997, Hundreds of student-entrepreneurs have tested their ideas at Harvard Business School's annual Business Plan Contest. Here is what they have learned about success, failure, and themselves. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Protecting against the Pirates of Bollywood

Hollywood's earnings in India have largely been disappointing. Professor Lakshmi Iyer believes the problem has more to do with intellectual pirates than the cinematic kind. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Managing Political Risk in Global Business: Beiersdorf 1914-1990

After the outbreak of World War 1, management of political risk became a central concern for firms, especially those operating internationally. These risks were on many levels, from expropriation to exchange controls and other economic policies. German firms, which had flourished during the second industrial revolution of the late nineteenth century, and enthusiastically expanded internationally, found themselves especially exposed to such risks. Focusing on one such firm, Beiersdorf, a German-based pharmaceutical and skin care company (and, during the Nazi years, a so-called Jewish business), the authors examine corporate strategies of political risk management during the twentieth century, especially the volatile years of Nazi Germany. The history of Beiersdorf highlights areas of managerial discretion. Faced by the worst of all worlds, the firm survived and was able, albeit at great cost, to rebuild its business. Read More

The International Politics of IFRS Harmonization

Contrary to its staid image in popular culture, accounting has reigned at the forefront of globalization over the last decade. As of 2010, about 100 countries, including all of the world's major economies, either have adopted a common set of accounting principles known as International Financial Reporting Standards, have initiated an IFRS harmonization program, or have in place a national strategy to respond to IFRS. In fact, the proliferation of IFRS worldwide is one of the most important developments in corporate governance today. Through a series of case studies on Canada, China, and India, Assistant Professor Karthik Ramanna analyzes key similarities and differences in the international political dynamics that contribute to countries' responses to IFRS. His framework helps explain and predict countries' decisions on IFRS harmonization, as well as the potential structure and impact of IFRS in the future. Read More

HBS Faculty Views on Debt Crisis

In the midst of the US debt crisis, Harvard Business School faculty offer their views on what went wrong and what needs to be done to right the US ship of state. Open for comment; 27 Comments posted.

The Death of the Global Manager

The "global manager" was a coveted job description sought by many leaders for many years, but times have changed—now we are all global managers, says Harvard Business School professor emeritus Christopher A. Bartlett, coauthor of the classic business book Transnational Management. He reexamines the ever-changing nature of running multinational corporations while confirming that, six editions and 20 years later, some challenges remain the same. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

To Groupon or Not to Groupon: The Profitability of Deep Discounts

For consumers, online discount vouchers (like those offered by Groupon.com) have obvious appeal: discounts as large as 90 percent. But for retailers offering the deals through the site, does the publicity compensate for the deep hit to profit margins? This paper sets out to help small businesses decide whether it makes sense to offer discount vouchers. Research was conducted by Harvard Business School professor Ben Edelman, Business Economics PhD candidate Scott Duke Kominers, and by Sonia Jaffe of the Harvard University Department of Economics. Read More

Immigrant Innovators: Job Stealers or Job Creators?

The H-1B visa program, which enables US employers to hire highly skilled foreign workers for three years, is "a lightning rod for a very heated debate," says Harvard Business School professor William Kerr. His latest research addresses the question of whether the program is good for innovation, and whether it impacts jobs for Americans. Open for comment; 36 Comments posted.

Rupert Murdoch and the Seeds of Moral Hazard

Harvard Business School faculty Michel Anteby, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, and Robert Steven Kaplan explore the moral, ethical, and leadership issues behind Rupert Murdoch's News of the World fiasco. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Poultry in Motion: A Study of International Trade Finance Practices

When engaging in international trade, exporters must decide which financing terms to use in their transactions. Should they ask the importers to pay for goods before they are loaded for shipment, ask them to pay after the goods have arrived at their destination, or should they use some form of bank intermediation like a letter of credit? In this paper, Pol Antràs and C. Fritz Foley investigate this question by analyzing detailed data on the activities of a single US-based firm that exports frozen and refrigerated food products, primarily poultry. The data cover roughly $7 billion in sales to more than 140 countries over the 1996-2009 period and contain comprehensive information on the financing terms used in each transaction. Read More

Experimental Researcher Helps Improve Health Care in Zambia

In seven years of field work in Zambia, Africa, professor Nava Ashraf's work is helping get low-cost health care products and services to the people who need them most. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Closed for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Non-competes Push Talent Away

California is among several states where non-compete agreements are essentially illegal. Is it a coincidence that so many inventors flock to Silicon Valley? New research by Lee Fleming, Matt Marx, and Jasjit Singh investigates whether there is a "brain drain" of talented engineers and scientists who leave states that allow non-competes and move to states that don't. Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

Making the Case for Consumer-Driven Health Care

Even as so-called Obamacare becomes a central issue in the 2012 presidential election, policymakers and academics continue the debate on how best to deliver affordable and efficient health care services to millions of Americans. In this video interview, professor Regina Herzlinger makes the case that consumers should have more say over their own care. Open for comment; 19 Comments posted.

KFC’s Explosive Growth in China

In China, Yum! Brands is opening a KFC store every day. But this is not the KFC you know in America. A recent case study written by professor David Bell and Agribusiness Program director Mary Shelman reveals how the chicken giant adapted its famous fast-food formula for the local market. Closed for comment; 22 Comments posted.

Mobile Banking for the Unbanked

A billion people in developing countries have no need for a savings account–but they do need a financial service that banks compete to provide. The new HBS case Mobile Banking for the Unbanked, written by professor Kash Rangan, is a lesson in understanding the real need of customers. Closed for comment; 27 Comments posted.

Twenty-first Century Skill: Trading Carbon Credits

As cap and trade becomes an increasingly popular mechanism for governments to cut corporate pollution, students at Harvard Business School use a simulation to learn how it works. An interview with professor Peter Coles. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Is it Time for a National Bankruptcy?

Summing Up Is a national bankruptcy a tragedy or a needed lesson in fiscal reform? Jim Heskett's readers ponder the implications of a country going insolvent. Closed for comment; 47 Comments posted.

Japan Disaster Shakes Up Supply-Chain Strategies

The recent natural disaster in Japan brought to light the fragile nature of the global supply chain. Professor Willy Shih discusses how companies should be thinking about their supply-chain strategy now. Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

An Empirical Decomposition of Risk and Liquidity in Nominal and Inflation-Indexed Government Bonds

The yields on US Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) have declined dramatically since they were first issued in 1997. This paper asks to what extent the returns on nominal and inflation-indexed bonds in both the US and the UK can be attributed to differential liquidity and market segmentation or to real interest rate risk and inflation risk. Read More

QuikTrip’s Investment in Retail Employees Pays Off

Instead of treating low-paid staffers as commodities, a new breed of retailers such as QuikTrip assigns them more responsibility and invests in their development, says professor Zeynep Ton. The result? Happy customers and even happier employees. Open for comment; 9 Comments posted.

Leading and Lagging Countries in Contributing to a Sustainable Society

To determine the extent to which corporate and investor behavior is changing to contribute to a more sustainable society, researchers Robert Eccles and George Serafeim analyzed data involving over 2,000 companies in 23 countries. One result: a ranking of countries based on the degree to which their companies integrate environmental and social discussions and metrics in their financial disclosures. Closed for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting: It’s Effective

In a growing trend, countries have begun requiring companies to report their environmental, social, and governance performance. George Serafeim of HBS and Ioannis Ioannou of London Business School set out to find whether this reporting actually induces companies to improve their nonfinancial performance and contribute toward a sustainable society. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Mandatory IFRS Adoption and Financial Statement Comparability

In the past decade, many countries have adopted International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) developed by the International Accounting Standards Board, which has impelled economists to examine the benefits of the standards. This paper discusses how IFRS adoption affects financial reporting comparability—that is, the properties of financial statements that allow users to identify similarities or differences between the economics of different reporting entities over any given period of time. Research was conducted by Francois Brochet and Edward J. Riedl of Harvard Business School, and Alan Jagolinzer of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Read More

The Consequences of Mandatory Corporate Sustainability Reporting

The number of firms reporting sustainability information has grown significantly in the past decade, both due to voluntary actions and to mandates from several national governments and stock exchange authorities. In this paper, London Business School's Ioannis Ioannou and Harvard Business School's George Serafeim investigate whether mandatory sustainability reporting has any effect on a company's tendency to engage in socially responsible management practices. Read More

Building a Better Board

While corporate board members take their jobs more seriously than ever, they are not necessarily as helpful or effective as they could be, says HBS senior lecturer Stephen Kaufman. He recently sat down with HBS Working Knowledge to discuss what he considers to be the biggest practical issues facing boards today. Closed for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Moving From Bean Counter to Game Changer

New research by HBS professor Anette Mikes and colleagues looks into how accountants, finance professionals, internal auditors, and risk managers gain influence in their organizations to become strategic decision makers. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

How ‘Political Voice’ Empowers the Powerless

Women in India often are targets of verbal abuse, discrimination, and violent crimes—crimes that are underreported. Fortunately, an increase in female political representation seems to be giving female crime victims a voice in the criminal justice system, according to new research by Harvard Business School professor Lakshmi Iyer and colleagues. Closed for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Big BRICs, Weak Foundations: The Beginning of Public Elementary Education in Brazil, Russia, India, and China, 1880-1930

In deducing why some nations are more developed than others, it makes sense to look at their educational systems. While comparative studies on the subject focus either on developed nations or on differences between developed and developing economies, this paper hones in four of the largest developing nations at the turn of the twentieth century: Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC). Research was conducted by Aldo Musacchio of Harvard Business School, Laktika Chaundhary of Scripps College, Steven Nafziger of Williams College, and Se Yan of Peking University. Read More

How Do Risk Managers Become Influential? A Field Study of Toolmaking and Expertise in Two Financial Institutions

Most organizations have technical experts on staff—accountants, finance professionals, internal auditors, risk managers-but not all experts are listened to at higher levels. To understand how expert influence on strategic thinking can be increased, Matthew Hall, Anette Mikes, and Yuval Millo followed the organizational transformation of risk experts in two large UK banks. One transformation was successful, the other not. Are your experts merely "box-tickers," or are they influential "frame-makers"? Read More

Casino Payoff: Hands-Off Management Works Best

Micromanagers beware: Research of casino hosts by Harvard Business School's Dennis Campbell and Francisco de Asís Martinez-Jerez and Rice's Marc Epstein makes the case that hands-off management can work to improve employee learning and decision making. Open for comment; 14 Comments posted.

While Waiting for Japan’s Recovery, Let’s Enhance Supplier Competitiveness at Home

The Obama administration and US companies do not have to wait for Japanese suppliers to recover from earthquake damage, argues Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Action can be taken now to ensure that America invests in growing our domestic stock of world-class suppliers. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

HBS Faculty Comment on Environmental Issues for Earth Day

Harvard Business School faculty members offer their views on the many business facets of "going green." Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

What CEOs Do, and How They Can Do it Better

A CEO's schedule is especially important to a firm's financial success, which raises a few questions: What do they do all day? Can they be more efficient time managers? HBS professor Raffaella Sadun and colleagues set out to find some answers. Closed for comment; 67 Comments posted.

Teaching a ‘Lean Startup’ Strategy

Most startups fail because they waste too much time and money building the wrong product before realizing too late what the right product should have been, says HBS entrepreneurial management professor Thomas R. Eisenmann. In his new MBA course, Launching Technology Ventures, Eisenmann introduces students to the idea of the lean startup—a methodology that has proven successful for many young high-tech companies. Closed for comment; 56 Comments posted.

Will the Japan Disaster Remake the Landscape for Green Energy in Asia?

Entrepreneurs at the recent Asia Business Conference at Harvard Business School said the disaster in Japan could accelerate the move toward "green" energy sources in Asia, opening opportunities. Read More

When Should the Public Sector Take Over in a Meltdown?

Summing Up Jim Heskett's readers have wildly differing opinions as to what extent governments should step in to remedy public sector "meltdowns." Closed for comment; 39 Comments posted.

The Power of Political Voice: Women’s Political Representation and Crime in India

Protecting the rights of disadvantaged citizens remains a challenge in both developing and developed countries. These individuals often are targets of verbal abuse, discrimination, and violent crime. Using evidence from India, this paper shows that political representation of disadvantaged groups is an important means of giving them a voice in the criminal justice system. Research was conducted by Lakshmi Iyer of Harvard Business School, Anandi Mani of the University of Warwick, and Prachi Mishra and Petia Topalova of the International Monetary Fund. Read More

Attention Medical Shoppers: What Health Care Can Learn from Walmart and Amazon

At a Harvard Business School panel discussion on health care management, experts looked to the retail industry as a possible model for delivering medical services more effectively. Participants included Harvard's Robert Huckman, Raffaella Sadun, David Cutler, and Atul Gawande. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Reinventing the National Geographic Society

How do you transform a 123-year-old cultural icon and prepare it for the digital world? Slowly, as a new case on the National Geographic Society by professor David Garvin demonstrates. Open for comment; 19 Comments posted.

What Do CEOs Do?

If time is money, as the old adage goes, then a CEO's schedule is especially important to a firm's financial success. This raises a fair question: What do CEOs do all day? To that end, researchers followed the activities of 94 CEOs in Italy over the course of a pre-specified week, enlisting the CEOs' personal assistants to track their bosses' activities with time-use diaries. Research was conducted by Raffaella Sadun of Harvard Business School, Luigi Guiso of the European University Institute, and Oriana Bandiera and Andrea Prat of the London School of Economics. Read More

Why Manufacturing Matters

After decades of outsourcing, America's ability to innovate and create high-tech products essential for future prosperity is on the decline, argue professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih. Is it too late to get it back? From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Open for comment; 44 Comments posted.

Individual Rationality and Participation in Large Scale, Multi-Hospital Kidney Exchanges

As kidney exchange moves from local networks to a national level, a new set of problems arises. One central issue, for example, is how individual hospitals can be motivated to participate. This paper by Itai Ashlagi (Sloan School of Management, MIT) and Alvin E. Roth (Harvard Business School) provides a theoretical framework to study and overcome the kinds of problems that can be anticipated. Read More

Do US Market Interactions Affect CEO Pay? Evidence from UK Companies

CEOs of UK firms receive higher total compensation if their companies have interactions with US product, capital, and labor markets. Moreover, the compensation package is often adopted from American-style arrangements, such as the use of incentive-based pay. Researchers Joseph J. Gerakos (University of Chicago), Joseph D. Piotroski (Stanford), and Suraj Srinivasan (Harvard Business School) analyzed data on the compensation practices of 416 publicly traded UK firms over the period 2002 to 2007. Read More

China’s 60-Year Road from Revolution to World Power

In a new book, The People's Republic of China at 60: An International Assessment, HBS professor William C. Kirby discusses common assumptions about pre-revolutionary China and its development into an economic power. Read More

Harvard Business School Faculty Comment on Crisis in Japan

Harvard Business School faculty share their views and insights about the challenges that lie ahead for Japan's business leaders and for global companies operating there. Closed for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Water, Electricity, and Transportation: Preparing for the Population Boom

By 2050, the world's cities will have to support 3 billion more inhabitants, mostly in developing countries, with crucial investments needed in three areas: water, energy, and transportation. Several of the planet's top city planning and environmental business experts gathered at Harvard Business School earlier this month to discuss available options. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

Keeping Credit Flowing to Consumers in Need

Regulators and policymakers are debating the best ways to revamp our damaged system of consumer and housing finance. The problem: turning the regulatory spigot too tightly could shut off the flow of needed credit to millions of lower-income Americans. A discussion with professor Nicolas P. Retsinas. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

From Social Control to Financial Economics: The Linked Ecologies of Economics and Business in Twentieth Century America

No transformation looks more consequential for the history of American higher education than the extraordinary rise of business schools and business degrees in the twentieth century. Marion Fourcade (UC Berkeley) and Rakesh Khurana (HBS) analyze the changing place of economics in American business education as reflected in the teaching of three elite business schools over the course of the twentieth century: the Wharton School (1900-1930), the Carnegie Tech Graduate School of Industrial Administration (post World War II), and the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago (1960s-present). Read More

HBS Faculty on Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa

The historic events in North Africa and the Middle East are examined by three professors: Deepak Malhotra, an authority on negotiation strategy; Noel Maurer, an expert on the politics and economics of the energy business; and Magnus Thor Torfason, an authority on how behavior is influenced by the social structures of individuals and organizations. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

How Firm Strategies Influence the Architecture of Transaction Networks

In business, an "ecosystem" refers to a group of firms that work together through a series of shared transactions to provide a complex product or service. Using data from the disparate Japanese electronics and automotive sectors, this paper tackles the following questions: Do hierarchies of interfirm transaction networks vary across different ecosystems? What practices explain the difference in hierarchy across these two ecosystems? How do firms' strategies influence hierarchy? And what environmental factors explain the differences in the largest firm's strategies in each ecosystem? Research was conducted by Carliss Y. Baldwin of Harvard Business School and Jianxi Luo, Daniel E. Whitney, and Christopher L. Magee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Read More

How Foundations Think: The Ford Foundation as a Dominating Institution in the Field of American Business Schools

What causes institutions to change? This paper adds organizational and exogenous perspective to existing theories by looking at the idea of "dominating institutions"—a class of formal organizations purposively designed to change other institutions. HBS professor Rakesh Khurana and colleagues look at the Ford Foundation and its work reshaping America's graduate schools of management between 1952 and 1965 through funding of "centers of excellence" at a number of schools, including Harvard Business School. Read More

What’s Government’s Role in Regulating Home Purchase Financing?

The Obama administration recently proposed housing finance reforms to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and bring private capital back to the mortgage markets. HBS professor David Scharfstein and doctoral student Adi Sunderam put forth a proposal to replace Fannie and Freddie and ensure a more stable supply of housing finance. Read More

The Most Important Management Trends of the (Still Young) Twenty-First Century

HBS Dean Nitin Nohria and faculty look backward and forward at the most important business trends of the young twenty-first century. Read More

Leviathan as a Minority Shareholder: A Study of Equity Purchases by the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES), 1995-2003

There is a trend in many developing countries toward governments buying minority stakes in private companies. While there has been ample discussion on the wisdom of such actions, little has been said about how governments can make such interventions work better. This paper aims to fill that void, using data from the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES). Research was conducted by Sergio G. Lazzarini of the Insper Institute of Education and Research, and Aldo Musacchio of Harvard Business School. Read More

Lawful but Corrupt: Gaming and the Problem of Institutional Corruption in the Private Sector

In the business world, "gaming" refers to the act of subverting the intent of rules or laws without technically breaking them--a skillful if unsavory way to achieve private gain. Harvard Business School professor emeritus Malcolm S. Salter explores how gaming the system can lead to institutional corruption, citing examples from Enron and early efforts by some banks to game the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act. Read More

Agglomerative Forces and Cluster Shapes

HBS professor William R. Kerr and doctoral candidate Scott Duke Kominers develop a theoretical model for analyzing the forces that drive agglomeration, or industrial clustering. It is rare that researchers systematically observe the forces like technology sharing, customer/supplier interactions, or labor pooling that lead to firm clustering. Instead, the data only portray the final location decisions that firms make (for example, firms that utilize one type of technology are clustered over 50 miles, while those using another technology are clustered over 100 miles). The researchers' model identifies how these observable traits can be used to infer properties of the underlying clustering forces. Read More

A Brief Postwar History of US Consumer Finance

The growth of the consumer finance sector after World War II provided a bevy of new financial options for Americans. These options led to a "do-it-yourself" approach to consumer finance, and an increase in household risk taking. In this paper, Harvard Business School professors Gunnar Trumbull and Peter Tufano, along with former HBS research associate Andrea Ryan, discuss the major themes that dominated the expansive postwar sector, including some of the factors that set the stage for the recent subprime mortgage crisis. Read More

Terror at the Taj

Under terrorist attack, employees of the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower bravely stayed at their posts to help guests. A new multimedia case by Harvard Business School professor Rohit Deshpandé looks at the hotel's customer-centered culture and value system. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Activist Board Members Increase Firm’s Market Value

Board members nominated by activist investors presumably have one primary goal: change the status quo. Does that agenda create or diminish value of the firm in the eyes of shareholders? New evidence offered by Harvard Business School professors Bo Becker, Daniel B. Bergstresser, and Guhan Subramanian suggests financial markets value a new approach. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Does Shareholder Proxy Access Improve Firm Value? Evidence from the Business Roundtable Challenge

In August 2010, the Security and Exchange Commission announced a highly anticipated rule that would make it easier for investors to nominate new board members and get rid of existing ones. It allowed shareholders to have their board candidates included in the company's proxy materials--if those shareholders had owned at least 3 percent of the firm's shares for at least the prior three years. On October 4, the SEC unexpectedly and indefinitely postponed the implementation of that rule, pending the outcome of a lawsuit aimed at overturning it. This paper gauges the significance of the proxy access rule by measuring whether certain firms gained or lost market value on news of the delay. Research was conducted by Harvard Business School professors Bo Becker, Daniel Bergstresser, and Guhan Subramanian. Read More

Is Groupon Good for Retailers?

For retailers offering deals through the wildly popular online start-up Groupon, does the one-day publicity compensate for the deep hit to profit margins? A new working paper, "To Groupon or Not to Groupon," sets out to help small businesses decide. Harvard Business School professor Benjamin G. Edelman discusses the paper's findings. Closed for comment; 59 Comments posted.

Funding Unpredictability Around Stem-Cell Research Inflicts Heavy Cost on Scientific Progress

Funding unpredictability in human embryonic stem-cell research inflicts a heavy cost on all scientific progress, says professor William Sahlman. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

HBS Faculty on 2010’s Biggest Business Developments

Three Harvard Business School professors—former Medtronic chairman and CEO Bill George, economist and entrepreneurship expert William Sahlman, and innovation and strategy authority Rosabeth Moss Kanter—offer their thoughts on the most significant business and economic developments of 2010. Read More

New Dean Sets Five Priorities for HBS

Harvard Business School's new Dean Nitin Nohria outlines five priorities that will shape the agenda for the School during his tenure: curriculum innovation, intellectual ambition, internationalization, inclusion, and closer ties to the University. Read More

Panama Canal: Troubled History, Astounding Turnaround

In their new book, The Big Ditch, Harvard Business School professor Noel Maurer and economic historian Carlos Yu discuss the complicated history of the Panama Canal and its remarkable turnaround after Panama took control in 1999. Q&A with Maurer, plus book excerpt. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Tax US Companies to Spur Spending

With traditional monetary and fiscal policy instruments to stimulate the economy seemingly exhausted, professor Mihir Desai offers a radical proposal: Use taxes to motivate corporations to spend a trillion dollars in cash. Open for comment; 9 Comments posted.

Regulating for Legitimacy: Consumer Credit Access in France and America

Why have American households consistently borrowed so heavily? And why have their counterparts in France borrowed so little? This comparative historical analysis by HBS professor Gunnar Trumbull traces the roots of these different attitudes. In the United States, early welfare reformers embraced credit "on a business-like basis" as an alternative to expansive welfare states of the sort that were emerging in Europe. In France, early social planners saw consumer credit as a drain on savings that threatened to crowd out industrial investment. Regulatory regimes that emerged in the postwar period in the two countries reflected these different interpretations of the economic and social role of credit in society. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Doing Business in Emerging Markets

Going global is one thing, targeting emerging economies quite another. In this collection from our archives, HBS faculty discuss strategy development, government relations, exploiting local opportunities, and risk management when dealing in emerging economies. Read More

The New Face of Chinese Industrial Policy: Making Sense of Anti-Dumping Cases in the Petrochemical and Steel Industry

The researchers set out to explain differences in China's antidumping actions against importers in the petrochemical and steel industries. During the study period, 66 percent of the country's antidumping cases targeted petrochemical imports, while steel imports were targeted only in 5 percent of the cases. Why did China's petrochemical and steel industries behave so differently in seeking trade protection? The answers put forward by researchers Regina Abrami (Harvard Business School) and Yu Zheng (University of Connecticut) point toward the structural nature of the industries themselves, and against arguments that antidumping actions in China have been driven by retaliation or national industrial strategy alone. Read More

United Breaks Guitars

A new case coauthored by HBS marketing professor John Deighton and research associate Leora Kornfeld offers an object lesson in the dangers social media can bring for big, recognizable companies and their brands. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Open for comment; 26 Comments posted.

GM’s IPO: Back to the Future

General Motors reaches a milestone this week as it presents an initial public offering. HBS faculty discuss issues facing the automaker's revival. Read More

Network Effects in Countries’ Adoption of IFRS

Between 2003 and 2008, 75 countries adopted, to various degrees, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) developed by the International Accounting Standards Board. More countries, including the United States and China, are currently engaged in convergence projects. Researchers Karthik Ramanna (Harvard Business School) and Ewa Sletten (MIT Sloan School of Management) report on the role that perceived network benefits play in convincing some countries to shift from local accounting standards to IFRS. Read More

The Unbundling of Advertising Agency Services: An Economic Analysis

From 1982 through 2007, U.S. advertising agencies increasingly "unbundled," or disaggregated, services such as copywriting and media placement, moving away from the industry's traditional one-stop-shop model. At the same time, agencies began to charge clients based on a fee-for-service system, rather than collecting commissions on media placements. The researchers analyze this trend and consider how it may be interpreted by the economic theory of bundling. Read More

How to Fix a Broken Marketplace

Alvin E. Roth was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Science this week for his Harvard Business School research into market design and matching theory. This article explores his research. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Why Do We Chase Stars?

Summing Up: Is it wise for companies to recruit "star" performers? Discussing the book "Chasing Stars", Jim Heskett's readers support the idea that talent is portable between employers and that women are better at it than men. (Next Forum opens December 2) Closed for comment; 46 Comments posted.

Will I Stay or Will I Go? How Gender and Race Affect Turnover at ‘Up-or-Out’ Organizations

Gender and racial inequalities continue to persist at "up-or-out" knowledge organizations, making it difficult for women and minorities to advance to senior levels, professor Kathleen McGinn says. Read More

Tesco’s Stumble into the US Market

UK retailer Tesco was very successful penetrating foreign markets—until it set its sights on the United States. Its series of mistakes and some bad luck are captured in a new case by Harvard Business School marketing professor John A. Quelch. Read More

HBS Workshop Encourages Corporate Reporting on Environmental and Social Sustainability

The concept of integrated reporting could help mend the lack of trust between business and the public, Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria tells attendees at a seminal workshop. Closed for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Export Competitiveness: Reversing the Logic

While the economic crisis has caused countries to revisit growth strategies, it has also raised serious concerns about whether the traditional strategy of export-led growth is producing the right answer. Harvard Business School's Christian Ketels argues that the focus of debate now needs to be on the actual policies that can increase competitiveness rather than exports per se. Read More

The Impact of Supply Learning on Customer Demand: Model and Estimation Methodology

"Supply learning" is the process by which customers predict a company's ability to fulfill product orders in the future using information about how well the company fulfilled orders in the past. A new paper investigates how and whether a customer's assumptions about future supplier performance will affect the likelihood that the customer will order from that supplier in the future. Research, based on data from apparel manufacturer Hugo Boss, was conducted by Nathan Craig and Ananth Raman of Harvard Business School, and Nicole DeHoratius of the University of Portland. Read More

Venture Capital’s Disconnect with Clean Tech

Clean-tech start-ups depend on patience and public policy to thrive—the Internet models for VC funding don't apply. That's why Harvard Business School professor Joseph Lassiter is making an unusual recommendation to his entrepreneurship students: Spend a few years serving time in a government job. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

A Comparative-Advantage Approach to Government Debt Maturity

Can the government do anything to discourage short-term borrowing by the private sector? HBS Professor Robin Greenwood, Harvard University and Harvard Business School PhD candidate Samuel Hanson, and Harvard University Professor Jeremy C. Stein suggest the government could actively influence the corporate sector's borrowing decisions by shifting its own financing between T-bills and bonds. Read More

Reversing the Queue: Performance, Legitimacy, and Minority Hiring

While there has been a steady rise in the number of black executives in corporate America, the fact remains that white males have a persistent advantage in terms of access to managerial positions. This paper sets out to find out how a company's performance influences the hiring of minorities into management positions, and whether the presence of minorities in senior management positions affects the racial composition of the subordinate management team. Research, which focused on the corporate structure of the National Football League, was conducted by Harvard Business School doctoral candidate Andrew Hill and professor David Thomas. Read More

Employee Selection as a Control System

One of the most powerful tools that an organization has to achieve its goals is the ability to hire employees with complementary values and capabilities. Reviewing personnel and lending data from a financial services organization undergoing a major decentralization process, Dennis Campbell offers the first direct empirical evidence establishing a link between employee selection and better alignment with organizational performance goals. Read More

How Government can Discourage Private Sector Reliance on Short-Term Debt

Financial institutions have relied increasingly and excessively on short-term financing--putting the overall system at risk. Should government step in? Harvard researchers Robin Greenwood, Samuel Hanson, and Jeremy C. Stein propose a "comparative advantage approach" that allows government to actively influence the corporate sector's borrowing decisions. Read More

It Pays to Hire Women in Countries That Won’t

South Korean companies don't hire many women, no matter how qualified. So multinationals are moving in to take advantage of this rich hiring opportunity, according to new research by professor Jordan Siegel. Read More

Will Transparency in CEO Compensation Have Unintended Consequences?

Summing Up: The Dodd-Frank legislation requiring companies to compare CEO compensation with rank-and-file pay will have little or no impact on executive compensation levels, say Jim Heskett's readers. (Online forum has closed; next forum opens November 4.) Closed for comment; 55 Comments posted.

The Profits of Power: Commercial Realpolitik in Eurasia

The concept of good old-fashioned realpolitik-politics primarily shaped by practicality and power-has returned to Europe, clashing with the traditional ideologies of the European Union, says Harvard Business School professor Rawi Abdelal. Citing supporting evidence from the Russian gas giant Gazprom, he argues that scholars need to pay better attention to the role of large corporations in international relations. Read More

Using What We Know: Turning Organizational Knowledge into Team Performance

An organization's captured (and codified) knowledge--white papers, case studies, documented processes--should help project teams perform better, but does it? Existing research has not answered the question, even as U.S. companies alone spend billions annually on knowledge management programs. Looking at large-scale, objective data from Indian software developer Wipro, researchers Bradley R. Staats, Melissa A. Valentine, and Amy C. Edmondson found that team use of an organization's captured knowledge enhanced productivity, especially for teams that were geographically diverse, relatively low in experience, or performing complex work. The study did not find effects of knowledge use on the quality of the team's work, except for dispersed teams. Read More

Medium Term Business Cycles in Developing Countries

Business cycle fluctuations in developed economies tend to have very strong effects on developing countries, says a new study by Harvard Business School professor Diego Comin, Norman Loayza and Luis Serven of the World Bank, and Farooq Pasha of Boston College. The researchers have developed a quantitative model capable of explaining the amplitude and persistence of the effect that U.S. shocks have on Mexico's macroeconomic variables. The model is then used to provide an account of the drivers of business fluctuations in developing economies. Read More

The Task and Temporal Microstructure of Productivity: Evidence from Japanese Financial Services

Boredom and fatigue often hamper the productivity of workers whose jobs consist of repeating the same tasks. This paper explores ways in which companies can combat this problem, introducing the idea of the "restart effect" - a deliberate disruption that kindles productivity. Research, which focused on a loan-application processing line at a Japanese bank, was conducted by HBS professor Francesca Gino and Kenan-Flagler Business School assistant professor Bradley R. Staats. Read More

The Consumer Appeal of Underdog Branding

Research by HBS professor Anat Keinan and colleagues explains how and why a "brand biography" about hard luck and fierce determination can boost the power of products in industries as diverse as food and beverages, technology, airlines, and automobiles. Closed for comment; 21 Comments posted.

Mindful Leadership: When East Meets West

Harvard Business School professor William George is fusing Western understanding about leadership with Eastern wisdom about the mind to develop leaders who are self-aware and self-compassionate. An interview about his recent Mindful Leadership conference taught with a Buddhist meditation master. Closed for comment; 33 Comments posted.

Multinational Firms, Labor Market Discrimination, and the Capture of Competitive Advantage by Exploiting the Social Divide

Women and ethnic minorities are frequently discriminated against in the labor markets of both developed and emerging economies, particularly in opportunities for management positions. Multinationals entering such markets must decide whether to aggressively hire and promote the excluded group, thus reaping the benefits of their underutilized talent, or conform to local practice and avoid provoking some bigoted policymakers, executives, purchasers, and/or supply agents. In this paper, HBS professor Jordan Siegel, Lynn Pyun, and B.Y. Cheon find that multinationals gain significant competitive opportunities by scanning the host-market social landscape, identifying social schisms in the labor market, and exploiting such schisms by actively hiring and promoting members of the excluded group to positions of management responsibility. Read More

Turning Employees Into Problem Solvers

To improve patient safety, hospitals hope their staff will use error-reporting systems. Question is, how can managers encourage employees to take the next step and ensure their constructive use? New research by Julia Adler-Milstein, Sara J. Singer, and HBS professor Michael W. Toffel. Read More

The Influence of Prior Industry Affiliation on Framing in Nascent Industries: The Evolution of Digital Cameras

Firms entering a new product market face tremendous ambiguity and competitive uncertainty, particularly when the new market is sparked by radical technological change. Potential customers have little or no experience with products, and during this period of turbulence, firms experiment with alternative product configurations, functions, and technologies. By studying the emergence of the consumer mass market for digital cameras, Carlson School of Management professor Mary J. Benner and HBS professor Mary Tripsas explore what factors influence a firm's initial introduction of product features during the nascent stage of a product market, and how the process of convergence on a standard set of features unfolds. In particular, they assess how a firm's prior industry affiliation influences its conceptualization of the product. Read More

How to Speed Up Energy Innovation

We know the grand challenge posed by shifting away from dirty energy sources. The good news, says Harvard Business School professor Rebecca Henderson, is that we have seen such change before in fields including agriculture and biotech, giving us a clearer pathway to what it will take. Read More

Modern Indian Art: The Birth of a Market

Before 1995, there was little market for twentieth-century Indian fine art. That's when artists, auction houses, critics, and others defined a new product category—modern Indian fine art—resulting in worldwide demand and soaring prices. Professor Mukti Khaire explains the dynamics behind new market categories. Read More

HBS Faculty Debate Financial Reform Legislation

Harvard Business School professors Robert Steven Kaplan, David A. Moss, Robert C. Pozen, Clayton S. Rose and Luis M. Viceira share their perspectives on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, slated to be signed this week by U.S. President Barack Obama. Read More

Foreign Entry and the Mexican Banking System, 1997-2007

What are the effects of foreign bank entry in developing economies? In recent years, governments around the world have been opening up their banking systems to foreign competition. In Mexico, for example, the market share of foreign ownership of banks increased fivefold between 1997 and 2007. In this paper, Stanford professor Stephen Haber and HBS professor Aldo Musacchio describe their detailed study of the impact of foreign entry in Mexico during that period. Overall, results suggest that while foreign entry in Mexico is associated with greater stability of the banking system, it has not increased the availability of credit, and foreign entry is not a solution to a property rights environment that makes contract enforcement costly. Read More

How Mercadona Fixes Retail’s ’Last 10 Yards’ Problem

Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona offers aggressive pricing, yet high-touch customer service and above-average employee wages. What's its secret? The operations between loading dock and the customer's hands, says HBS professor Zeynep Ton. Read More

From Russia with Love: The Impact of Relocated Firms on Incumbent Survival

The relocation of the machine tool industry from the Soviet-occupied zone of postwar Germany to western regions is a unique laboratory for studying the impact of industrial structures on incumbent survival. Typically, geographic agglomerations of similar firms offer benefits to each member firm by reducing the transportation costs for material goods, specialized workers, and industry knowledge among the firms. Of course, tight geographic concentration comes with countervailing costs as firms compete for local inputs. In this paper, HBS professor William R. Kerr and coauthors study the impact of increased local concentration on incumbent firms by considering postwar Germany, when the fear of expropriation (or worse) in the wake of World War II prompted many machine tool firm owners to flee to western Germany, where they reestablished their firms. Read More

Surviving the Global Financial Crisis: Foreign Direct Investment and Establishment Performance

In 2008 and 2009 the world economy suffered the deepest global financial crisis since World War II. Countries around the globe witnessed major declines in output, employment, and trade, and world trade volume plummeted by more than 40 percent in the second half of 2008. Using a new dataset that reports operational activities of over 12 million establishments worldwide before and after 2008, HBS professor Laura Alfaro and George Washington University professor Maggie Chen study how multinationals around the world responded to the crisis relative to local firms, and the underlying mechanisms of those differential responses. By taking into account establishments both at the epicenter and on the periphery of the crisis, their analysis also considers multinationals' role as an international linkage in transmitting economic shocks. Read More

Renewable Energy: Winds at Our Back?

It certainly stirred up controversy in 2001 when an entrepreneur proposed erecting 130 wind turbines off the coast of Massachusetts' Cape Cod. After nine years of struggle over regulatory, environmental, safety, and social issues, the plan appears closer to becoming a reality. HBS professor Richard Vietor reflects on wind energy and innovations in the renewable energy industry. Read More

The Empire Struck Back: The Mexican Oil Expropriation of 1938 Reconsidered

The Mexican petroleum expropriation of 1938 looms large as the beginning of Latin American resource nationalism and the apogee of America's "Good Neighbor" policy. In Mexico, the expropriation is viewed as a patriotic triumph, in which the federal government seized control of the country's most valuable natural resource. In the U.S., the temperate reaction of the Roosevelt Administration is seen as the decisive break with Washington's imperial relationship towards Latin America. Washington "curbed its finance capital," it is said, and downgraded the protection of American overseas private investments. In this paper, HBS professor Noel Maurer explains how the actual historical record diverges substantially from the accepted view. Read More

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

A recent Harvard Business School case by HBS professors Amy C. Edmondson and Anita Tucker explores how one hospital implemented its own version of health-care reform, taking overall performance levels from below average to the top 10 percent in the industry. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

The Role of Institutional Development in the Prevalence and Value of Family Firms

Family firms dominate economic activity in most countries, and are significantly different from other companies in their behavior, structural characteristics, and performance. But what explains the significant variation in the prevalence and value of family firms around the world? The two leading explanations are legal investor protection and institutional development, but cross-country studies are unable to rule out the alternative explanation that cultural norms are what account for these differences. In contrast, China provides an excellent laboratory for addressing this question because it offers great variation in institutional efficiency across regions, yet the country as a whole shares cultural and social norms together with a common legal and regulatory framework. In this paper, HBS professor Belén Villalonga and coauthors study ownership data from a sample of nearly 1,500 publicly listed firms on the Chinese stock market. They conclude that institutional development plays a critical role in the prevalence and value of family firms, and that the differences observed across regions are not attributable to cultural factors. Read More

Strategy and Execution for Emerging Markets

How can multinationals, entrepreneurs, and investors identify and respond to new challenges and opportunities around the world? In this Q&A, HBS professors and strategy experts Tarun Khanna and Krishna G. Palepu offer a practical framework for succeeding in emerging markets. Plus: Book excerpt with action items. Read More

Corporate Governance and Internal Capital Markets

What is the impact of corporate ownership on corporate diversification and on the efficiency of firms' internal capital markets? Corporate governance and internal capital markets are two topics closely intertwined in theoretical research; for example, agency problems—which corporate governance mechanisms seek to mitigate in a variety of ways—are at the heart of every theory of inefficient internal capital markets. Yet surprisingly few empirical studies have looked into the actual link between corporate governance and internal capital markets. This paper by University of Amsterdam professor Zacharias Sautner and HBS professor Belén Villalonga seeks to fill the gap by taking advantage of a natural experiment provided by a tax change in Germany in 2002. The researchers provide direct evidence of the effect of governance structures on how markets work, as well as new evidence about the benefits and costs of ownership concentration. Read More

Stimulus Surprise: Companies Retrench When Government Spends

New research from Harvard Business School suggests that federal spending in states appears to cause local businesses to cut back rather than grow. A conversation with Joshua Coval. Read More

What Brazil Teaches About Investor Protection

When Brazil entered the 20th century, its companies were a model of transparency and offered investor protections that government did not. Can our financial regulators learn a lesson from history? HBS professor Aldo Musacchio shares insights from his new book. Read More

Just Say No to Wall Street: Putting A Stop to the Earnings Game

Over the last decade, companies have struggled to meet analysts' expectations. Analysts have challenged the companies they covered to reach for unprecedented earnings growth, and executives have often acquiesced to analysts' increasingly unrealistic projections, adopting them as a basis for setting goals for their organizations. As Monitor Group cofounder Joseph Fuller and HBS professor emeritus Michael C. Jensen write, improving future relations between Main Street and Wall Street and putting an end to the destructive "earnings game" between analysts and executives will require a new approach to disclosure based on a few simple rules of engagement. (This article originally appeared in the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance in the Winter 2002 issue.) Read More

The Great Leap Forward: The Political Economy of Education in Brazil, 1889-1930

In 1890, with only 15 percent of the population literate, Brazil had the lowest literacy rate among the large economies in the Americas. Yet between 1890 and 1940, Brazil had the most rapid increase in literacy rates in the Americas, catching up with and even surpassing some of its more educated peers such as Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela. This jump in literacy was simultaneously accompanied by a brisk increase in the number of teachers, number of public schools, and enrollment rates. Why were political elites in Brazil willing to finance this expansion of public education for all? André Martínez-Fritscher of Banco de México, Aldo Musacchio of HBS, and Martina Viarengo of the London School of Economics explain how state governments secured funds to pay for education and examine the incentives of politicians to spend on education. They conclude that the progress made in education during these decades had mixed results in the long run. Read More

Earth Day Reflections

On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, Harvard Business School professors Robert G. Eccles, Rebecca Henderson, and Richard H.K. Vietor shared their views on the sustainability-related challenges and opportunities facing today's business leaders. Read More

Environmental Federalism in the European Union and the United States

Under what circumstances will individual states take the lead in passing the most stringent environmental regulations, and when will the federal government take the lead? When a state takes a leadership role, will other states follow? HBS professor Michael Toffel and coauthors describe the development of environmental regulations in the U.S. and EU that address automobile emissions, packaging waste, and global climate change. They use these three topics to illustrate different patterns of environmental policymaking, describe the changing dynamics between state and centralized regulation in the United States and the EU. Read More

Audit Quality and Auditor Reputation: Evidence from Japan

High-quality external auditing is a central component of sound corporate governance, yet what determines audit quality? Douglas J. Skinner, of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Suraj Srinivasan, of Harvard Business School, study the Japanese audit market, where recent events provide a powerful setting for investigating the effect of auditor reputation on audit quality absent litigation effects. Specifically, Skinner and Srinivasan analyze events surrounding the collapse of ChuoAoyama, the PricewaterhouseCoopers affiliate in Japan that was implicated in a massive accounting fraud at Kanebo, a large Japanese cosmetics company. Taken as a whole, the researchers' evidence provides support for the view that auditor reputation is important in an economy where the legal system does not provide incentives for auditors to deliver quality. Read More

The History of Beauty

Fragrance, eyeliner, toothpaste—the beauty business has permeated our lives like few other industries. But surprisingly little is known about its history, which over time has been shrouded in competitive secrecy. HBS history professor Geoffrey Jones offers one of the first authoritative accounts in Beauty Imagined: A History of the Global Beauty Industry. Read More

The Economic Crisis and Medical Care Usage

The global economic crisis has taken a historic toll on national economies and household finances around the world. What is the impact of such large shocks on individuals and their behavior, especially on their willingness to seek routine medical care? In this research, Annamaria Lusardi of Dartmouth College, Daniel Schneider of Princeton University, and Peter Tufano of Harvard Business School find strong evidence that the economic crisis—manifested in job and wealth losses—has led to large reductions in the use of routine medical care. Specifically, more than a quarter of Americans reported reducing their use of such care, as did between 5 and 12 percent of Canadian, French, German, and British respondents. Read More

Multinational Strategies and Developing Countries in Historical Perspective

HBS professor Geoffrey Jones offers a historical analysis of the strategies of multinationals from developed countries in developing countries. His central argument, that strategies were shaped by the trade-off between opportunity and risk, highlights how three broad environmental factors determined the trade-off. The first was the prevailing political economy, including the policies of both host and home governments, and the international legal framework. The second was the market and resources of the host country. The third was competition from local firms. Jones explores the impact of these factors on corporate strategies during the three eras in the modern history of globalization from the nineteenth century until the present day. He argues that the performance of specific multinationals depended on the extent to which their internal capabilities enabled them to respond to these external opportunities and threats. The paper highlights in particular the changing nature of political risk faced by multinationals. The era of expropriation has, for the moment, largely passed, but multinationals now experience new kinds of policy risk, and new forms of home country political risk also, such as the Alien Tort Claims Act in the United States. Read More

Location Strategies for Agglomeration Economies

Locations thick with similar economic activity expose firms to pools of skilled labor, specialized suppliers, and potential inter-firm knowledge spillovers that can provide firms with opportunities for competitive advantage. While certainly attractive, the lure of these agglomeration economies varies. Some firms should be wary of aiding their competitors by co-locating with them, for example, because each "agglomeration economy" differs in how readily competitors can leverage contributions made by others. HBS professor Juan Alcácer and Wilbur Chung of the University of Maryland develop a framework to better understand how firms respond to agglomeration economies. Read More

Why Are Fewer and Fewer U.S. Employees Satisfied With Their Jobs?

This month's column yielded many hypotheses to explain why U.S. employees' job satisfaction is at a 23-year low, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. Readers also offered antidotes to job malaise. (Online forum now closed. New forum begins May 5.) Closed for comment; 95 Comments posted.

Developing Asia’s Largest Slum

In a recent case study, HBS assistant professor Lakshmi Iyer and lecturer John Macomber examine ongoing efforts to forge a public-private mixed development in Dharavi—featured in the film Slumdog Millionaire. But there is a reason this project has languished for years. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

A Reexamination of Tunneling and Business Groups: New Data and New Methods

"Tunneling" refers to efforts by firms' controlling owner-managers to take money for themselves at the expense of minority shareholders. Looking at emerging economies in general and at India in particular, HBS professor Jordan I. Siegel and doctoral student Prithwiraj Choudhury argue for a simultaneous analysis of corporate governance and strategic activity differences in order to reveal the quality of firm-level corporate governance. The development of rigorous methodology in corporate governance is not merely an academic issue but has enormous real-world consequences. It is critical that scholars gain deeper empirical and theoretical insights into the question of whether these business groups serve primarily as theft devices for the controlling owners, or whether they serve primarily as a positive force that enables the creation of scale and scope efficiencies. Read More

Tragedy at Toyota: How Not to Lead in Crisis

"Toyota can only regain its footing by transforming itself from top to bottom to deliver the highest quality automobiles," says HBS professor Bill George of the beleaguered automobile company that in recent months has recalled 8 million vehicles. He offers seven recommendations for restoring consumer confidence in the safety and quality behind the storied brand. Read More

Manager Visibility No Guarantee of Fixing Problems

Managers who merely put in time "walking the floor" are not doing enough when it comes to problem solving; in fact, it can make employees feel worse about their situation, says HBS professor Anita Tucker. Read More

Investing in Improvement: Strategy and Resource Allocation in Public School Districts

The operating environments of public school districts are largely void of the market forces that reward a company's success with more capital and exert pressure on it to eventually abandon unproductive activities. Stacey Childress describes the strategic resource decisions in 3 of the 20 public school districts that she and colleagues have studied through the Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard. The stories in San Francisco, New York City, and Maryland's Montgomery County occurred largely before the districts faced dramatic decreases in revenues, though they show the superintendents facing budget concerns near the end of the narratives. Even so, the situations share common principles that superintendents and their leadership teams can use to make differentiated resource decisions—reducing spending in some areas and increasing it in others with a clear rationale for why these decisions will produce results for students. Read More

Looking Behind Google’s Stand in China

Google's threat to pull out of China is either a blow for Internet freedom or cover for a failed business strategy, depending on with whom you talk. Professor John A. Quelch looks behind the headlines in a new case. Read More

Labor Regulations and European Private Equity

Recent theoretical models predict that countries with stricter labor policies will specialize in less innovative activities due to the higher worker turnover frequently associated with rapidly changing sectors. HBS visiting scholar Ant Bozkaya and HBS professor William R. Kerr examine how differences in labor regulations across European countries influence the development of private equity markets, comprised of venture capital and buy-out investors. In so doing, the researchers provide the first empirical evidence for this theoretical prediction at the industry level in the entrepreneurial finance literature. They also make a methodological contribution by demonstrating how jointly modeling the different policies for providing worker insurance delivers more consistent results than their individual relationships would indicate by themselves. Read More

A Macroeconomic View of the Current Economy

Concerned or confused by the economic environment? Take some lessons from history and concepts from macroeconomics to get a better understanding of how the economy works. A Q&A with HBS professor David A. Moss, author of A Concise Guide to Macroeconomics: What Managers, Executives, and Students Need to Know. Read More

Private Equity and Industry Performance

In response to the global financial crisis that began in 2007, governments worldwide are rethinking their approach to regulating financial institutions. Among the financial institutions that have fallen under the gaze of regulators have been private equity (PE) funds. There are many open questions regarding the economic impact of PE funds, many of which cannot be definitively answered until the aftermath of the buyout boom of the mid-2000s can be fully assessed. HBS professor Josh Lerner and coauthors address one of these open questions, by examining the impact of PE investments across 20 industries in 26 major nations between 1991 and 2007. In particular, they look at the relationship between the presence of PE investments and the growth rates of productivity, employment, and capital formation. Read More

International Differences in the Size and Roles of Corporate Headquarters: An Empirical Examination

Are small headquarters more nimble and efficient than large ones? Not necessarily, according to HBS adjunct professor David Collis and coauthors David Young and Michael Goold. Even within a single industry in one country, the variance can be enormous: In Germany in the late 1990s, for instance, Hoechst, the chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturer, had only 180 people in the headquarters function at the same time that Bayer had several thousand. This paper seeks to fill gaps in the research by using a unique database of over 600 companies in seven countries to determine whether systematic differences in the size and roles of corporate headquarters between countries actually exist, and if so, how they differ. In particular, the authors examine whether there is a systematic difference between market- and bank-centered economies, and between developed and developing countries. Read More

Is a Stringent Climate Change Agreement a Pot of Gold?

Reading this month's comments, HBS professor Jim Heskett wonders if we even need a climate change agreement as a catalyst to foster innovation and the VC investment required to support it. (Online forum has closed; next forum opens February 4.) Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

The Global Agglomeration of Multinational Firms

(Paper formerly titled "The Global Networks of Multinational Firms.") When and why do multinationals group together overseas? Do they agglomerate in the same fashion abroad as they do at home? An answer to these questions is central to the long-standing debate over the consequences of foreign direct investment (FDI). It is critical to understand interdependencies of multinational networks and how multinationals influence one another in their activities at home and overseas. HBS professor Laura Alfaro and George Washington University professor Maggie Chen examine the global network of multinationals and study the significance and causes of multinational agglomeration. Their results provide further evidence of the increasing separation of headquarters services and production activities within multinational firms. The differential specialization of headquarters and subsidiaries leads to distinct patterns of agglomeration. Read More

Good Banks, Bad Banks, and Government’s Role as Fixer

Government action to stem collapse of the U.S. financial system was certainly warranted, agrees professor Robert Pozen. But results include less competition and increased risk to taxpayers. A Q&A from the HBS Alumni Bulletin and book excerpt from Too Big to Save? Read More

The End of Chimerica

For the better part of the past decade, the world economy has been dominated by a unique geoeconomic constellation that the authors call "Chimerica": a world economic order that combined Chinese export-led development with U.S. overconsumption on the basis of a financial marriage between the world's sole superpower and its most likely future rival. For China, the key attraction of the relationship was its potential to propel the Chinese economy forward by means of export-led growth. For the United States, Chimerica meant being able to consume more, save less, and still maintain low interest rates and a stable rate of investment. Yet, like many another marriage between a saver and a spender, Chimerica was not destined to last. In this paper, economic historians Niall Ferguson of HBS and Moritz Schularick of Freie Universität Berlin consider the problem of global imbalances and try to set events in a longer-term perspective. Read More

State Owned Entity Reform in Absence of Privatization: Reforming Indian National Laboratories and Role of Leadership

Is privatization necessary? In India and across emerging markets, state-owned entities (SOEs) continue to make up a large proportion of industrial sales, yet they lag behind private counterparts on performance measures. But SOEs may be able to significantly improve performance even in the absence of property rights, according to HBS doctoral candidate Prithwiraj Choudhury and professor Tarun Khanna. As they document, 42 Indian state-owned laboratories started from a base of negligible U.S. patents, yet in the period 1993-2006 (during which the Indian government launched an ambitious privatization program), the labs were granted more patents than all domestic private firms combined. The labs then licensed several of these patents to multinationals, and licensing revenue increased from 3 percent to 15 percent as a fraction of government budgetary support. Findings are relevant to firms and R&D entities around the world that depend on varying degrees of government budgetary support and government control, especially in emerging markets like India, where SOEs control up to one-third of all industrial activity. Read More

Mental Health in the Aftermath of Conflict

Wars are detrimental to the populations and the economy of affected countries. Over and above the human cost caused by deaths and suffering during a time of conflict, survivors of conflict are often left in poor economic circumstances and mental-health distress even after the conflict ends. How large are these costs? How long does it take for conflict-affected populations to recover from the mental stress of conflict? What policies are appropriate to assist mental health recovery? While considerable attention has been paid to post-war policies with regard to recovery in physical and human capital, mental health has received relatively less attention. The World Bank's Quy-Toan Do and HBS professor Lakshmi Iyer review the nascent literature on mental health in the aftermath of conflict, discuss the potential mechanisms through which conflict might affect mental health, and illustrate the findings from their study of mental health in a specific post-conflict setting: Bosnia and Herzegovina. Read More

India Transformed? Insights from the Firm Level 1988-2005

Between 1986 and 2005, Indian growth put to rest the concern that there was something about the "nature of India" that made rapid growth difficult. Following broad-ranging reforms in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, the state deregulated entry, both domestic and foreign, in many industries, and also hugely reduced barriers to trade. Laura Alfaro of Harvard Business School and Anusha Chari of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analyze the evolution of India's industrial structure at the firm level following the reforms. Despite the substantial increase in the number of private and foreign firms, the overall pattern that emerges is one of continued incumbent dominance in terms of assets, sales, and profits in both state-owned and traditional private firms. Read More

Customer Feedback Not on elBulli’s Menu

The world is beating a path to Chef Ferran Adrià's door at elBulli, but why? In professor Michael Norton's course, students learn about marketing from a business owner who says he doesn't care whether or not customers like his product. Read More

The Times Captures History of American Business

"We are not the first to face what seem like overwhelming challenges," says HBS professor and business historian Nancy F. Koehn. A new volume edited and narrated by Koehn, The Story of American Business: From the Pages of The New York Times, presents more than a hundred timely articles from the 1850s to today. Q&A and book excerpt. Read More

Walking Through Jelly: Language Proficiency, Emotions, and Disrupted Collaboration in Global Work

As organizations increasingly globalize, individuals are required to collaborate with coworkers across international borders. Many organizations are mandating English as the lingua franca, or common language, regardless of the location of their headquarters, to facilitate collaboration across national and linguistic boundaries. What is the emotional impact of lingua franca adoption on native and nonnative speakers who work closely together and often across national boundaries? This study examines the communication experience for native and nonnative English speakers in an organization that mandates English as the lingua franca for everyday use, and the impact of the lingua franca on collaboration among globally distributed coworkers. HBS professor Tsedal Neeley and coauthors describe in detail how emotions and actions were intertwined and evolved recursively as coworkers attempted to release themselves from unwanted negative emotions and inadvertently acted in ways that transferred negative experiences to their distant coworkers. Their findings have implications for managers who are charged with overseeing internationally distributed projects. Read More

Endowments, Fiscal Federalism, and the Cost of Capital for States: Evidence from Brazil, 1891-1930

Do endowments matter in determining the cost of capital for a country or state? Endowments, according to Banco de México's André C. Martínez Fritscher and HBS professor Aldo Musacchio, are the conditions that determine what kind of commodities can be produced and exported in a determined geographical region. Studying the determinants of the risk premium of the bonds issued by Brazilian states between 1891 and 1930—a period of extreme decentralization of fiscal revenues and expenditures in Brazil—the researchers find that risk premia are highly correlated with state public revenue per capita. Because these revenues came, to a large extent, from the taxes states levied on commodity exports, the researchers argue that endowments mattered to determine the cost of capital for states. Read More

Come Fly with Me: A History of Airline Leadership

A new book looks at the history of the U.S. aviation industry through the eyes of its entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders—men like Pan Am's Juan Trippe and Southwest Airlines' Herb Kelleher—each emerging at different stages of the industry's evolution from start-up to rebirth. Who comes next? An interview with coauthor Anthony J. Mayo. Read More

Medium Term Business Cycles in Developing Countries

At the end of 2007, the U.S. economy entered a recession that, by the first quarter of 2009, had reduced U.S. GDP by 2.2 percent. The Mexican economy was showing no sign of distress until the U.S. recession began. Despite that, Mexican GDP declined by 7.8 percent during the same period. This and similar episodes from other developing countries motivate several questions: Why do shocks to developed economies affect developing countries to such an extent? Does the response of developing economies to shocks that originate in their developed neighbors account for the larger volatility of developing economies? More broadly, what ingredients do macroeconomic models need to incorporate in order to account for the unique features of economic fluctuations in developing economies? To investigate these questions, the researchers developed a two-country asymmetric model to study the business cycle in developing countries. The mechanisms introduced in the model should provide an accurate account of business cycles in other developing countries. Read More

Shareholders Need a Say on Pay

"Say on pay" legislation now under debate Washington D.C. can be a useful tool for shareholders to strengthen the link between CEO pay and performance when it comes to golden parachutes, says Harvard Business School professor Fabrizio Ferri. Here's a look at how the collective involvement of multiple stakeholders could shape the future of executive compensation. Read More

Stock Price Fragility

Does the composition of ownership of a financial asset influence future returns and risk? Previous economic research has documented significant price effects of investor demand in numerous settings, including retail demand for options, investor demand for bonds, and mutual funds' flow-driven demand for stocks. This paper provides a methodology to identify assets that are vulnerable to such investor demand shocks. The central idea is that assets are risky if the current owners of the asset face correlated liquidity shocks—i.e., they buy and sell at the same time. We call assets with a high concentration of owners who trade in the same direction "fragile." A related concept is "co-fragility." Two assets are "co-fragile" if their owners have correlated trading needs, even if the holdings of these owners do not directly overlap. The authors build measures of fragility for U.S. stocks between 1990 and 2007. Consistent with their predictions, more fragile stocks are more volatile, and two co-fragile stocks exhibit high correlations among their stock returns. Read More

Systemic Risk and the Refinancing Ratchet Effect

During periods of rising house prices, falling interest rates, and increasingly competitive and efficient refinancing markets, cash-out refinancing is like a ratchet, incrementally increasing homeowner debt as real-estate values appreciate without the ability to symmetrically decrease debt by increments as real-estate values decline. This paper suggests that systemic risk in the housing and mortgage markets can arise quite naturally from the confluence of these three apparently salutary economic trends. Using a numerical simulation of the U.S. mortgage market, the researchers show that the ratchet effect is capable of generating the magnitude of losses suffered by mortgage lenders during the financial crisis of 2007-2008. These observations have important implications for risk management practices and regulatory reform. Read More

Breakthrough Inventions and Migrating Clusters of Innovation

In just a short period of time the spatial location of invention can shift substantially. The San Francisco Bay Area grew from 5 percent of U.S. domestic patents in 1975-1984 to over 12 percent in 1995-2004, for example, while the share for New York City declined from 12 percent to 7 percent. Smaller cities like Austin, Texas, and Boise, Idaho, seem to have become clusters of innovation overnight. Despite the prevalence of these movements, we know very little about what drives spatial adjustments in U.S. invention, the speed at which these reallocations occur, and their economic consequences. In this paper, HBS professor William R. Kerr investigates whether breakthrough inventions draw subsequent research efforts for a technology to a local area. Evidence strongly supports the conclusion that centers of breakthrough innovations experience subsequent growth in innovation relative to their peer locations. Read More

Improving Accountability at the World Bank

Its legitimacy and effectiveness on the line, the World Bank faces criticism from its constituents and the civil society organizations that serve them. What options and arguments for accountability make the most sense for global governance institutions like the World Bank? HBS professor Alnoor Ebrahim testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on paths to change. Read More

Understanding Users of Social Networks

Many business leaders are mystified about how to reach potential customers on social networks such as Facebook. Professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski provides a fresh look into the interpersonal dynamics of these sites and offers guidance for approaching these tantalizing markets. Read More

Banking Deregulations, Financing Constraints and Firm Entry Size

How do financing constraints on new start-ups affect the initial size of these new firms? Since bank debt comprises the majority of U.S. firm borrowings, new ventures are especially sensitive to local bank conditions due to their limited options for external finance. Liberalization in the banking sector can thus have important effects on entrepreneurship in product markets. As HBS professors William Kerr and Ramana Nanda explain, the 1970s through the mid-1990s was a period of significant liberalization in the ability of banks to establish branches and to expand across state borders, either through new branches or through acquisitions. Using a database of annual employment data for every U.S. establishment from 1976 onward, Kerr and Nanda examine how U.S. branch banking deregulations impacted the entry size of new start-ups in the non-financial sector. This paper is closely related to their prior work examining how the deregulations impacted the rates of startup entry and exit in the non-financial sector. Read More

Perspectives from the Boardroom--2009

Chief executives and regulators have been blamed for the current economic crisis, but in some ways what is surprising is that boards have generally escaped notice. Clearly the experience of corporate boards in the downturn has not been explored. To understand what transpired in the boardrooms of complex companies, and to offer a prescription to improve board effectiveness, eight senior faculty members of the HBS Corporate Governance Initiative talked with 45 prominent directors about what has happened to their companies and why. These directors, who serve on the boards of financial institutions and other complex companies, were asked two broad questions: How well did their boards function before the recession? And, what do they believe should be improved as they look to the future?

This white paper [PDF] first explains how the interviewees characterize the strengths of their boards, then examines in depth six areas in which they identified shortcomings or needs for improvement: 1) clarifying the board's role; 2) acquiring better information and deeper knowledge of the company; 3) maintaining a sound relationship with management; 4) providing oversight of company strategy; 5) assuring management development and succession; 6) improving risk management. Finally, the paper discusses two issues that appeared not to trouble the interviewees but that the public feels are important: executive compensation and the relationship between the board and shareholders. This paper was written by Jay Lorsch with the assistance of Joseph Bower, Clayton Rose, and Suraj Srinivasan. The interviews were conducted by Joseph Bower, Srikant Datar, Raymond Gilmartin, Stephen Kaufman, Rakesh Khurana, Jay Lorsch, and Clayton Rose. Read More

Information Risk and Fair Value: An Examination of Equity Betas and Bid-Ask Spreads

What is the role of fair values in the current economic crisis? The interplay between information risk—that is, uncertainty regarding valuation parameters for an underlying asset—and the reporting of financial instruments at fair value has been a subject of high-level policy debate. Finance theory suggests that information risk is reflected in firms' equity betas and the information asymmetry component of bid-ask spreads. HBS professor Edward Riedl and doctoral candidate George Serafeim test predictions for a sample of large U.S. banks, exploiting recent mandatory disclosures of financial instruments designated as fair value level 1, 2, and 3, which indicate progressively more illiquid and opaque financial instruments. Overall, banks with higher exposures to level 3 financial assets have both higher equity betas and higher bid-ask spreads. Both results are consistent with higher levels of information risk, and thus cost of capital, for these firms. Read More

Measuring and Understanding Hierarchy as an Architectural Element in Industry Sectors

In an industry setting, classic supply chains display strict hierarchy, whereas clusters of firms have linkages going in many different directions. Previous theory has often assumed the existence of the hierarchical relationships among firms, and empirical industry studies tend to focus on a single-layer industry, or a two-layer structure comprising buyers and suppliers. And yet, some industries have a multilayer structure with a multistep supply chain. Others comprise a cluster of complementary firms producing different parts of a large system. HBS professor Carliss Y. Baldwin and colleagues use network analysis to study multilayer industries both empirically (in the case of Japan) and theoretically and to explore how industries are organized at the sector level in an attempt to reveal the underlying rules that determine how industry architectures form and change. Read More

Where Cash for Clunkers Ran Off the Road

Marketing professor John Quelch says the federal government's "Cash for Clunkers" program was poorly run and failed to meet its main objectives, proving again the government has no business trying to shape consumer behavior. Join the discussion. Read More

Quantifying the Economic Impact of the Internet

Businesses around the advertising-supported Internet have incredible multiplier effects throughout the economy and society. Professor John Quelch starts to put some numbers on the impact. Read More

Why Can’t Americans Get Health Care Right?

Change is desperately needed, agreed readers of Professor Jim Heskett's online forum. But how to make that change remains in doubt. What can Americans learn from solutions implemented by other countries? (Forum now closed; next forum begins September 4.) Closed for comment; 103 Comments posted.

Buy Local? The Geography of Successful and Unsuccessful Venture Capital Expansion

From Silicon Valley to Herzliya, Israel, venture capital firms are concentrated in very few locations. More than half of the 1,000 venture capital offices listed in Pratt's Guide to Private Equity and Venture Capital Sources are located in just three metropolitan areas: San Francisco, Boston, and New York. More than 49 percent of the U.S.-based companies financed by venture capital firms are located in these three cities. This paper examines the location decisions of venture capital firms and the impact that venture capital firm geography has on investments and outcomes. Findings are informative both to researchers in economic geography and to policymakers who seek to attract venture capital. Read More

Fluid Teams and Fluid Tasks: The Impact of Team Familiarity and Variation in Experience

In the context of team performance, common wisdom suggests that performance is maximized when individuals complete the same work with the same people. Although repetition is valuable, at least up to a point, in many settings such as consulting, product development, and software services organizations consist largely of fluid teams executing projects for different customers. In fluid teams, members bring their varied experience sets together and attempt to generate innovative output before the team is disassembled and its individual members move on to new projects. Using the empirical setting of Wipro Technologies, a leading firm in the Indian software services industry, this study examines the potential positive and negative consequences of variation in team member experience as well as how fluid teams may capture the benefits of variation while mitigating the coordination costs it creates. Read More

Firsthand Experience and the Subsequent Role of Reflected Knowledge in Cultivating Trust in Global Collaboration

How can workers better collaborate across vast geographical distances? Distributed collaboration—in which employees work with, and meaningfully depend on, distant colleagues on a day-to-day basis—allows firms to leverage their intellectual capital, enhance work unit performance, face ever-changing customer demands more fluidly, and gain competitive advantage in a dynamic marketplace. Research over the last decade, however, has provided mounting evidence that while global collaboration is a necessary strategic choice for an ever-increasing number of organizations, socio-demographic, contextual, and temporal barriers engender many interpersonal challenges for distant coworkers and are likely to adversely affect trust between and among workers across sites. In this paper that examines employee relations at a multinational organization, HBS professor Tsedal Beyene and MIT Sloan School of Management professor Mark Mortensen find that firsthand experience in global collaborations is a crucial means of engendering trust from shared knowledge among coworkers. Their findings reinforce the important role of others' perceptions in our own self-definition, and suggest a means of addressing some of the problems that arise in cross-cultural global collaborations. Read More

Business Summit: Real Estate

Experts discuss the global real estate crisis, the future of securitization, and predictions for the future of the U.S. real estate market. Read More

Informed and Interconnected: A Manifesto for Smarter Cities

To make our cities and communities smarter, we must become a little smarter ourselves, seeking information and an agenda to forge connections enabling collaboration, according to HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter and IBM's Stanley S. Litow. Their vision is that someday soon, leaders will combine technological capabilities and social innovation to help produce a smarter world. That world will be seen on the ground in smarter cities composed of smarter communities that support the well-being of all citizens. This paper outlines eight challenges facing cities and the communities they encompass, based on experience in the United States. Kanter and Litow provide examples of practices and programs led by both government and nonprofit organizations, many technology-enabled, that point the way to solutions, and they conclude with a call for leaders to embrace an agenda for change. Read More

Business Summit: Managing Human Capital—Global Trends and Challenges

Human capital needed for globalization is lacking. Progress is required in important areas such as elevating more women to leadership positions, according to panelists at the HBS Business Summit. Read More

Business Summit: Ethics in Globalization

It is impossible to regulate against greed and ethical shortcomings. What can be done is to force greater transparency and accountability. Read More

Business Summit: China in the Global Economy

While the global economic downturn will affect China's exports, the domestic economy is expected to remain strong, agreed panelists at the HBS Business Summit. Read More

Diagnosing the Public Health Care Alternative

With deep experience in health insurance reform, HBS faculty describe how improved competition in insurance plans could improve value for patients. Professors Regina E. Herzlinger, Robert Huckman, and Michael E. Porter take the pulse of a debate. Read More

Business Summit: The Coming World Oil Crisis

Without enormous changes the world faces an imminent oil crisis—and there are no silver bullet solutions. People must wake up to the sobering ramifications of peak oil, which may be the defining issue of this century. Read More

Business Summit: Historical Roots of Globalization

In this breakout session, panelists shared insights, informed by history, of the convergence that globalization promotes. Read More

Business Summit: The Role of Social Entrepreneurship in Transforming American Public Education

Amid formidable barriers, a set of passionate social entrepreneurs are disrupting the status quo in education with innovative and effective approaches that are producing measurable results. The challenge now is to build support so these solutions can be applied elsewhere. Read More

Business Summit: The Role of Business Leaders in Sustaining Market Capitalism

Business leaders at the HBS Business Summit agreed on the threats to capitalism, but offered different opinions on the way forward. Read More

Why Do Countries Adopt International Financial Reporting Standards?

Why do some countries adopt the European Union (EU)-based International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) when others do not? To expand our understanding of the determinants and consequences of IFRS adoption on a global sample, HBS professor Karthik Ramanna and MIT Sloan School of Management coauthor Ewa Sletten studied variations over time in the decision to adopt these standards in more than a hundred non-EU countries. Understanding countries' adoption decisions can provide insights into the benefits and costs of IFRS adoption. Read More

Business Summit: Global Environment-Transformed Organization

According to two panel sessions led by HBS professor Clayton M. Christensen, successful organizations must continually transform themselves in today's dynamic world. Read More

“Too Big To Fail”: Reining In Large Financial Firms

Four little words have cost U.S. taxpayers dearly in government bailouts of once-mighty Wall Street firms. Congress can put an end to such costly rescues, says HBS professor David A. Moss, and the Federal Reserve could be a super regulator, adds senior lecturer Robert C. Pozen. But will Congress enact the regulatory cure that is required? From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Business Summit: The Evolution of Agribusiness

Agribusiness has come to be seen not just as economically important, but as a critical part of society. The future for this massive industry will be both exciting and complex. Read More

Elections and Discretionary Accruals: Evidence from 2004

How does the political process affect accounting? During the 2004 U.S. congressional elections, outsourcing of American jobs was a major campaign issue. Because outsourcing is assumed to be net profitable, the use of income-decreasing accruals would enable donor firms to deflect public scrutiny of both the firm and the political candidate over outsourcing. HBS professor Karthik Ramanna and MIT Sloan School professor Sugata Roychowdhury examine the accrual choices made by outsourcing firms with links to U.S. congressional candidates during the 2004 elections, and specifically test for income-decreasing discretionary accruals. Evidence is consistent with firms using earnings management to reduce both direct political costs and the costs associated with causing embarrassment to affiliated political candidates. Read More

GM: What Went Wrong and What’s Next

For decades, General Motors reigned as the king of automakers. What went wrong? We asked HBS faculty to reflect on the wrong turns and missed opportunities of the former industry leader, and to suggest ideas for recovery. Read More

Business Summit: Niall Ferguson and the Certainty of Uncertainty

The economic crisis should not have been unexpected, says professor Niall Ferguson. Business leaders should consider history when developing their strategies, plans, and models, and should keep in mind that outlier events occur. Read More

What Does Slower Economic Growth Really Mean?

Respondents to this month's column by HBS professor Jim Heskett came close to general agreement on the proposition that economic growth is not measured properly by GDP, calling for new indicators. Jim sums up. (Online forum now closed. Next forum begins July 6.) Closed for comment; 44 Comments posted.

Business Summit: Introduction to the Future of Market Capitalism

Professor Joseph L. Bower discusses a two-year research project exploring the views of global business leaders and HBS faculty on what might threaten the world's economic progress. Read More

Do Friends Influence Purchases in a Social Network?

In spite of the cultural and social revolution in the rise of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace (and in South Korea, Cyworld), the business viability of these sites remains in question. While many sites are attempting to follow Google and generate revenues from advertising, will advertising be effective? If friends influence the purchases of a user in a social network, it could potentially be a significant source of revenue for the sites and their corporate sponsors. Using a unique data set from Cyworld, this study empirically assesses if friends indeed influence purchases. The answer: It depends. Findings are relevant for social networking sites and large advertisers. Read More

The Unseen Link Between Savings and National Growth

Professor Diego Comin and fellow researchers find a little observed link between private savings and country growth. The work may offer a simple interpretation for the East Asia "miracle" and for failures in Latin America. Q&A. Read More

Barriers to Household Risk Management: Evidence from India

Insurance markets are growing rapidly in developing countries. Despite the promise of these markets, however, adoption to date has been relatively slow. Yet households often remain exposed to movements in local weather; regional house prices; prices of commodities like rice, heating oil, and gasoline; and local, regional, and national income fluctuations. In many cases, financial contracts simply do not exist to hedge these exposures, and when contracts do exist their use is not widespread. Why don't financial markets develop to help households hedge these risks? Why don't more households participate when formal markets are available? HBS professor Shawn Cole and coauthors attempt to shed light on these questions by studying participation in rural India in a rainfall risk-management product that provides a payoff based on monsoon rainfall. The results suggest that it may take a significant amount of time—and substantial marketing efforts—to increase adoption of risk-management tools at the household level. Read More

Money or Knowledge? What Drives Demand for Financial Services in Emerging Markets?

Why is there apparently limited demand for financial services in emerging markets? On the one hand, low-income individuals may not want formal services when informal savings, credit, and insurance markets function reasonably well, and the benefits of formal financial market participation may not exceed the costs. On the other hand, limited financial literacy could be the barrier: If people are not familiar or comfortable with products, they will not demand them. These two views carry significantly different implications for the development of financial markets around the world, and would suggest quite different policy decisions by governments and international organizations seeking to promote "financial deepening." HBS professor Shawn Cole and coauthors found that financial literacy education has no effect on the probability of opening a bank savings account for the full population, although it does significantly increase the probability among those with low initial levels of financial literacy and low levels of education. In contrast, modest financial subsidies significantly increase the share of households that open a bank savings account within the subsequent two months. Read More

Capitalizing On Innovation: The Case of Japan

How can Japan create a better business environment for innovation? Japan presents a unique case of industrial structures that have produced remarkable developments in certain sectors but seem increasingly inadequate to do the same in modern technology industries, which rely on ecosystems of firms producing complementary products. Robert Dujarric and HBS professor Andrei Hagiu present three case studies of software, animation, and mobile telephony to illustrate potential sources of inefficiencies. Like all advanced economies, Japan faces two interconnected challenges. The first challenge is rising competition from lower-cost countries with the capacity to manufacture midrange and in some cases advanced industrial products. At the same time, Japan confronts changes in the relative weights of manufacturing and services, including soft goods, which go against the country's long-standing competitive advantage and emphasis on manufacturing. If Japan is to continue to prosper in a world where its ability to rely principally on manufacturing will diminish, its policymakers will need to capitalize on its untapped innovative power. Read More

Earnings Quality and Ownership Structure: The Role of Private Equity Sponsors

Although 99 percent of the companies operating in the United States are private, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, their accounting practices remain largely unknown due mainly to the lack of publicly available financial statements. In this study, HBS professor Sharon P. Katz used a unique database of firms with privately held equity and publicly held debt to examine how two different ownership structures-private equity sponsorship and non-private equity sponsorship-affect firms' financial reporting practices, financial performance, and stock returns in the years preceding and following the initial public offering (IPO). Read More

Female Empowerment: Impact of a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines

Does access to personal savings increase female decision-making power in the household? The answer could be important for policymakers looking to increase female empowerment. HBS professor Nava Ashraf and colleagues developed a commitment savings product called a SEED (Save, Earn, Enjoy Deposits) account with a small, rural bank in the Philippines. The SEED account requires that clients commit not to withdraw funds that are in the account until they reach a goal date or amount, but it does not explicitly commit the client to continue depositing funds after opening the account. This working paper examines the impact of the commitment savings product on both self-reported decision-making processes within the household and the subsequent household allocation of resources. Read More

Where is the Pharmacy to the World? International Regulatory Variation and Pharmaceutical Industry Location

The era of paternalistic medicine has passed, but the notion that patients can act as consumers and make appropriate decisions concerning medical treatment poses countervailing risks of its own. A better accommodation among key players needs to be struck to foster the safe use of pharmaceuticals, according to HBS professor Arthur Daemmrich. The "pharmacy to the world," once located at the intersection of Germany, Switzerland, and France, today is found in the United States. Studies of the industry have attributed this sustained competitive advantage to a variety of factors, including U.S. intellectual property policies, funding for biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health, the absence of government controls on drug prices, and the availability of venture capital and other factors that fostered the growth of the biotechnology industry. The data and analysis presented in this working paper, however speculative, are an initial step toward deepening the understanding of interrelationships between government regulation, patients' mobilization both as regulators and as consumers, and the functioning of the pharmaceutical industry. Read More

Misgovernance at the World Bank

Board members may be inclined to advance their own interests at voting time. This appears true for the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors, too. The problem? Many countries are being shut out of development funding. New research by Harvard Law School student Ashwin Kaja and HBS professor Eric Werker tells why misgovernance at the World Bank should be corrected. Read More

Corporate Misgovernance at the World Bank

This paper examines the politics of corporate governance at the world's largest appropriations committee, the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors, and exposes a weakness in the design of the World Bank's decision-making structure. Any large public organization faces a challenge of representation and management. Since all decisions cannot be made by all members, founders often grant a more nimble body with decision-making powers. But representatives on the decision-making body may face a temptation to govern in the interests of their own wallet or narrow constituency rather than in the interests of the larger body. In 2008, the Bank's two primary component institutions—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA)—committed nearly $25 billion in loans and grants through some 300 development projects around the globe. Where did it go? By exploring the political dynamics and corporate governance of an international appropriations committee, we not only learn about international organizations but also the nature of the international system itself. Read More

The Investment Strategies of Sovereign Wealth Funds

The role of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in the global financial system has been increasingly recognized in recent years, and many reports suggest that SWFs are often employed to further the geopolitical and strategic economic interests of their governments. The resources controlled by these funds—estimated to be $3.5 trillion in 2008—have grown sharply over the past decade. Projections, while inherently tentative due to the uncertainties about the future path of economic growth and commodity prices, suggest that they will be increasingly important actors in the years to come. Despite this significant and growing role, financial economists have devoted remarkably little attention to these funds. The lack of scrutiny must be largely attributed to the deliberately low profile adopted by many SWFs, which makes systematic analysis challenging. Bernstein, Lerner, and Schoar analyze how SWFs vary in their investment styles and performance across various geographies and governance structures. Taken as a whole, results suggest that high levels of home investments by SWFs, particularly those with the active involvement of political leaders, are associated with trend chasing and worse performance. Read More

Clay Christensen on Disrupting Health Care

In The Innovator's Prescription, professor Clayton Christensen and his coauthors target disruptive innovations that will make health care both more affordable and more effective in the future. Q&A with Christensen. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Cheers to the American Consumer

The willingness by American consumers to adopt new products, processes, and services more rapidly than those in other countries may be the most important enabler of entrepreneurship and innovation in America, says marketing professor John Quelch. Read More

Applying the Care Delivery Value Chain: HIV/AIDS Care in Resource Poor Settings

The prevention and treatment of a complex disease such as HIV/AIDS in resource‐poor settings presents enormous challenges. Many of the social and economic factors that make populations living in these settings vulnerable to HIV/AIDS such as poverty, malnutrition, and political instability conspire to create barriers to effective care delivery. Understanding how interventions are related to each other and how local socioeconomic factors influence them is critical to effective program design. The Care Delivery Value Chain (CDVC) looks at care as an overall system, not as a series of discrete interventions, and describes the activities required to deliver care, illustrating their sequence and organization. Government agencies, philanthropic organizations, and non‐governmental organizations can use the framework to improve HIV/AIDS care delivery. Read More

The Flattening Firm and Product Market Competition: The Effect of Trade Liberalization

Corporate hierarchies are becoming flatter: Spans of control have broadened, and the number of levels within firms has declined. But why? Maria Guadalupe of Columbia University and HBS professor Julie M. Wulf investigate how increased competition in product markets—and, in particular, product market competition resulting from trade liberalization—may be fundamentally altering how decisions are being made. Guadalupe and Wulf also shed light on the possible reasons behind certain organizational choices and on the importance of communication and decision-making processes inside firms. Read More

The Contingent Nature of Public Policy and Growth Strategies in the Early Twentieth-Century U.S. Banking Industry

The effects of public policy on organizations and economic activities have been widely observed. This line of research has contributed to organizational theory by showing the importance of state action for constructing economic systems, as well as firm structures and strategies. But there are a number of reasons why this perspective may in fact overemphasize the importance of public policy. This working paper, forthcoming as an article in the Academy of Management Journal, more fully investigates the contingent nature of the effects of policy on organizations, with the orienting premise that policy is just one of the external conditions that organizations face, and policy effects are more or less powerful to the extent that they are interactive with other elements of the environment. Specifically, the authors focus on how policy that regulated bank branching and other environmental factors affected—independently as well as interactively—the emergence and growth of large-scale firms in U.S. commercial banking from 1896 to 1978. Read More

Professional Networks in China and America

While American managers prefer to separate work and personal relationships, Chinese counterparts are much more likely to intermingle the two. One result: Doing business in China takes lots of time, says HBS professor Roy Y.J. Chua. Read More

The Bloody Millennium: Internal Conflict in South Asia

What accounts for the disturbing trend of increasing terrorism and associated fatalities in South Asia? In 2007, a quarter of all terrorist attacks worldwide were committed in South Asia, second only to Iraq. HBS professor Lakshmi Iyer presents the first comprehensive analysis of internal conflict in South Asia using multiple data sources and incorporating a long-run time frame. She finds that the intensity of internal conflict in the post-2001 period is strongly associated with poverty, both in a cross-country comparison and in a comparison of districts within India and Nepal. Measures implemented by regional and national governments to combat internal violence vary considerably across countries and over time. Typically, the use of military force or relying on unofficial militias has not proved to be a successful counterinsurgency tactic in South Asia; strengthening police activity and using a political accommodation approach has led to some successes in the past. Read More

Securing Jobs or the New Protectionism? Taxing the Overseas Activities of Multinational Firms

Popular imagination often links two significant economic developments: the rapid escalation of the foreign activities of American multinational firms over the last 15 years, and rising levels of economic insecurity, particularly among workers in certain sectors. The presumed linkages between these phenomena have led many to call for a reconsideration of the tax treatment of foreign investment. Increasing the tax burden on outbound investment by American multinational firms, it is claimed, offers the promise of alleviating domestic employment losses and insecurity while also raising considerable revenue. HBS professor Mihir A. Desai looks beneath the trends, examining the economic determinants of outbound investment decisions and synthesizing what is known about the relationship between domestic and foreign activities. Read More

Running Out of Numbers: Scarcity of IP Addresses and What To Do About It

Hidden from view of typical users, every Internet communication relies on an underlying system of numbers to identify data sources and destinations. Users typically specify online destinations by entering domain names (e.g. "congress.gov"). But the Internet's routers forward data according to numeric IP addresses (e.g. 140.147.249.9). To date, the Internet has enjoyed an ample supply of "IPv4" IP addresses, but demand is substantial and growing. Current allocation rates suggest IPv4 exhaustion by approximately 2011. A new numbering system, IPv6, would relieve scarcity, but incentives hinder transition: IPv4 works well for existing networks, and offers easier and simpler access to existing Internet content and services. As a result, to date few networks have begun to support v6. In principle regulators could order networks to implement v6, but the applicable Internet coordinating organizations lack authority or power to force such a transition. In the meantime, a market mechanism for v4 addresses offers important benefits, including allocating scarce v4 addresses to those who need them most, and putting a positive price on v4 space in order to encourage transition to v6. Thus, it seems v4 transfers can help both to mitigate the worst effects of v4 scarcity, and to build the incentives necessary for transition to v6. Read More

When the Internet Runs Out of IP Addresses

Experts predict that within three years we will see the last of new Web addresses. What will happen then? The best solution is to create a market for already assigned but unwanted numbers, says Harvard Business School professor Ben Edelman. Read More

The Energy Politics of Russia vs. Ukraine

A recent Harvard Business School case looks at Russia's decision in 2006 to cut off supply of natural gas to Ukraine's energy company—a move repeated this year. Is Russia just an energy bully? Students of professor Rawi Abdelal learn there is nothing black and white when it comes to Russia's energy politics. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Credit is Not the Bogey

"As we attempt to jump-start the economy of 2009, we should recognize both the risks and the advantages inherent in a robust credit industry," write HBS lecturer Nicolas P. Retsinas and Eric S. Belsky. The director and executive director, respectively, of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, they offer a prescription for making credit neither too easy nor too hard to get. Read More

When Does Domestic Saving Matter for Economic Growth?

The researchers begin with a simply stated question: Can a country grow faster by saving more? Long-run growth theories imply that a country can grow faster by investing more in human or physical capital or in R&D, but that a country with access to international capital markets cannot grow faster by saving more. Domestic saving is therefore not considered an important ingredient in the growth process because investment can be financed by foreign saving. From the point of view of standard growth theory, the positive cross-country correlation between saving and growth that many commentators have noted appears puzzling. HBS professor Diego Comin and colleagues develop a theory of local saving and growth in an open economy with domestic and foreign investors. Read More

An Exploration of the Japanese Slowdown during the 1990s

Why was the 1990s a lost decade for Japan? HBS professor Diego Comin argues that it was the combination of some shocks that lasted for about three years and the response of companies that drastically reduced their expenses in adopting new technologies and developing new ones. Though the severe shocks that hit the Japanese economy did not persist, the investments that Japanese companies and entrepreneurs did not undertake to improve technology and production methods during the 1990s propagated those shocks and made their effects very long-lasting. Read More

Where is Home for the Global Firm?

Global markets are changing the relationship between firms and nation-states in important ways, says HBS professor Mihir A. Desai. His new working paper, "The Decentering of the Global Firm," offers a practical framework for business leaders to think strategically about where to locate their company's financial and legal homes, and managerial talent. Q&A with Desai. Read More

The Decentering of the Global Firm

Firms such as Caterpillar are typically considered American companies by virtue of history while Honda, for example, is regarded as a Japanese company. However, the archetypal multinational firm with a particular national identity and a corporate headquarters fixed in one country is becoming obsolete as firms continue to maximize the opportunities created by global markets. The defining characteristics of what makes a firm belong to a country—where it is incorporated, where it is listed, the nationality of its investor base, the location of its headquarters functions—are no longer bound to one country. Why are these changes taking place, and what are their consequences? This paper places the increasing mobility of corporate identities within the broader setting of transformations to the "shape" of global firms over the last half century. Read More

Turbulent Firms, Turbulent Wages?

Has more creative destruction among firms raised wage volatility in the United States? Most of the related research on the remarkable and well-documented widening of wage inequality in the U.S. over the past three decades focuses on permanent components of workers' earnings, particularly the rising returns to education and ability associated with technological change, trade, and de-unionization. Less is known, however, about the contribution of larger transitory fluctuations. HBS professor Comin and colleagues explore whether workers' average pay is more volatile in firms that have experienced higher turbulence in sales. Findings have important implications for theories of labor markets and optimal wage compensation schemes. Read More

The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and US Ethnic Invention

The H-1B visa program governs most admissions of temporary immigrants into the U.S. for employment in patenting-related fields. This program has become a point of significant controversy in the public debate over immigration, with proponents and detractors at odds over how important H-1B admission levels are for U.S. technology advancement and whether native U.S. workers are being displaced by immigrants. In this study, Kerr and Lincoln quantify the impact of changes in H-1B admission levels on the pace and character of U.S. invention over the 1995-2006 period. Read More

Is the World Really Flat?

A provocative new book, The Venturesome Economy, argues that the world isn't flat at all, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. But in supporting innovation, does flatness even matter? Readers around the world weighed in with a constellation of viewpoints. (Online forum now closed; next forum begins February 5.) Closed for comment; 41 Comments posted.

Concentration Levels in the U.S. Advertising and Marketing Services Industry: Myth vs. Reality

How concentrated is the U.S. advertising and marketing services industry? Over the past several decades, the effects of deregulation, globalization, and technological innovation have reshaped the advertising and marketing services industry as they worked their way through the economy. Estimates from the existing literature are typically based on data from trade sources and present a picture that emphasizes rising concentration over time and domination by a handful of holding companies. These estimates are suspect as they suffer from a number of conceptual and measurement limitations. This paper analyzes changes in concentration levels in the U.S. advertising and marketing services industry, using data that have been largely ignored in past discussions of the economic organization of the industry. Read More

Market Reaction to the Adoption of IFRS in Europe

How do investors in European firms react to a change in financial reporting? Prior to 2005, most European firms applied domestic accounting standards. The adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) would result in the application of a common set of financial reporting standards within Europe, and between Europe and the many other countries that require or permit application of IFRS. However, modification of IFRS by European regulators would result in European standards differing from those used in other countries, thereby eliminating some potential convergence benefits. This study investigates the equity market reaction to 16 events associated with the adoption of IFRS in Europe. Overall, the researchers' findings are consistent with investors expecting the benefits associated with IFRS adoption in Europe to exceed the expected costs. Read More

Local Industrial Conditions and Entrepreneurship: How Much of the Spatial Distribution Can We Explain?

Some places, like Silicon Valley, seem almost magically entrepreneurial with a new start-up on every street corner. Other areas, like declining cities of the Rust Belt, appear equally starved of whatever local attributes make entrepreneurship more likely. Many academics, policymakers, and business leaders stress the importance of local conditions for explaining spatial differences in entrepreneurship and economic development. This paper uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau to characterize these entry relationships more precisely within the manufacturing sector. Read More

How Many U.S. Jobs Are ‘Offshorable’?

Some 900 Harvard Business School students were asked to recreate a study assessing the potential "offshorability" of more than 800 occupations in the United States. Their findings: It might be a larger number than we thought. Read More

Applicant and Examiner Citations in U.S. Patents: An Overview and Analysis

The ready availability of patent citation data has been a tremendous boon to applied research on knowledge and innovation. The role of examiners in the generation of patent citations has been thought to potentially complicate these analyses, but has been difficult to study. Taking advantage of a change in the way patent citation data has been reported starting in 2001, this paper summarizes basic facts on examiner citations, and provides a descriptive analysis of factors associated with citations in a patent. Read More

The Marketing of a President

Barack Obama's run for the White House was a model of marketing excellence, argues Professor John Quelch. Here's why it worked so well. Read More

Selling Out The American Dream

The American Dream has been transformed from an embodiment of the country's core values into a crass appeal to materialism and easy gratification. One result: the current economic crisis, says professor John Quelch. The federal government isn't helping. Read More

Extending Producer Responsibility: An Evaluation Framework for Product Take-Back Policies

Managing products at the end of life (EOL) is of growing concern for durable goods manufacturers. While some manufacturers engage in voluntary "take back" of EOL products for a variety of competitive reasons, the past 10 years have seen the rapid proliferation of government regulations and policies requiring manufacturers to collect and recycle their products, or pay others to do so on their behalf. Toffel, Stein, and Lee develop a framework for evaluating the extent to which these product take-back regulations offer the potential to reduce the environmental impacts of these products in an effective and cost-efficient manner, while also providing adequate occupational health and safety protection. The evaluation framework is illustrated with examples drawn from take-back regulations in Europe, Japan, and the United States. Read More

Economics of the Ethanol Business

What happens when a group of Missouri corn farmers gets into the energy business? What appears to be a very lucrative decision quickly turns out to be much more risky. Professor Forest Reinhardt leads a case discussion on what the protagonists should do next. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Do Voters Appreciate Responsive Governments? Evidence from Indian Disaster Relief

In a functioning democracy, politicians' ability to win reelection declines when they perform poorly. This idea fits well with models of political accountability. Recent evidence suggests, however, that voters may punish politicians even for events outside their control. This behavior may violate standard models of democratic accountability, and has been advanced as evidence of voter irrationality. This paper uses detailed weather, electoral, and relief data to identify the relationship between government responsiveness to an emergency and electoral decisions. Specifically, the authors look at the decisions that Indian voters made in provincial elections, using the intensity of the monsoon rains as an exogenous shock to welfare. They find that voters, on average, punish incumbent politicians for being in office during weather events beyond their control. However, the degree of voter punishment is reduced somewhat when the government responds more vigorously to the crisis. Read More

Economic Impacts of Immigration: A Survey

International migration is a mighty force globally. According to United Nations statistics, over 175 million people, accounting for 3 percent of the world's population, live permanently outside their countries of birth. This paper surveys the economic impacts of immigration for host countries, mostly emphasizing the recent experiences of Northern Europe and Scandinavia. The paper documents how migrant flows to some countries within this region are now of similar magnitude to the United States. The authors discuss the impact of immigration on national labor markets in terms of both immigrant assimilation and possible native displacement. Their survey concludes with the impact of immigration on the public finances of host countries, which is of particular policy importance within Europe today given ageing populations and fiscal imbalances. Read More

Consequences of Voluntary and Mandatory Fair Value Accounting: Evidence Surrounding IFRS Adoption in the EU Real Estate Industry

The required adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the European Union, effective January 1, 2005, resulted in a number of significant changes in how firms report their financial results. Mandatory IFRS adoption has been criticized for both the flexibility afforded under the standards and the encroachment of the fair value paradigm. Specifically, common accounting standards alone may not be sufficient to provide the benefits of common accounting practices. This paper examines the causes and consequences of different forms of fair value disclosures for tangible long-lived assets. Insights may assist standard setters and users in understanding the factors influencing firms' current and future accounting choices, and may also interest U.S. standard setters and managers of the almost 250 publicly traded U.S. real estate firms. Read More

Should You Bring Advertising Expertise In-House?

Advertising agencies have traditionally offered services to firms that couldn't afford or didn't find value in having that expertise in-house. But a recent study indicates more firms than previously thought are developing internal advertising units. Q&A with HBS professor emeritus Alvin J. Silk. Read More

Workout vs. Bailout: Should Government Take Advantage of the Buffett Effect?

The depth of the global financial crisis is becoming clearer day by day, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. Respondents to this month's column offered creative solutions, and by and large resisted the temptation to venture into the realm of ideology. (Online forum now closed.) Closed for comment; 50 Comments posted.

Financial Crisis Caution Urged by Faculty Panel

Dean Jay O. Light and a group of Harvard Business School faculty explored the origins and possible outcomes of the U.S. financial crisis at a recent "Turmoil on the Street" panel. Read More

The Cost of Property Rights: Establishing Institutions on the Philippine Frontier Under American Rule, 1898-1918

Economists generally agree that a system of transparent and secure property rights is beneficial for growth and development. A large literature emphasizes the role of property rights in spurring long-term investments, improving productivity, changing labor allocations, and increasing access to formal sources of credit. This paper describes U.S. attempts to implement property rights reforms in the Philippines in the early twentieth century. Iyer and Maurer document that, two decades after the arrival of the Americans, property rights in the Philippines had become unambiguously less secure, and that political and budgetary constraints played a large role in inhibiting the progress of reforms. Read More

The Internalization of Advertising Services: An Inter-Industry Analysis

When are advertisers more likely to establish and maintain their own in-house agencies? Despite occasional indications to the contrary, such self-sufficiency has long been viewed by industry observers and scholars as more the exception than the rule in the U.S. advertising and marketing services business. With the background that vertical integration in this industry is a neglected domain of research, analysis by HBS professor emeritus Alvin J. Silk and colleagues suggests that while most large U.S. advertisers rely primarily on independent agencies for advertising services, many other advertisers operate in-house advertising units. Read More

The Coming Transformation of Social Enterprise

A new generation of business leaders and philanthropists is experimenting with hybrid forms of social enterprises while demanding more transparency and accountability from the organizations they are funding. Harvard Business School professor Kash Rangan discusses what he sees as a sector on the brink of transformation. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Creating Leaders for Science-Based Businesses

The unique challenges of managing and leading science-based businesses—certain to be a driver of this century's new economy—demand new management paradigms. At Harvard Business School, the opportunities start just across the street. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Traveling Agents: Political Change and Bureaucratic Turnover in India

Politicians and bureaucrats are two important pillars of governance, but while politicians are motivated by short-term electoral pressures, bureaucrats are driven by long-term career concerns. This difference in the nature of their incentives is, in most cases, deliberate and constitutionally provided for. Iyer and Mani address two key questions in this paper: How do politicians facing short-term electoral pressures control bureaucrats with low-powered incentives? In turn, how do bureaucrats respond to these incentives? The authors develop a simple framework and provide empirical evidence on both the politicians' and the bureaucrats' strategies, using a detailed data set on the entire career histories of officers in the Indian Administrative Service, the top layer of government bureaucracy in India. Read More

How Disruptive Innovation Changes Education

HBS professor Clayton M. Christensen, who developed the theory of disruptive innovation, joins colleagues Michael B. Horn and Curtis W. Johnson to advocate for ways in which ideas around innovation can spur much-needed improvements in public education. A Q&A with the authors of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. Read More

The Agglomeration of U.S. Ethnic Inventors

The higher concentration of immigrants in certain cities and occupations has long been noted. There has been very little theoretical or empirical work to date, however, on the particular agglomeration of U.S. immigrant scientists and engineers. This scarcity is disappointing given the scale of these ethnic contributions and the importance of innovation to regional economic growth. William R. Kerr's study contributes to our empirical understanding of agglomeration and innovation by documenting patterns in the city-level agglomeration of ethnic inventors (e.g., Chinese, Indian) within the United States from 1975 through 2007. It is hoped that the empirical platform developed in this study provides a foothold for furthering such analyses. Read More

Google-Yahoo Ad Deal is Bad for Online Advertising

A proposed advertising deal between Internet competitors Google and Yahoo would reduce competitiveness in the Internet advertising market, likely resulting in higher advertising rates, says Harvard Business School professor Benjamin G. Edelman. Read More

Are the Olympics a Catalyst for China Reforms?

By hosting the Summer Games, China is putting itself at the center of the world's stage, a position some reformers would like to leverage to spark human rights improvements in the country. Can outsiders influence Chinese policy? Not without help, says HBS professor Tarun Khanna. Read More

Fixing Market Failures or Fixing Elections? Agricultural Credit in India

There are strong theoretical reasons to believe that politicians manipulate resources under their control to achieve electoral success. Yet, compelling examples of this manipulation are heretofore rarely documented in scholarly literature. Cole's paper presents evidence that government-owned banks in India serve the electoral interests of politicians. It also analyzes how resources are strategically distributed. Read More

Does Market Capitalism Have a Future?

Does capitalism have a future? That intriguing topic was the subject of an HBS faculty colloquium led by professor Joe Bower, with fellow faculty members Dutch Leonard, David Moss, and Lynn Pain. Read More

Why the U.S. Should Encourage FDI

American financial executives are courting foreign direct investors, particularly sovereign wealth funds, for new investments. Should these investments draw increased scrutiny from U.S. regulators? Harvard Business School professor Mihir Desai argues that most of these deals work out in America's best financial interest. Read More

Financial Development, Bank Ownership, and Growth. Or, Does Quantity Imply Quality?

Government ownership of banks, a common phenomenon, is among the most important policy tools used to influence financial development. But what is the actual effect of such ownership on the financial development of a country? This paper uses a policy experiment in India to evaluate the effect of government ownership of banks on development. Read More

A Replication Study of Alan Blinder’s “How Many U.S. Jobs Might Be Offshorable?”

The movement of business activity from developed economies to developing economies—commonly called offshoring—has become the focus of heated debates. Behind these debates lies a pivotal question of scale: How much business activity and how many jobs are at stake? Official statistics are nearly silent, and private-sector researchers vary widely in their estimates of the number of U.S. jobs that have moved offshore, will move offshore, or could move offshore. In an effort to address this gap in prior literature, Princeton economist Alan Blinder released an innovative working paper in 2007 in which he personally reviewed more than 800 occupations in the United States, assessed the "offshorability" of each, and used the evaluations to estimate the total number of U.S. jobs that might be offshorable. Here, HBS research associate Troy Smith and Professor Jan W. Rivkin describe an online exercise that allowed 152 teams of HBS MBA students, collectively, to recreate Blinder's study and to develop insights about the future of offshoring. Read More

HBS Cases: Reforming New Orleans Schools After Katrina

The New Orleans public school system, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is now getting a boost from charter schools—today about half of the city's 80 schools are charter schools, says HBS lecturer and senior researcher Stacey M. Childress. She explains what New Orleans represents for entrepreneurial opportunities in U.S. public education. Read More

Starbucks’ Lessons for Premium Brands

After building a great franchise offering a unique customer experience, Starbucks diluted its brand when it overexpanded and offered too many new products. Harvard Business School professor John Quelch thinks the trouble began when the company went public. Read More

Innovation Corrupted: How Managers Can Avoid Another Enron

The train wreck that was Enron provides key insights for improving corporate governance and financial incentives as well as organizational processes that strengthen ethical discipline, says HBS professor emeritus Malcolm S. Salter. His new book, Innovation Corrupted: The Origins and Legacy of Enron's Collapse, is a deep reflection on the present and future of business. Read More

Bank Structure and the Terms of Lending to Small Businesses

Access to "soft information" and the greater sensitivity of decentralized banks to the local institutional environment can have both positive and negative consequences for small firms. Hence there may be a dark side to decentralized bank lending in certain instances. This paper argues that the same ability of decentralized banks to act on soft information also makes them more responsive to the local environment when setting terms of their loans. While this can be beneficial for small businesses in competitive markets, it also implies that the organizational structure of decentralized banks might allow them to better exploit their market power in concentrated banking markets by restricting credit or charging higher interest rates from small businesses. Read More

Accounting Information as Political Currency

The study of accounting and the political process has long been viewed through the political cost hypothesis, the basic premise of which is that firms manage earnings in order to extract first-order benefits (or avoid first-order costs) from regulators. This paper develops and tests a distinct, yet likely, complementary hypothesis: Firms manage reported earnings in order to supply first-order benefits to regulators. Focusing on Democratic and Republican candidates in congressional races in 2004, Ramanna and Roychowdhury test whether the management of accounting information is in some circumstances akin to a political contribution from firms to politicians: in other words, whether accounting information can be used as political currency. The authors predict and find that identified corporate donors to candidates in closely watched races in 2004 managed information related to outsourcing, a hot-button issue in those races. Read More

Evaluating the Impact of SA 8000 Certification

The Social Accountability 8000 Standard (SA 8000), along with other types of certification standards and corporate codes of conduct, represents a new form of voluntary "private-governance" of working conditions in the private sector, initiated and implemented by companies, labor unions, and nongovernmental activist groups cooperating together. There is an ongoing debate about whether this type of governance represents real and substantial progress or mere symbolism. This paper reviews prior evaluations of private codes of conduct governing workplace conditions, including Ethical Trading Initiative's Base Code, Nike's Code of Conduct, and Fair Trade certification. The authors then discuss several best practices that should be employed in future evaluations of such codes of conduct. Read More

Accountability and Inequality in Single-Party Regimes: A Comparative Analysis of Vietnam and China

While both China and Vietnam have experienced rapid annual growth over the past two decades, income inequality has risen more rapidly in China than in Vietnam during the same period. Structural and socio-cultural determinants fail to account for these divergent paths, as nearly every variable predicts higher inequality in Vietnam. This paper by Regina Abrami and colleagues focuses on differences in political institutions to explain these divergent paths. In so doing, it contributes to a growing body of literature describing variation in authoritarian regimes, but focuses on variation within one authoritarian regime type. Read More

Coming Clean and Cleaning Up: Is Voluntary Disclosure a Signal of Effective Self-Policing?

This paper demonstrates some of the benefits and limitations of industry self-policing programs. Many self-regulation programs are operated exclusively by the private sector, often in the hope of garnering goodwill with consumers or staving off more stringent government regulation. Less well known are voluntary self-regulation programs operated by government regulators seeking innovative approaches to further regulatory objectives and to stretch shrinking agency budgets. Little is known about the effects of these programs, or how they might contribute to the overall effectiveness of a regulatory regime. Michael Toffel and Jodi Short seek to determine whether the self-policing required under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Audit Policy affects the behavior of regulators and participating facilities and the relationship between them. Specifically, the researchers examine whether self-policing is associated with improved environmental performance at these facilities and whether regulators reduce their scrutiny over self-policing facilities. Read More

Testing Strategy with Multiple Performance Measures Evidence from a Balanced Scorecard at Store24

To what extent do balanced scorecards provide useful information for testing and validating an organization's strategy? Numerous case studies of balanced scorecard implementations document their use in translating organizational strategies to objectives and measures, communicating strategic objectives to employees, evaluating the performance of business units, and aligning the incentives of employees across business units and functions. There has been comparatively little research, however, on the potential learning and feedback role of balanced scorecards. Analyzing balanced scorecard data from Store24—a privately held convenience store retailer in New England—during the implementation of an innovative but ultimately unsuccessful strategy, this study investigates whether, when, and how information about problems with the firm's strategy was captured in the multiple performance measures of its balanced scorecard. Read More

Going Negative in Political Advertising

Companies rarely run negative ads against competitors, but political candidates often do. Why the difference? It's a byproduct of our political system's winner-take-all approach, says professor John Quelch. Read More

Connecting School Ties and Stock Recommendations

School connections are an important yet underexplored way in which private information is revealed in prices in financial markets. As HBS professor Lauren H. Cohen and colleagues discovered, school ties between equity analysts and top management of public companies led analysts to earn returns of up to 5.4 percent on their stock recommendations. Cohen explains more in our Q&A. Read More

Accounting Information as Political Currency

Corporate donors that gave at least $10,000 to closely watched races in the U.S. congressional elections of 2004 were more likely to understate their earnings, say Harvard Business School's Karthik Ramanna and MIT colleague Sugata Roychowdhury. Such "downward earnings management" may have functioned as a political contribution. In this Q&A, Ramanna explains how accounting and politics influence each other. Read More

What is the Future of State Capitalism?

In state capitalism, is the operative word "capitalism"? State capitalism is neither to be applauded nor feared, judging from the tone of responses to May's column. Jim Heskett sums up. Online forum now closed. Closed for comment; 43 Comments posted.

The Marketing Challenges of the China Olympics

The Olympic Games are normally a marketer's dream. Not so much this year, given widespread protests against the Chinese government. Professor John Quelch outlines the branding challenges posed by this year's Games in Beijing. Read More

Negotiating with Wal-Mart

What happens when you encounter a company with a great deal of power, like Wal-Mart, that is also the ultimate non-negotiable partner? A series of Harvard Business School cases by James Sebenius and Ellen Knebel explore successful deal-making strategies. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Bank Accounting Standards in Mexico: A Layman’s Guide to Changes 10 Years after the 1995 Bank Crisis

Mexico was the first emerging market compelled to reformulate the financial reporting of its banks as a result of a financial crisis. In the last decade, Mexico has undergone a process of internationalization of its banking industry. Today, more than 80 percent of the equity of Mexican banks belongs to internationally active bank corporations. This internationalization demands more transparent regulation, including standardized accounting rules and better disclosure of information. The case of Mexico can therefore serve as an example of the relevance of these changes, as well as of their scope and limitations. This paper attempts to clarify the nature and structure of the new accounting standards, and explains how they have affected financial statements and their interpretation. Read More

The Gap in the U.S. Treasury Recommendations

U.S. Treasury recommendations for strengthening the regulation of the financial system are a good start but fall short, says Harvard Business School professor emeritus Dwight B. Crane. Here's his suggestion for bringing regulation into the 21st century. Read More

Where Does it Go? Spending by the Financially Constrained

Despite widespread interest by academics, businesspeople, and policymakers, much is unknown about the financial behavior of low-income individuals, particularly those who rarely or ever use banks. Do credit constrained consumers spend money more quickly than less constrained consumers? Do they spend the money in different manners (card-based merchant transactions versus cash ATM withdrawals)? Do credit constrained consumers have different spending patterns than the less constrained—do they buy different goods and services? This working paper provides preliminary data on spending patterns by over 1.5 million refund recipients, all of whom used either a loan or a settlement product to receive refund money faster than the IRS processes would have otherwise allowed. The results should inform the view of policymakers, financial service professionals, scholars, and consumer advocates. Read More

The Matchmaker of the Modern Economy

In the wake of World War II, Georges Doriot helped found the world's first public venture capital firm, American Research and Development. Doriot (1899–1987) was also a professor at Harvard Business School for 40 years. Our book excerpt from Creative Capital: Georges Doriot and the Birth of Venture Capital (HBS Press) describes how ARD first came to "marry" investors and innovators. Read More

The Debate over Taxing Foreign Profits

Corporate tax policy has suddenly become a hot topic in the U.S., including the issue of whether current tax laws encourage American firms to outsource jobs to other countries. Harvard Business School professor Mihir Desai makes a case for exempting foreign profit from taxes if proper safeguards are put in place. Read More

Four Companies that Conquered America

Any self-respecting global company needs to compete in the United States, but many have floundered on its shores. Professor John Quelch spotlights the strategies of four that succeeded: Royal Bank of Scotland, IKEA, ING, and Dyson. Read More

JetBlue’s Valentine’s Day Crisis

It was the Valentine's Day from hell for JetBlue employees and more than 130,000 customers. Under bad weather, JetBlue fliers were trapped on the runway at JFK for hours, many ultimately delayed by days. How did the airline make it right with customers and learn from its mistakes? A discussion with Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Huckman. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Disaster!

Disaster brings out the best in some, the worst in others. But every disaster tells a tale we can learn from. Here we look at lessons learned from failures involving polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, NASA, and a Mount Everest climbing team. Read More

The Lessons of Business History: A Handbook

Compiling a handbook on the current thinking in any area of study seems daunting enough, but the just-published Oxford Handbook of Business History carries an even larger mission: bring the lessons of business history to current research in other disciplines and to the practice of business management itself. A Q&A with coeditor Geoffrey Jones. Read More

Finding Missing Markets (and a disturbing epilogue): Evidence from an Export Crop Adoption and Marketing Intervention in Kenya

Why do farmers continue to grow crops for local markets when crops for export markets are thought to be much more profitable? Answers may include missing information about the profitability of these crops, lack of access to the necessary capital to make the switch possible, lack of infrastructure necessary to bring the crops to export outlets, high risk of the export markets, lack of human capital necessary to adopt successfully a new agricultural technology, and misperception by researchers and policymakers about the true profit opportunities and risk of crops grown for export markets. Ashraf and colleagues conducted an experimental trial with DrumNet, a social enterprise of Pride Africa, a nongovernmental organization, to evaluate whether a package of services can help farmers adopt, finance, and market export crops, and thus earn more income. This experiment was motivated by a recent push in development to build sustainable interventions that help complete missing markets. Read More

Colonial Land Tenure, Electoral Competition and Public Goods in India

How is the impact of historical institutions felt today? This comparative analysis by Banerjee and Iyer highlights the impact of a specific historical institution on long-term development, specifically the land tenure systems instituted during British colonial rule. The paper compares the long-term development outcomes between areas where controls rights in land were historically given to a few landlords and areas where such rights were more broadly distributed. The paper also documents the impact of these differing historical institutions on political participation and electoral competition in the post-colonial period. Read More

Podcast: Revisiting Rental Housing

The subprime loan debacle, which has caused thousands of families to lose their homes, has cast light on another housing crisis in the U.S.: the lack of affordable rentals. In this podcast Harvard Business School professor Nicholas Retsinas discusses how this situation came to be, and his new book, Revisiting Rental Housing. Read More

Consumer Demand for Prize-Linked Savings: A Preliminary Analysis

Prize-linked savings (PLS) products are savings vehicles that may appeal to people with little savings and little interest in traditional savings products. PLS products offer savers a return in the form of the chance to earn large prizes, rather than in more traditional forms of interest or dividend income or capital appreciation. The probability of winning is typically determined by account balances, and the aggregate prize pool can be set to deliver market returns to all savers. Prize-linked assets are offered in over twenty countries around the world—including the U.K., Sweden, South Africa, and many Latin American and Middle Eastern countries—but are not available in the United States, where state laws and federal regulations make the offering of prize-linked programs problematic. This working paper provides a first look into demand for a PLS product in the United States. Read More

Radical Design, Radical Results

Consumers appear increasingly willing to make purchase decisions based upon their emotions about a product—how it looks, or sounds, or makes them feel using it. But the traditional design process based on user experience goes only so far in creating radical innovation. Harvard Business School visiting scholar Roberto Verganti is exploring the new world of "design-driven innovation." Read More

Laws vs. Contracts: Legal Origins, Shareholder Protections, and Ownership Concentration in Brazil, 1890-1950

The early development of large multidivisional corporations in Latin America required much more than capable managers, new technologies, and large markets. Behind such corporations was a market for capital in which entrepreneurs had to attract investors to buy either debt or equity. This paper examines the investor protections included in corporate bylaws that enabled corporations in Brazil to attract investors in large numbers, thus generating a relatively low concentration of ownership and control in large firms before 1910. The case of Brazil is particularly interesting because, in Latin America before World War I, it boasted the second-largest equity market and largest number of traded companies. As HBS professor Aldo Musacchio shows, the considerable variation of investor protections over time at the country level, and even at the company level, urges cautions against notions about the persistency of institutions, especially of legal traditions. Read More

The Small World of Investing: Board Connections and Mutual Fund Returns

How does information flow in security markets, and how do investors receive information? In the context of information flow, social networks allow a piece of information to flow along a network often in predictable paths. HBS professors Lauren Cohen and Christopher Malloy, along with University of Chicago colleague Andrea Frazzini, studied a type of dissemination through social networks tied to educational institutions, examining the information flow between mutual fund portfolio managers and senior officers of publicly traded companies. They then tested predictions on the portfolio allocations and returns earned by mutual fund managers on securities within and outside their networks. Read More

Does Democracy Need a Marketing Manager?

It's more than coincidence that we feel more association with our favorite consumer brands than with our elected politicians or government institutions. Can the power of marketing be used to promote public participation in politics? Harvard Business School professor John A. Quelch and research associate Katherine E. Jocz discuss their new book, Greater Good: How Good Marketing Makes for Better Democracy. Plus: book excerpt. Read More

Podcast: The Potential Partnership of India and China

Even without cooperation between them, China and India appear headed toward economic superpower status in the coming decades. But what if they worked together? In this podcast, Harvard Business School professor Tarun Khanna discusses the possibility of Sino-Indian cooperation and its impact on global business. Read More

Cost of External Finance and Selection into Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs are, on average, significantly wealthier than people who work in paid employment. Research shows that entrepreneurs comprise fewer than 9 percent of households in the United States but they hold 38 percent of household assets and 39 percent of the total net worth. This relationship between personal wealth and entrepreneurship has long been seen as evidence of market failure, meaning that talented but less wealthy individuals are precluded from entrepreneurship because they don't have sufficient wealth to finance their new ventures. Nanda studied how changes in the cost of external finance affected the characteristics and likelihood of individuals becoming entrepreneurs. He finds that market failure accounts for only a small fraction of the relationship between personal wealth and entrepreneurship in advanced economies such as the U.S. Read More

Billions of Entrepreneurs in China and India

Entrepreneurship in both China and India is rising dramatically and thriving under quite different conditions. HBS professor Tarun Khanna explains what it all means in this Q&A about his new book, Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India Are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours. Plus: book excerpt. Read More

What Do Non-Governmental Organizations Do?

Non-governmental organizations play an increasingly important role in international development. They serve as a funnel for development funds both from individual donors in wealthy countries and from bilateral aid agencies. At the same time, NGOs are frequently idealized as organizations committed to "doing good" while setting aside profit or politics—a romantic view that is too starry-eyed. Development-oriented NGOs, which have existed for centuries, have played a growing role in development since the end of World War II; there are currently 20,000 international NGOs. This paper argues that the strengths of NGOs and their weaknesses easily fit into economists' conceptualization of not-for-profit contractors. Read More

If Marketing Experts Ran Elections

Most Americans seem indifferent about the political process, judging by lackluster voter turnout historically, although the primaries so far seem to be bucking the trend. Professor John Quelch discusses what politicians can learn from consumer marketing. Read More

Mapping Polluters, Encouraging Protectors

Where are the biggest polluters? And what is your company doing to protect the environment? A new Web site—both a public service and a research tool—posts managers' data in real time, allowing a balanced view of industrial environmental performance. HBS professor Michael W. Toffel and senior research fellow Andrew A. King explain. Read More

A Resource Belief-Curse: Oil and Individualism

Capitalism is not as widespread as economists would hope. Data from surveys of public opinion, as well as on the distribution of political parties, confirm the idea that capitalism doesn't flow to poor countries. In some countries, anti-market sentiment has increased in recent years, a period where the price of oil and other primary commodities have soared. This combination of anti-market sentiment and high oil prices has led to renegotiations of oil contracts and even nationalizations in some countries such as Bolivia and Venezuela. It is tempting for economists trained in the theory of political capture to argue that this is just another instance where special interests exploit the circumstances to make an extra dollar. Given that these nationalizations are often popular with the majority of voters, however, the researchers resist this temptation and ask if there are explanations where a positive correlation emerges between voter anti-market sentiment and dependence on oil. Read More

Does Judgment Trump Experience?

It's a question as relevant for business as for the U.S. presidential campaign, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. If "judgment capability" is a function of experience, what kind of experience is important? Does plenty of experience really improve judgment? Online forum now CLOSED. Closed for comment; 111 Comments posted.

The Rise of Medical Tourism

Medical tourism—traveling far and wide for health care that is often better and certainly cheaper than at home—appeals to patients with complaints ranging from heart ailments to knee pain. Why is India leading in the globalization of medical services? Q&A with Harvard Business School's Tarun Khanna. Read More

Six Steps for Reinvigorating America

In the early stages of the 21st century, America has lost its way both at home and in the world, argues Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. In her new book, America the Principled, she details 6 opportunities for America to boost its economic vitality and democratic ideals. Q&A plus excerpt. Read More

How Marketing Hype Hurt Boeing and Apple

In his latest blog entry, professor John Quelch looks at the examples of Boeing and Apple to investigate why shareholders have little patience for companies that hype high but deliver low. Read More

The Changing Face of American Innovation

Chinese and Indian scientists and engineers have made an unexpectedly large contribution to U.S. technology formation over the last 30 years, according to new research by HBS professor William R. Kerr. But that trend may be ebbing, with potentially harmful effects on future growth in American innovation. Read More

Climate Change Puts Heat on GMs

Ready or not, companies are being swept up in the increasing public debate over global climate change. How should firms respond? A case study exploring how financial service giant UBS thinks through the issues has students coming down on different sides. Read More

Marketing Maria: Managing the Athlete Endorsement

Million-dollar endorsement deals will be made and broken by how baseball players on the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies performed in the just completed World Series. HBS professor Anita Elberse discusses her research on sports marketing and her recent case on tennis powerhouse Maria Sharapova. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Managing Innovation

Can creativity be managed? Where do creative ideas come from? These questions and others are explored in this latest collection from the HBS Working Knowledge archives. Read More

Bringing ‘Lean’ Principles to Service Industries

Toyota and other top manufacturing companies have embraced, improved, and profited by lean production methods. But the payoffs have not been nearly as dramatic for service industries applying lean principles. HBS professor David Upton and doctoral student Bradley Staats look at the experience of Indian software services provider Wipro for answers. Read More

Why Global Brands Work

Japanese automakers create single products and brands for worldwide consumption, while Ford customizes products for local markets. You know who won. Why do global brands work? What makes them work? Professor John Quelch provides some answers. Read More

Businesses Beware: The World Is Not Flat

With apologies to Thomas Friedman, managers who believe the hype of a flat world do so at their own risk, says HBS professor Pankaj Ghemawat. National borders still matter a lot for business strategists. While identifying similarities from one place to the next is essential, effective cross-border strategies will take careful stock of differences as well. A Q&A and book excerpt follow. Read More

The Causes and Consequences of Industry Self-Policing

The corporate confession is a paradox, as described in this paper aimed at managers, policymakers, and citizens. Why would a firm that identifies regulatory compliance violations within its own operations turn itself in to regulators, rather than quietly fix the problem? Economic intuition suggests that firms will self-disclose violations only when the cost of doing so is less than the expected cost of hiding violations. However, while the cost of doing so can be increased regulatory scrutiny, there is often almost no expected cost of hiding violations. To explore the complex behavior of corporate self-disclosure, Short and Toffel conducted a large-scale analysis in the context of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Audit Policy. They investigated what factors lead organizations to self-disclose violations that went undiscovered by regulators, and asked whether these self-disclosing organizations were obtaining any unofficial regulatory benefits above and beyond formal penalty mitigation. They also evaluated whether self-policing promotes the regulatory objective of improving compliance records. Read More

Team Familiarity, Role Experience, and Performance:Evidence from Indian Software Services

In contexts ranging from product development to service delivery, a significant amount of an organization's work is conducted by "fluid teams" that strive for innovative output. Fluid project teams exist only for the duration of a single project, and are comprised of members who may join or leave a team during the course of a project. In such settings, simple measures of cumulative output may not accurately capture team experience, particularly when changes in team composition are substantial over time. This study of an Indian software services firm, Wipro Technologies, considers an approach for capturing the experience held by fluid teams. It extends the concept of team fluidity in a way that allows for greater granularity in the measurement of team experience and a finer understanding of the determinants of team performance. Read More

The FDA: What Will the Next 100 Years Bring?

With the possible exception of the Internal Revenue Service, no other governmental agency touches the lives of more Americans than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which ensures the safety of $1.5 trillion worth of consumer goods and medicines. Harvard Business School professor Arthur A. Daemmrich discusses the impact and challenges of the agency and his new book, Perspectives on Risk and Regulation: The FDA at 100. Read More

How Brand China Can Succeed

A series of recent setbacks including the Mattel toy recalls threaten China's new and improving image, says Professor John Quelch. There is just not enough preexisting brand equity among the world's consumers to inoculate Brand China against the current tide of negative publicity. What should the country do to polish its image? Read More

Building Sandcastles: The Subprime Adventure

The early days of the subprime industry seemed to fulfill a market need—and millions of renters became homeowners as a result. But rapidly escalating home prices masked cracks in the subprime foundation. HBS professor Nicolas P. Retsinas, who is also director of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, lays out what went wrong and why. Read More

The Ethnic Composition of U.S. Inventors

The contributions of immigrants to U.S. technology formation are staggering. While the foreign-born account for just over 10 percent of the U.S. working population, they represent 25 percent of the U.S. science and engineering workforce and nearly 50 percent of those with doctorates. Even looking within the Ph.D. level, ethnic researchers make an exceptional contribution to science as measured by Nobel Prizes, election to the National Academy of Sciences, patent citation counts, and so on. The magnitude of these ethnic contributions raises many research and policy questions: 4 examples are debates regarding the appropriate quota for H1-B temporary visas, the possible crowding out of native students from the science and engineering fields, the brain-drain or brain-circulation effect on sending countries, and the future prospects for U.S. technology leadership. This paper describes a new approach for quantifying the ethnic composition of U.S. inventors with previously unavailable detail. Read More

High Note: Managing the Medici String Quartet

As one of the top ensembles in classical music, the Medici String Quartet has enjoyed a long and creative collaboration. But it hasn't always been harmonious. HBS professor Robert Austin explains what innovative businesses can learn about managing creative people. Read More

Diversification of Chinese Companies: An International Comparison

Many observers have argued that Chinese managers are particularly quick to diversify their enterprises. Fueled by robust economic growth and the scant enforcement of intellectual property rights that could serve as barriers to entry, Chinese companies appear to be aggressively expanding into new industries whenever economic opportunities appear to beckon. There is much anecdotal evidence to support this view. But because the Chinese economy is extraordinarily large and dynamic, it is difficult to know whether anecdotes reflect an underlying trend toward greater diversification. This paper provides systematic evidence about the scope of Chinese companies, and compares the data with the evolution of firm scope in 8 other large economies. Read More

The Excess Burden of Government Indecision

Virtually all U.S. policymakers, budget analysts, and academic experts agree that the United States faces a very serious, if not a grave, long-term fiscal problem. Yet few policymakers will publicly say how or when they would fix it, perhaps because they fear being the bearer of bad news and getting voted out of office. Delaying the resolution of fiscal imbalances incurs two costs, however. First, it leaves a larger bill for a smaller number of people to pay. Second, and of primary interest to this research, it perpetuates uncertainty, leading economic agents to make suboptimal saving, investment, and other decisions, and reducing welfare. This research identifies and measures this "excess burden" of government indecision and finds that it is economically significant. Read More

Global Currency Hedging

This article is forthcoming in the Journal of Finance. How much should investors hedge the currency exposure implicit in their international portfolios? Using a long sample of foreign exchange rates, stock returns, and bond returns that spans the period between 1975 and 2005, this paper studies the correlation of currency excess returns with stock returns and bond returns. These correlations suggest the existence of a typology of currencies. First, the euro, the Swiss franc, and a portfolio simultaneously long U.S. dollars and short Canadian dollars are negatively correlated with world equity markets and in this sense are "safe" or "reserve" currencies. Second, the Japanese yen and the British pound appear to be only mildly correlated with global equity markets. Third, the currencies of commodity producing countries such as Australia and Canada are positively correlated with world equity markets. These results suggest that investors can minimize their equity risk by not hedging their exposure to reserve currencies, and by hedging or overhedging their exposure to all other currencies. The paper shows that such a currency hedging policy dominates other popular hedging policies such as no hedging, full hedging, or partial, uniform hedging across all currencies. All currencies are uncorrelated or only mildly correlated with bonds, suggesting that international bond investors should fully hedge their currency exposures. Read More

Mattel: Getting a Toy Recall Right

Mattel has been criticized heavily for having to recall not once but twice in as many weeks 20 million toys manufactured in China. But Mattel also deserves praise for stepping up to its responsibilities as the leading brand in the toy industry. Harvard Business School professor John Quelch examines what Mattel did right. Read More

HBS Cases: Using Investor Relations Proactively

Investor relations has a delicate balancing act. It communicates with stakeholders, of course, but can also help employees take a step back and analyze their firm as outsiders do. Harvard Business School's Gregory S. Miller, Vincent Dessain, and Daniela Beyersdorfer explain where IR is going, with energy giants BP and Total leading the way. Read More

The Dark Side of Trust

It has been well documented that strong trust between a buyer and supplier provides many advantages, such as increased productivity. But according to new research coauthored by HBS professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee, trusting relationships can also have a negative side that managers must take into account. Read More

Diasporas and Domestic Entrepreneurs: Evidence from the Indian Software Industry

Several recent studies have highlighted the important role that cross-border ethnic networks might play in facilitating entrepreneurship in developing countries. Little is known, however, about the extent to which domestic entrepreneurs rely on the diaspora and whether this varies systematically by the characteristics of the entrepreneurs or their local business environment. The Indian diaspora is estimated at over 18 million people spanning 130 countries. Given that formal institutions in India remain weak and hence the informal barriers to trade are higher, do diaspora networks serve as substitutes to the functioning of the local business environment? Do they help entrepreneurs to circumvent the barriers to trade arising from imperfect institutions? This study examines the extent to which software entrepreneurs within India vary in their reliance on expatriate networks. Read More

High Hills, Deep Poverty: Explaining Civil War in Nepal

Nepal, the home of Mount Everest, has been gripped in recent years by civil war. A new paper by Harvard Business School professor Lakshmi Iyer and Quy-Toan Do of the World Bank looked at the roots of Nepal's conflict from a variety of angles. For the future, investing in poverty reduction strategies is a key for peace, Iyer says. Read More

The Evolution of Apple

Apple's continuing development from computer maker to consumer electronics pioneer is rich material in a number of Harvard Business School classrooms. Professor David Yoffie discusses his latest case study of Apple, the 5th update in 14 years, which challenges students to think strategically about Apple's successes and failures in the past, and opportunities and challenges in the future. Read More

Podcast: Rupert Murdoch and the Wall Street Journal

Media baron Rupert Murdoch's bid to acquire Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal is one step closer to fruition. In this interview, Professor Bharat N. Anand discusses the proposed deal and pressures facing the newspaper business. Read More

The Persuasive Appeal of Stigma

Are minority groups more persuasive when their conversations with majority groups are conducted face-to-face? Interracial interactions are among the most perilous social occasions in contemporary America, full of opportunities for things to go awry. People in stigmatized groups, for instance, may worry that members of majority groups hold prejudiced attitudes that can lead to discriminatory or offensive behavior. Members of majority groups, for their part, may fear coming across as biased or racist. While psychology has traditionally explored the damaging effects of such interactions on social exchange, new findings contribute to the growing recognition that stigma may be a two-sided construct, marked with a host of costs but occasional benefits. This study demonstrates the persuasive power of stigmatized individuals and shows how self-presentational concerns may change attitudes. Read More

Film Rentals and Procrastination: A Study of Intertemporal Reversals in Preferences and Intrapersonal Conflict

Throughout our lives, we face many choices between activities we know we should do and those we want to do. Examples of such choices include whether or not to visit the gym, to smoke, to order a greasy pizza or a healthy salad for lunch, and to watch an action-packed blockbuster or a history documentary on Saturday night. Using data on consumption decisions over time from an Australian online DVD rental company, this paper investigates how and why individuals make systematically different decisions when their choices will take effect in the present versus the future. Read More

HBS Cases: Beauty Entrepreneur Madam Walker

She may have been the first self-made African American millionaire. Born of emancipated slaves, Madam C.J. Walker traveled from the cotton fields to business fame as a purveyor of hair-care products that offered beauty and dignity. Harvard Business School's Nancy F. Koehn and Katherine Miller explain what motivated her triumph. Read More

Leveling the Executive Options Playing Field

Harvard Business School professor Mihir A. Desai recently presented testimony to a U.S. Senate subcommittee looking at the subject of executive stock options. His theme: A "dual-reporting system" makes it difficult for investors and tax authorities to learn the real numbers. Read More

Poverty, Social Divisions and Conflict in Nepal

More than 70 civil wars have occurred around the world since 1945. Understanding what causes such violent conflicts to begin and then fester is a topic of increasing research interest to economists. In Nepal the conflict known as "the People's War" began in 1996 and spread to all parts of the country, resulting in the deaths of more than 13,000 people. Do and Iyer considered a wide range of economic and social factors that they hypothesized could affect the likelihood of violent conflict, and econometrically examined their relationship with conflict intensity. These factors include geographic conditions (mountains and forests), economic development, social diversity including linguistic diversity, and government investment in infrastructure. Do and Iyer's nuanced approach allowed them to examine the spread of a single conflict across different parts of the country and over time. Read More

Is Health Care Making You Better—or Dead?

Professor Regina Herzlinger has been studying the U.S. health care system for decades, advocating for consumer-driven reform as the best remedy. But the slow pace of change, which she attributes to a fat-cat network of insurers, policymakers, hospitals, and even employers, has her fed up. Her new book, Who Killed Health Care? adopts the emotional language of a manifesto in demanding change to make health care more responsive to customers, affordable to those in need, and a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship. Read More

Firm-Size Distribution and Cross-Country Income Differences

Country-to-country differences in per-worker income are known to be enormous. Per capita income in the richest countries exceeds that in the poorest countries by more than a factor of 50. The consensus view in scholarly literature on development accounting is that two-thirds of these variations can be attributed to differences in efficiency or total factor productivity (TFP). Emerging research, however, suggests other possibilities. Alfaro and coauthors, applied a monopolistic competitive firm model to a new dataset of more than 20 million firms in nearly 80 developing and industrialized countries. They then calculated the extent to which differences in the misallocation of resources (as well as differences in the amount of physical and human capital resources) explain dispersion in income per worker. Their results suggest that misallocation of resources is a crucial determinant of income dispersion. Read More

Health Care Under a Research Microscope

Perhaps no industry has caught the research attention of Harvard Business School faculty as much as health care. Researchers are investigating business-focused solutions on everything from improving team work among surgical teams to developing market motivations that increase the use of water purification in poor villages. Read More

How Property Ownership Changes Your World View

When Argentine squatters were granted property title it changed the way they viewed the world. HBS professor Rafael Di Tella discusses his research into how property ownership affects our beliefs and also our attitudes toward capitalism. Read More

What Causes Industry Agglomeration? Evidence from Coagglomeration Patterns

Most industries exhibit some degree of geographic concentration. Although many theories attempt to explain this agglomeration, empirical tests of these theories are difficult as they all predict similar outcomes within individual industries. This study considers how industries coagglomerate—that is, which industry pairs locate together—to form a tractable analysis. The authors specifically study the relative importance of proximity to suppliers and customers, to firms using similar labor, and the sharing of ideas for explaining agglomeration. Read More

Strategy-Proofness versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the NYC High School Match

One of the goals of school matching systems is to limit the extent to which students and parents feel it necessary to "game the system" to be accepted at a favored school. Several years ago, the authors of this paper assisted the New York City Department of Education in redesigning the way it matched over 90,000 students entering public high schools each year. The situation in New York City is a hybrid: Some schools actively rank potential students, others have no preferences, and still others fall in between. This paper concentrates on the welfare considerations and incentives that arise in school choice due to the fact that many students are regarded by schools as equivalent. The research develops and expands on economic theory demanded by the design of school choice mechanisms. Read More

Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Español Boost Hispanic Voter Turnout?

The increased integration of markets for news and entertainment means that more viewers can watch shows that better match their preferences, whether that means American football, Japanese anime, or Mexican soap operas. But is there an attendant risk to civic society, as some scholars claim? Do locally engaged citizens turn into passive viewers? The explosion in the U.S. of local television news in Spanish provides an ideal stage for probing these questions. This paper tests whether the presence of local television news affects local civic engagement in the form of voter turnout. Read More

The Price of Capital: Evidence from Trade Data

Is the price of capital higher across different countries? Motivated by the fact that most countries import the bulk of machinery and equipment, Alfaro and Ahmed used an alternative trade data to capture differences in the price of capital goods across countries. On this basis they found evidence that capital goods are more expensive in poor countries. Read More

How is Foreign Aid Spent? Evidence from a Compelling Natural Experiment

Foreign aid is viewed as a transfer of resources that can be used to generate meaningful growth in the recipient country's economy. How this aid is ultimately spent, therefore, determines how effective it is in achieving its purposes. Yet economists to date possess little understanding of how foreign aid trickles through a country's economy. This paper examines a foreign aid windfall that poorer Muslim countries have systematically received from rich, oil-producing Arab states. When the price of oil skyrocketed during the 1973-1986 oil crisis (and again after 2001), OPEC nations took a substantial portion of the money they received and gave it away as foreign aid, mostly to Muslim nations. When the price of oil crashed and income plunged in the oil-producing countries, the aid dried up. Werker, Ahmed, and Cohen examined the short-term effect of foreign aid on aggregate demand, the components of gross domestic product, and the balance of payments. Read More

All Eyes on Slovakia’s Flat Tax

The flat tax is an idea that's burst to life in post-communist Eastern and Central Europe, especially in Slovakia. But is the rest of the world ready? A new Harvard Business School case on Slovakia's complex experience highlights many hurdles elsewhere, as HBS professor Laura Alfaro, Europe Research Center Director Vincent Dessain, and Research Assistant Ane Damgaard Jensen explain in this Q&A. Read More

How Magazine Luiza Courts the Poor

Brazilian retailer Magazine Luiza has developed an innovative strategy for selling to the poor, combining technology with great service that please both customers and employees. The question of how the company can grow without sacrificing the special qualities that have made it successful is at the heart of a case study developed by Harvard Business School professor Frances X. Frei. Read More

Incorporating Price and Inventory Endogeneity in Firm-Level Sales Forecasting

Benchmarking and forecasting firm level performance are key activities for both managers and investors. Retailer performance can be tracked using a number of metrics including sales, inventory, and gross margin. For operational reasons, the sales, inventory, and gross margin for a retailer are interrelated. Retailers often use inventory and margin to increase sales; and sales, conversely, provide input to the retailer's decisions on inventory and margins. Inventory and margin also influence each other. This research uses firm-level annual and quarterly data for a large cross-section of U.S. retailers listed on NYSE, AMEX, or NASDAQ to construct a model that examines the interrelationships among sales per store, inventory per store, and margin. Read More

The Business of Global Poverty

Nearly half of the planet's population subsists on $2 a day or less. What role should business play as the world confronts what may be the most explosive socioeconomic challenge of the new century? Read More

Learning from Failed Political Leadership

Strategic independence and better leadership assessment—these are the critical issues for both business and government in the future, says Professor D. Quinn Mills. In this Q&A he describes key lessons from his new book, Masters of Illusion, coauthored with Steven Rosefielde. A book excerpt follows. Read More

What’s Behind China’s Wild Stock Ride?

Podcast: The recent one-day plunge of 9 percent in China's stock markets has continued to weigh heavily on other markets around the world. What caused the fall? Are more ups and downs to come? Professor Li Jin discusses the unique characteristics that drive Chinese stocks. Read More

Handicapping the Best Countries for Business

India? South Africa? Russia? Which are the best countries for a firm to invest in? In a new book, Professor Richard Vietor looks at the economic, political, and structural strengths and weaknesses of ten countries and tells readers how to analyze the development of these areas in the future. Read our Q&A and book excerpt. Read More

Government’s Misguided Probe of Private Equity

The U.S Department of Justice has begun an inquiry into potentially anti-competitive behavior on the part of leading private equity firms. Professor Josh Lerner looks to history to underscore why this move carries the prospect of damaging what is actually an incredibly competitive industry that creates much value. Read More

Risky Business? Protecting Foreign Investments

After a string of forced nationalizations of private enterprises in the 1960s and 1970s, the pendulum swung back and companies were again encouraged by host countries to build and run major infrastructure projects such as power and water. But a set of new property protections has done little to manage the risk in many of these politically unstable environments. Professor Louis T. Wells, coauthor of a new book on making foreign investment safe, discusses the current landscape. Read More

What Is the Government’s Role in U.S. Healthcare?

Healthcare will grab ever more headlines in the U.S. in the coming months, says Jim Heskett. Any service that is on track to consume 40 percent of the gross national product of the world's largest economy by the year 2050 will be hard to ignore. But are we addressing healthcare cost issues with the creativity they deserve? What do you think? Closed for comment; 66 Comments posted.

Capital Rules: The Tensions of Global Finance

With the start of the new decade, most global financial powers are rethinking a previously powerful trend toward liberalizing global finance. In his new book Capital Rules, Professor Rawi Abdelal charts the intellectual, legal, and political history of financial globalization, and the tensions facing today's world economy. Read an excerpt. Read More

The Power of the Noncompete Clause

Noncompete clauses seem nearly universal—and not just in technology companies. But the effect is especially strong on specialist and "star" inventors, according to new research by Harvard Business School's Matt Marx, Deborah Strumsky, and Lee Fleming. Marx reflects on the business and career implications in this Q&A. Read More

What a U.N. Partnership with Big Business Could Accomplish

If the world's large corporations really are the greatest drivers of wealth creation, it only seems reasonable that their capabilities and resources can be focused on global poverty, says professor emeritus George C. Lodge. Here's the case for a partnership between business, the United Nations, and NGOs. Read More

Tata-Corus: India’s New Steel Giant

By acquiring Anglo-Dutch steel firm Corus, India's Tata Steel is now one of the world's top five steel makers. Professor Tarun Khanna says the fact that the deal is the largest out of India and generated by the private sector makes this a notable event. But now comes the hard part—making the merger work. Can Tata avoid mistakes made by Chinese companies? From The Economic Times/India Times. Read More

Do Corporate Social Responsibility Ratings Predict Corporate Social Performance?

Ratings of corporations' environmental activities and capabilities influence billions of dollars of "socially responsible" investments as well as consumers, activists, and potential employees. But how well do these ratings predict socially responsible outcomes such as superior environmental performance? Companies can enhance their environmental image in one of two ways: by reducing or minimizing their impact on the environment, or by merely appearing to do so via marketing efforts or "greenwashing." This study evaluates the predictive validity of environmental ratings produced by Kinder, Lydenberg, Domini Research & Analytics (KLD), and tests whether companies that score high on KLD ratings generate superior environmental performance or whether highly rated firms are simply superior marketers of the factors that these rating agencies purport to measure. The data analysis examines all 588 large, publicly-owned companies in the United States that were both regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and whose social performance was rated by KLD at least once during 1991-2003. This paper may be the first to examine the predictive validity of social or environmental ratings. Read More

Business and the Global Poor

Companies have more or less ignored 80 percent of the world's population—the global poor. The new book Business Solutions for the Global Poor, created from research and a conference at Harvard Business School, shows how both business and societal interests can be served at the base of the economic pyramid. A Q&A with co-editor V. Kasturi Rangan. Read More

Do Employment Protections Reduce Productivity? Evidence from U.S. States

Business leaders and policymakers often claim labor market rigidities reduce productivity and competitiveness by altering production choices from their unconstrained best. These theories are tested using the adoption of employment protection regulations by U.S. state courts over the last three decades. Consistent evidence is found following the introduction of the employment regulations that 1) firm production choices are altered, 2) firm employment turnover declines, and 3) firm productivity declines. Entrepreneurship rates also decline in the states after the court decisions. The interpretation of the results, however, is somewhat clouded by very large employment growth that follows the regulations too. Read More

Noncompetes and Inventor Mobility: Specialists, Stars, and the Michigan Experiment

Two years ago, Microsoft and Google wrangled publicly when Google hired away a star Microsoft employee who had signed an agreement not to compete against Microsoft for one year after leaving the company. Managers enjoy a love/hate relationship with such "noncompete" covenants depending on whether they are gaining or losing talent. This study, which looks at Michigan's inadvertent reversal of its enforcement policy in the mid-1980s, is the first to apply longitudinal analysis to the question of noncompete enforcement. Given the importance of mobility for knowledge spillovers and entrepreneurship, the evidence has implications for day-to-day behavior, careers, business, and policy. Read More

Behavioral Decision Research, Legislation, and Society: Three Cases

Insights about how people make decisions have enormous importance for society and public policy, yet often behavioral decision findings are overlooked or dismissed in favor of arguments based on sometimes-simplistic economic theory. This is particularly true in Washington, D.C., where Bazerman provided expert testimony in government cases on auditor bias, pharmaceutical company collusion, and big tobacco, respectively. His experiences highlight the barriers to the use of the most appropriate social science under the existing legal and legislative frameworks. In this article that is based on analysis and opinion, he tells what happened and reflects on the need for social sciences, in addition to economics, to be brought to the legal and policy-making domains. Read More

“Don’ts" and "Do’s”: Insights from Experience in Mitigating Risks of Western Investors in Post-Communist Countries

Cultural and other misunderstandings between westerners and locals in post-communist countries are very costly, and western investors grossly underestimate how damaging ineffective interaction really is. This article shows that such interaction constitutes a major stumbling block to effective risk management and stands in the way of the enterprise fully taking advantage of opportunities for profit in these product-hungry, fast-expanding, and dynamic economies. Ultimately, effective communication between westerners and locals is the necessary condition for the success of western investments in transition countries. Read More

The Immigrant Technologist: Studying Technology Transfer with China

Immigrants account for almost half of Ph.D.-level scientists and engineers in the U.S., and are prime drivers of technology development. Increasingly, however, Chinese technologists and entrepreneurs are returning home rather than staying in the U.S. to pursue opportunities. Professor William Kerr discusses the phenomena of technology transfer and implications for U.S.-based businesses and policymakers. From New Business. Read More

The Challenge of Managing National Security

What can we learn from mistakes made in managing national intelligence before 9/11? Professor Jan Rivkin discusses the difficulties of integrating a highly differentiated organization, and the dangers of overcentralizing decision making. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Who Rises to Power in American Business?

Business leaders in the United States have usually been white men who were blessed with the right religion, family, or education. But "outsiders" have also created their own paths to leadership, a trend on the rise today. Paths to Power is the first book in fifty years to exhaustively analyze the demographics of leadership and access in business in the U.S., and how the face of American leadership might be changing. A Q&A with Anthony J. Mayo. Read More

Improving Public Health for the Poor

Microfinance may offer a window on new methods for widening access to healthcare for the poor, says Harvard Business School's Michael Chu. He and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health have embarked on a new project to serve this critical sector. Bringing together public healthcare and market forces "could have huge impact," he says. Read More

India Needs to Encourage Trade with China

Although India and China have increased bilateral trade over the last five years, the amount is far less than what would be expected. Harvard Business School professor Tarun Khanna says India has primarily itself to blame. From The Economic Times. Read More

CEO Succession: The Case at Ford

When Ford Motor Company looked to replace Bill Ford as CEO, it turned not to another auto industry insider but instead to Boeing's Alan Mulally. We talk with Harvard Business School professor Joseph L. Bower to better understand Ford's move and the larger issues of CEO succession. Read More

A New Framework for Analyzing and Managing Macrofinancial Risks of An Economy

The vulnerability of a national economy to volatility in the global markets for credit, currencies, commodities, and other assets has become a central concern of policymakers, credit analysts, and investors everywhere. This paper describes a new framework for analyzing a country's exposure to macroeconomic risks based on the theory and practice of contingent claims analysis. (A contingent claim is any financial asset for which future payoff depends on the value of another asset.) In this framework, the sectors of a national economy are viewed as interconnected portfolios of assets, liabilities, and guarantees that can be analyzed like puts and calls. The framework makes it transparent how risks are transferred across sectors, and how they can accumulate in the balance sheet of the public sector and ultimately lead to a default by the government. Read More

Science Business: What Happened to Biotech?

After thirty years the numbers are in on the biotech business—and it's not what we expected. The industry in aggregate has lost money. R&D performance has not radically improved. The problem? In a new book, Professor Gary Pisano points to systemic flaws as well as unhealthy tensions between science and business. Read More

Andy Grove: A Biographer’s Tale

Podcast: For Harvard Business School professor Richard S. Tedlow, Intel co-founder Andy Grove is one of the most important and intriguing CEOs in American business history. In this interview, Tedlow discusses his new biography, Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American with Jim Aisner. Read More

How South Africa Challenges Our Thinking on FDI

After the fall of apartheid, South Africa accepted the standard prescription for countries to receive more foreign direct investment. Yet FDI has been a mere trickle. Why? The answer may reside in the country's strong corporate environment, says HBS professor Eric D. Werker. Read More

Male Circumcision and AIDS: The Macroeconomic Impact of a Health Crisis

The AIDS epidemic is a humanitarian disaster that has struck sub-Saharan Africa with particular severity, but its macroeconomic impact is much less certain. Though conflicting theories abound, empirically-based studies on the link between HIV prevalence rates and economic growth have shown no consensus. Given the significant medical evidence that male circumcision can reduce the risk of contracting HIV in Africa, tribal circumcision practices provide an "experimental" setting to test the impact of the AIDS epidemic on the overall economy. Read More

Governing Sumida Corporation

In a new Harvard Business School case, Professor Lynn Paine and her colleagues explore the nature of corporate governance systems by studying Japanese electronics components maker Sumida Corp. CEO Shigeyuki Yawata looks to create a governance structure that would be transparent to investors and stakeholders worldwide. Read More

The History and Influence of Andy Grove

In a soon-to-be-released biography, Harvard Business School professor Richard S. Tedlow profiles one of the most influential business leaders of our time—Intel's Andy Grove. Tedlow discusses his research on the Silicon Valley legend and how Grove altered much more than the chip industry. Read More

Will the “Long Tail” Work for Hollywood?

The "long-tail phenomenon" is well documented: Amazon.com makes significant profits selling many low-volume books. But can the long tail work for video sales as well? A new working paper by professors Anita Elberse and Felix Oberholzer-Gee suggests that it may not bring the same benefits to Hollywood. Read More

Report from China: The New Entrepreneurs

When a delegation of Harvard Business School faculty visited Chinese entrepreneurs, they came away with something unexpected: the start of what could be a fundamental rethinking of how entrepreneurship works. Read More

U.S. Tops Business Competitiveness Index 2006

The United States and Germany continue to top an annual review of the business competitiveness of 121 countries, which is compiled by Professor Michael Porter's Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School. While India climbed in the rankings, China fell. Read More

Scale without Mass: Business Process Replication and Industry Dynamics

Over the past ten years there's been a clear link between IT investment and productivity growth in the U.S. economy. But what impact has IT had on competition? This paper identifies several recent changes in the competitive dynamics of U.S. industries and shows that they are associated with IT intensity; the more IT and industry has, the greater the changes. Using case studies, previous research, and a simple model, the authors offer a theory that explains these patterns in the data. They argue that IT allows the rapid spread of business process innovations, which in turn leads to more turbulent and concentrated industries. Read More

Report From Egypt: Studying Global Influences

On a recent trip to Cairo, Rosabeth Moss Kanter studied three international companies to better understand the effects of globalization on them and the surrounding region. In this report, she looks at current business trends in Egypt, including the increasing privatization of state-run businesses. Read More

Optimal Reserve Management and Sovereign Debt

One of the puzzles in the study of emerging markets is understanding why developing countries accumulate reserves as a means to avoid a financial crisis, rather than work to reduce their sovereign debt. In 2005, for example, reserve accumulation totaled 20 percent of gross domestic product in low- and middle-income countries but only about 5 percent in high-income countries. The costs and benefits of reserve accumulation still aren't clear, nor do economists agree on the optimal level of foreign reserves that sovereign countries should hold. By testing a model of a small, open economy with non-contingent debt and reserve assets, Alfaro and Kanczuk explored the issue in depth. Read More

International Financial Integration and Entrepreneurship

Why does entrepreneurship flourish in some countries and struggle in others? Economists and policymakers are divided on whether the rapid rate of global financial integration, specifically the explosive growth of foreign direct investment, helps or hurts local entrepreneurs and domestic economies. To see the differential effects of restrictions on capital mobility on entrepreneurship, Alfaro of HBS and Charlton of the London School of Economics analyzed data on 24 million firms—listed and unlisted—in nearly 100 countries in 1999 and 2004. Read More

HBS Cases: Porsche’s Risky Roll on an SUV

Why would any company in the world want to locate in a high-cost, high-wage economy like Germany? Porsche's unusual answer in a globalizing auto industry has framed two case studies by HBS professor Jeffrey Fear and colleague Carin-Isabel Knoop. Read More

How Europe Wrote the Rules of Global Finance

Following decades of liberalization, controls on cross-border capital movements are again being discussed by financial institutions, governments, and policymakers around the globe. Professor Rawi Abdelal discusses implications and the historical roles of Europe and the United States in promoting the flow of capital across national borders. Read More

Corporate Governance and Networks: Bankers in the Corporate Networks of Brazil, Mexico, and the United States circa 1910

Brazil today looks like a typical case in which business groups and close relations between companies and banks play an important role to overcome information and monitoring problems. This was not always the case. To study how the development of financial markets can change the interaction between banks and corporations, Musacchio compared the importance of interlocking boards of directors between corporations and banks in Brazil, Mexico, and the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. This paper and previous research support Musacchio's hypothesis that financial markets in Brazil were sustained by an institutional framework that protected investors, enforced credit contracts, and promoted regular financial disclosure of company accounts. The development of bond and stock markets, and the relatively good corporate governance practices in Brazil before 1930, made connections with bankers less necessary. Read More

Managing Governments: Unilever in India and Turkey, 1950–1980

During the postwar decades, consumer-products giant Unilever survived and even thrived in developing countries such as India and Turkey even as business conditions discouraged or drove away peer companies. Why? At least five factors explain Unilever's ability and willingness to persist in such developing countries. These factors may also explain why foreign direct investment shrank to low levels in these countries, and has remained low. Read More

Whatever Happened to Caveat Emptor?

In many world nations, consumers enjoy vast protections that are relatively new on the scene. Why the rapid rise in consumer protectionism? Why do these efforts vary from country to country? A discussion with professor Gunnar Trumbull on his new book, Consumer Capitalism. Read More

Investor Protection: The Czech Experience

When TV Nova launched as the first private television channel in post-communist Czechoslovakia, few anticipated the business drama behind the scenes. HBS professor Mihir Desai explains what managers can learn from one unlucky investor's experience. Read More

Meeting China’s Need for Management Education

On a recent trip to China, Steven C. Wheelwright noted an increasing interest in entrepreneurship, globalization, and competitiveness. Most of all, the Chinese have an increasing thirst for management education. Read More

The Strategic Way to Go to Market

Too often channel strategies develop at the last minute--when a product is ready to go to market. But this haphazard approach leaves a lot of efficiencies and synergies by the wayside, says V. Kasturi Rangan. Enter the concept of the "channel steward." Read More

A Gentler Capitalism: Black Business Leadership in the New South Africa

What role should business play in ameliorating poverty and addressing inequality? Linda A. Hill and Maria Farkas, a doctoral student, examine this question against the backdrop of post-apartheid South Africa. Focusing on the efforts of one successful black executive to recruit and develop other minority managers and integrate blacks into the mainstream economy, Hill and Farkas explore fundamental ethical and business issues affecting companies and society at large. Read More

Political Turmoil and Mexico’s Economy

Professor Noel Maurer's historical research into Mexico and other countries with unstable governments shows that their economies perform better than might be expected. Why? Read More

Globalizing the Beauty Business Before 1980

Even six-month-old infants may understand what makes faces "attractive," regardless of ethnicity, but adults vary considerably in how they present themselves through clothes, hairstyles, and physical appearance. Studying the period from 1945 to 1980, this paper examines the drivers of the globalization of beauty; the strategies that firms employed to overcome challenges to globalization; and the outcomes, including the level to which globalization has brought about a homogenization of beauty ideals and practices. Read More

Nationality and Multinationals in Historical Perspective

Many people believe that globalization has caused companies to lose their national identity. This study traces the history of corporations and nationality and finds that multinational companies have always had ambiguities, particularly before World War I. National subsidiaries became stronger in the twentieth century, and companies like Ford, for example, would feel very American in the United States, but have a more local identity in another part of the world. In the twenty-first century, globalization has caused a reemergence of issues concerning corporate nationality. However, this research shows that in many ways corporate affiliation with a country may matter more than ever. Read More

What Roosevelt Took: The Economic Impact of the Panama Canal, 1903-29

The Panama Canal was expected to bring great economic benefits to the people of Panama. Instead, the United States received most of the benefits. This was a deliberate act on the part of the U.S. The U.S. didn't allow Panamanian businesses to sell goods or services in the Canal Zone, it avoided the employment of Panamanian workers, and it used its military leverage to force Panama into accepting a low payment for the Canal territory. Read More

Reinventing the Dowdy Savings Bond

Families with low and moderate incomes have difficulty saving money—many can't even open bank accounts. To help these families plan for the future, professor Peter Tufano proposes minor changes to the U.S. savings bonds program. Read More

Using Competition to Reform Healthcare

In their new book, HBS Professor Michael Porter and Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg argue that the very structure of U.S. healthcare must be redesigned to create value and effective competition throughout the system. An excerpt from Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results. Read More

Writing the Case for Public School Reform

Professor David Thomas discusses his case studies on how the School District of Philadelphia is recruiting and retaining teachers and improving its human resources department. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

American Auto’s Troubled Road

Harvard Business School faculty dissect where U.S. auto makers went wrong, and how they might again get on the road to growth. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Has Globalization Reached Its Peak?

A new book argues that globalization has led corporations to outsource too much of their work and, more important, their intellectual capital. What with the increasing fluidity of labor markets, is it all too much for global managers to handle? Closed for comment; 26 Comments posted.

The Competitive Advantage of Global Finance

Relatively few multinational companies truly understand or take advantage of international finance. Professor Mihir A. Desai tackles the subject in a new book, International Finance: A Casebook. Here’s a Q&A. Read More

Bankers, Industrialists, and Their Cliques: Elite Networks in Mexico and Brazil During Early Industrialization

Mexico and Brazil had different institutional structures in the early 20th century. Did entrepreneurs in these two countries organize their business networks differently to deal with the different institutional settings? And, how can we compare the impact of the institutional structure of Mexico and Brazil on the networks of entrepreneurial finance and entrepreneurship in general? In this research, Musacchio and Read look at the networks of interlocking boards of directors of major joint stock companies in two large Latin American societies in 1909. Read More

Global Poverty Needs a Global Answer

A World Development Corporation could help business, government, and non-governmental organizations collaborate more effectively to ease global poverty, believes George C. Lodge, HBS professor emeritus. He discusses recent developments. Read More

The China Dilemma for U.S. Firms: Comply, Resist, or Leave?

If you were an advisor to the senior managements of these companies doing business in China, what would you propose that they do? Closed for comment; 34 Comments posted.

When Rights of First Refusal Are a Bad Deal

Contracts that include a right of first refusal usually benefit the holder of that right. But not always. New research by professor Alvin E. Roth and colleague Brit Grosskopf explains when it's wise to say no. Read More

The Trouble Behind Livedoor

When Livedoor CEO Takafumi Horie was arrested last month, it shook the economic underpinnings of Japan. Professor Robin Greenwood discusses what went wrong with one of that country's most-watched Internet companies. Read More

Financial Reporting Goes Global

Globalization is the key issue in determining the future of financial accounting, says professor Gregory S. Miller. And as more countries consider adopting an international accounting standard, India is positioned to be a strong leader. Read More

The Regional Slice of Your Global Strategy

A regional understanding should be part of your overall global strategy, says Professor Pankaj Ghemawat. One key: Recognize that regions don’t stop at national borders. An excerpt from Harvard Business Review. Read More

Unilever: Transformation and Tradition

In a new book, professor Geoffrey Jones looks at Unilever's decades-old transformation from fragmented underperformer to focused consumer products giant. This epilogue summarizes the years 1960 to 1990. Read More

The Geography of Corporate Giving

Where a company is headquartered influences the types of social programs it supports, such as housing assistance, disease research, and the arts, according to new research by professor Christopher Marquis and his coauthors. Is social spending too confined by geography? Read More

How Can Start Ups Grow?

For new ventures a lack of resources makes growth difficult to come by—just ask those nine out of ten fledgling firms that fail. Professor Mukti Khaire says the key may be in acquiring intangible resources such as legitimacy, status, and reputation. Read More

Is Less Becoming More?

Americans these days have a lot more choices in products and services. But do consumers and suppliers suffer from choice overload? If so, what does this abundance mean for companies? Closed for comment; 21 Comments posted.

Homers: Secrets on the Factory Floor

Homers are things you make for personal use while on company time. Professor Michel Anteby says that although the practice might be illegal, some companies secretly endorse it. Here's why. Read More

What’s the Future of Globally Organized Labor?

There’s an ongoing story of fragmentation in the union movement in North America. Will the concept of cooperation and individual sacrifice for the common good work in a global labor market populated by large multinational employers? Closed for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Advertising and Expectations: The Effectiveness of Pre-Release Advertising for Motion Pictures

This research examines how advertising affects market-wide sales expectations for pre-release movies. The authors use data on advertising expenditures and an online stock market simulation, The Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX), to track more than 280 movies released between 2001 and 2003. Their findings show that advertising affects the updating of market-wide expectations prior to release, and that this effect is stronger the higher the product quality. Read More

What are the Lessons of New Orleans?

The response by public officials to the Hurricane Katrina disaster will be analyzed for years. Can lessons learned in the private sector instruct us in minimizing the suffering and damage from inevitable future calamities? Closed for comment; 44 Comments posted.

Reinventing Savings Bonds

At one point in American history, savings bonds were an important tool families used to build assets and get ahead. While times have changed, this function of savings bonds may be even more important now, especially for the 41 million low- and moderate-income American households. Tufano and Schneider lay out a case for why savings bonds should be reimagined to help millions of Americans build assets now. Read More

Promoting a Management Revolution in Public Education

Public school districts are difficult to lead and manage, and the idea of applying business principles to school reform is popular. But is it practical? This paper describes the work of Harvard's Public Education Leadership Program as it helps school districts grapple with performance challenges, including student achievement that compares unfavorably with other countries, and a significant performance gap between white and minority students. Complicating the picture: The concept of managing for accountability is new in education. The authors studied the effects of improved management on public school student performance by comparing fifteen large urban school districts with similar peer districts. Read More

How Organizations Create Social Value

A study of smart practices by social and business organizations in Iberoamerica. Research by HBS professor James Austin, HBS senior researcher Ezequiel A. Reficco, and UNIANDES professor Roberto Gutiérrez. Read More

Restoring a Global Economy, 1950–1980

In his recent book Multinationals and Global Capitalism, professor Geoffrey Jones dissects the influence of multinationals on the world economy. This excerpt recalls the rebuilding of the global economy following World War II. Read More

Why IT Matters in Midsized Firms

What does IT actually contribute to a business? Is IT a commodity like electricity or is it a crucial element of competitive advantage? In a study of over 600 medium-sized global firms to analyze the business benefits that IT can enable, the authors found that IT capability was key to profitable business growth. This was true in both the U.S. product and services sectors as well as in Germany and Brazil. Read More

Is There an “Efficient Market” in CEO Compensation?

There appears to be little or no relationship between the size of American CEO compensation awards and actual corporate performance. Will change come from the increased level of competition among global companies with significantly different approaches to the compensation of senior managers? Closed for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Asian and American Leadership Styles: How Are They Unique?

Business leadership is at the core of Asian economic development, says HBS professor D. Quinn Mills. As he explained recently in Kuala Lumpur, the American and Asian leadership styles, while very different, also share important similarities. Read More

Is a “Level Playing Field” a Good Thing?

There is a lot of talk these days about a level playing field, sparked in part by Thomas L. Friedman's bestseller, The World is Flat. But what is a level playing field in the world today, and does everyone play by the same rules? Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

Float Manipulation and Stock Prices

When a firm reduces the number of shares available to trade, so-called float manipulation, the price of the stock is often driven up. The author uses a series of 2,000 stock split events in Japan as an experiment to understand the consequences of float manipulation for stock prices. The conclusion: Stock prices are raised significantly when there are differing opinions about the value of shares, investors are unable to sell short, and the number of outstanding shares is reduced. Read More

Germany’s Pioneering Corporate Managers

Professor Jeffrey Fear's new book Organizing Control takes a fresh look at corporate management innovations created by German companies and managers over the last two centuries. A Q&A with the author. Read More

A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Excess Comovement of Stock Returns

This paper develops cross-sectional predictions from a model in which the excess comovement of stock returns comes from correlated demand shocks. The model is tested on 298 Nikkei index stocks and 1,458 non-index stocks for the years 1993 through 2003. The study finds that controlling for index membership, index overweighting is a significant determinant of the comovement of returns with index returns. Read More

The Rise of Innovation in Asia

Asian countries are no longer just a place to get cheap labor or programming skills. Innovation is on the rise. A report from the Harvard Business School Asia Business Conference. Read More

The Motion Picture Industry: Critical Issues in Practice, Current Research & New Research Directions

This paper reviews research and trends in three key areas of movie making: production, distribution, and exhibition. In the production process, the authors recommend risk management and portfolio management for studios, and explore talent compensation issues. Distribution trends show that box-office performance will increasingly depend on a small number of blockbusters, advertising spending will rise (but will cross different types of media), and the timing of releases (and DVDs) will become a bigger issue. As for exhibiting movies, trends show that more sophisticated exhibitors will emerge, contractual changes between distributor and exhibitors will change, and strategies for tickets prices may be reevaluated. Read More

Entrepreneurial Hospital Pioneers New Model

A "Robin Hood" cardiac hospital in India—which charges wealthy patients, yet equally welcomes the destitute—is an exciting example of entrepreneurship in the subcontinent, says HBS professor Tarun Khanna. Read More

Public Pension Reform: Does Mexico Have the Answer?

Mexico may have found a formula for avoiding most of the misfortunes that could arise when individuals invest their own funds. What's the right way to support an aging workforce? And why is it that a concept—life-long security—that should bring comfort to all of us is so distasteful to address in public? Closed for comment; 10 Comments posted.

The U.S. Patent Game: How to Change It

Innovators and society are paying too high a price in the current patent system, says a new book by Adam B. Jaffe and Harvard Business School’s Josh Lerner. A book excerpt and Q&A with Lerner. Read More

Solving the Health Care Conundrum

Executive summary of a presentation on reforming health care made by Professor Michael Porter at a Harvard Business School Publishing Virtual Seminar. Read More

Bringing History into International Business

International Business scholars often talk about history, but rarely take it seriously. The first generation of International Business scholars placed a high priority on evolutionary and historical perspectives and methodology, but little work these days grapples with the history of International Business or uses historical data to explore an issue. Jones and Khanna discuss new avenues for researching business groups in history and in contemporary emerging markets, resource-based and path-dependent theories of the firm, and foreign direct investment and development over time. Read More

Michael Porter’s Prescription For the High Cost of Health Care

The troubled U.S. health care system needs a brave, new kind of competition, say HBS professor Michael E. Porter and the University of Virginia’s Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg. A Harvard Business Review excerpt. Read More

How Much Is Enough?

A new book by Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson, Just Enough, suggests four dimensions for looking at personal success: happiness, achievement, significance, and legacy. Is this a useful way for hardworking managers to gauge their sense of self-worth? Closed for comment; 30 Comments posted.

Ground-Floor Opportunities for Retail in India

India is overcoming tradition and poverty to create opportunities for retailers ready to take a chance on a new playing field. Read More

How Corporate Responsibility is Changing in Asia

Expectations are changing on the role multinational corporations play in improving the Asian communities in which they serve. Read More

HBS Center Focuses on Europe

The Euro is changing the face of business in Europe, and Harvard Business School’s Europe Research Center is right in the middle of it all. Read More

European Private Equity—Still a Teenager?

If the private equity industry has a life cycle, these are the teenage years for Europe, according to panelists at the conference session on European private equity. Read More

What Developing-World Companies Teach Us About Innovation

A mini case study by professor Donald N. Sull and coauthors on how three businesses in developing countries overcome a lack of resources to succeed. From Strategy & Innovation. Read More

How Should We Think About the Exportation of Jobs?

It looks like productivity increases in the U.S. are accommodating growth with little increase in the number of jobs. Doesn’t it suggest that the jobs that people do hold must be getting better? Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Why Europe Lags in Pharmaceuticals and Biotech

Governmental, cultural and academic differences are hurting Europe’s chances of gaining on the U.S. Can anything be done? Read More

Lessons from a Nasty Trade Dispute

Even if the World Trade Organization rules in favor of your country’s government, it may not mean the end of a business dispute. HBS professors Rawi Abdelal and Laura Alfaro explain why. Read More

Making Money Making Movies

HBS professor Anita Elberse talks about the state of the international motion picture industry, movie piracy, and how to capture screens in foreign markets. Read More

Gaps in the Historical Record: Development of the Electronics Industry

There is plenty of history to be written about the birth of consumer electronics and the computer, says HBS professor emeritus Alfred D. Chandler Jr. Read More

HBS Cases: Developing the Courage to Act

Professor David A. Garvin offers a rare inside glimpse at how the case method is used by both faculty and students in classrooms at Harvard Business School. Read More

Studying Japan from the Inside

What comes next for Japan’s economy? Masako Egawa, executive director of Harvard Business School’s Japan Research Office, sees a period of fundamental change ahead. Read More

Shackleton: An Entrepreneur of Survival

Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is the subject of a new HBS case study. Professor Nancy F. Koehn discusses lessons for leaders from the voyage of the Endurance. Read More

It’s India Above China in New World Order

Can India overtake China? That's the title of an influential new article in Foreign Policy magazine. A Q&A with authors Yasheng Huang of MIT and Tarun Khanna of HBS. Read More

Peeling Back the Global Brand

The global brand is a hard nut to crack. In a session devoted to these seemingly all-powerful brands, professors and practitioners exposed the fault lines. Read More

Corporate Transparency Improves For Foreign Firms in U.S. Markets

International companies that interact with U.S. markets are more transparent in their dealings, say Harvard Business School doctoral candidate Suraj Srinivasan. Read More

Business Plan Winner Targets India Dropouts

Gyaana means "knowledge" in Sanskrit—a fitting name for a business that aims to fight the 50 percent dropout rate in India by offering microfinance loans to families. Read More

Will American Brands Be a Casualty of War?

Does your U.S. brand play well overseas? If so, heed the words of Harvard Business School professor John Quelch: A swelling anti-American tide could wash away the international popularity of U.S. brands. Read More

Globalization: Little Impact on the Continent

Erasing borders may have good and bad effects on the economies of Africa. Under the imperative "There’s no turning back," experts at the conference embraced reality and suggested ways for Africa to benefit from globalization. Read More

AIDS in Africa—What’s the Solution?

The tragedy of AIDS has the potential to decimate society—and of course workforces, too. African-based experts in health care and the pharmaceutical industry traded ideas for alleviating this scourge in a session moderated by Harvard Business School Professor Debora L. Spar. Read More

The Basics of Consumer Marketing in Asia

Confronting a per-capita income in China that varies from as low as $380 to as high as $5,000, brands face a special challenge gaining headway. At this panel, experts discussed the secrets of price competition and market research. Said one, "Our best tools are our two legs." Read More

In Troubled Africa, Botswana Flowers

Quick, name the country with the highest sustained growth in real output over the last forty years. The surprising answer: Botswana. Harvard Business School professor Debora L. Spar discusses the dynamics behind this little-reported story. Read More

China: The Next Big Market Opportunity or the Next Big Bubble?

Is China post WTO a land of great entrepreneurial opportunity, or a house of cards threatening to collapse on foreign investors? Closed for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Setting the Stage: A Young Scholar at HBS

Rohit Daniel Wadhwani, the Harvard-Newcomen Fellow in Business History for the 2002-03 academic year, discusses his research work and his experiences as a Fellow at Harvard Business School in this interview with Laura Linard. Read More

Enterprising Women—a History

In conjunction with the major exhibit "Enterprising Women: 250 Years of American Business," the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study recently presented a two-day program entitled Women, Money and Power. Harvard Business School professor Nancy F. Koehn participated in the conference's opening panel—an informal discussion and reflection on the exhibit and its major themes. Read More

The Role of Government When All Else Fails

A new book by Harvard Business School professor David A. Moss explores government's under-appreciated role as risk manager in everything from disaster relief to Social Security. How did this role evolve into something today that touches on almost every aspect of economic life? Read More

Foreign Multinationals in the U.S.: A Rocky Road

Why do many of the world’s leading multinationals experience managerial and performance problems in the United States? The answers, as offered by Harvard Business School professor Geoffrey G. Jones, provide lessons for all companies operating on foreign soil. Read More

Using Big Business to Fight Poverty

Can an international alliance of global corporations win a war on poverty? Yes, if such an alliance is well planned and formed soon, according to HBS professor emeritus George C. Lodge. Read More

Are Consumers the Cure for Broken Health Insurance?

"The health insurance system in the United States is broken, and business is paying the price," says HBS professor Regina E. Herzlinger. In this excerpt from Harvard Business Review, she describes how consumers may just be the cure. PLUS: Q&A with the author. Read More

Entrepreneurship in Asia and Foreign Direct Investment

A look at local entrepreneurship in four economies in Asia offers a fascinating lens on Foreign Direct Investment, says HBS professor Yasheng Huang. Discussing his new research proposal at an HBS International Seminar recently, Huang also offered insights on what it might mean as China rises. Read More

Case Study: A Lesson in Private Venture Financing

Using a case discussion on Gray Security Services, Harvard Business School associate professor Walter Kuemmerle highlights issues confronting entrepreneurs and investors interested in Africa. Read More

The Trick of Balancing Business and Government

Institutions, such as a competent judiciary, an efficient civil service, and a good highway system, are all important for African countries. But who creates them? And what should be the role of business in the mix? At an Africa Business Conference panel session called "Institutional Foundations," five experts weighed in. Read More

MNCs in Asia: Investing in the Future

To be a major global player, you have to participate in Asia. But challenges facing multinationals as they take part in this market range from currency devaluation to ever-changing government regulations. Read More

The Country Effect: Does Location Matter?

How much is the success of your company pegged to the cultural and economic traditions of the country you do business in? Not much—at least that is what is suggested by Rohit Deshpandé's research on high-performing companies. Read More

How To Do Business in Islamic Countries

What's it like doing business in Islamic countries today? Harvard Business School professor Samuel L. Hayes III and Harvard Law School professor Frank E. Vogel recently gave students the real deal. Read More

Countries on the Cusp: The Power of Nationalism

What’s nationalism got to do with it? If you’re talking about the world economy, then the answer is quite a lot, says HBS professor Rawi Abdelal. In a conversation about his new book, Abdelal describes the power nationalism has over new countries—and its very far-reaching effects. Read More

Governance in India and Around the Globe

India is not known for rigid corporate governance standards. Is software giant Infosys changing all that? A working paper by HBS professors Tarun Khanna and Krishna Palepu looks at how globalization may—or may not—foster convergence of corporate governance. Read More

Alfred Chandler on the Electronic Century

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alfred D. Chandler Jr. examines the development of two pivotal industries in post-World War II America—the consumer electronics and computer industries. Read More

Lessons from the Rubble

In the wake of the deadly terrorist attack, America has begun to learn some lessons it should have already learned about the New Economy, the role of government, and how the country is viewed elsewhere, says HBS professor Debora Spar. Read More

George C. Lodge

Whether the subject is Third-World development or national competitiveness, George Lodge, Jaime and Josefina Chua Tiampo Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, has exercised his talent for seeing the big picture in a prolific outpouring of books, cases, and articles. Read More

Why dot.coms Will Rise Again

Think dot.coms are down for the count? Think again. Dot.coms will exert an ever-greater impact on business, according to HBS professors F. Warren McFarlan and Dorothy A. Leonard. Read More

Big Companies, Big Opportunities—Big Questions

Markets that were once protected in Latin America are suddenly open to competition from all sides. For large companies, this new playing field presents wonderful opportunities—but great risks, too. Read More

New Paths to Success in Asia

The HBS Asia-Pacific Research Center in Hong Kong is helping HBS faculty identify opportunities for researching Asian businesses. This local base of operations opens doors to faculty that would have otherwise remained closed or undiscovered. Read More

The Gulf: It’s a Family Affair

In a wide-ranging interview with HBS Working Knowledge, HBS professor John Davis discusses the state of family-business research—and the special challenges faced by families in the Gulf Region. Read More

Making the Most of Government Upheaval

Why do some firms in emerging economies quickly rise above the rest? What are their competitive secrets? New research by HBS professor Rogelio Oliva and his colleague Fernando F. Suarez suggests a few answers. Read More

Group Therapy

By filling gaps in the infrastructure of emerging economies, business groups can both foster and deter entrepreneurship in various ways. Peter K. Jacobs explores the research of HBS associate professor Tarun Khanna in this article from Working Knowledge. Read More

Merchants to Multinationals: British Trading Companies in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

It was a business world defined by globalization and growing interdependency. But it's not international trade circa 2000. As HBS professor Geoffrey Jones points out, the "global economy" first emerged in the 1870s. Read More

What’s Next for Japan

Japan, it’s clear, is in the midst of a classic challenge facing nations in a rapidly globalizing world economy: struggling to maintain beneficial social traditions, yet also yearning to be competitive. But can it do both? In a debate led by Harvard University professor Michael E. Porter, experts contemplated the future for Japan. Read More

Can Japan Compete? [Part Two]

In this, the second part of a two-part interview, HBS professor Michael Porter expands upon the message of his new book, Can Japan Compete?, and on the value of clearly defined strategies and open competition. Read More

Can Japan Compete? [Part One]

Not long ago, Japan was considered a competitive powerhouse with exemplary business practices that were admired and often copied, particularly in the West. What went wrong? In a new book, HBS professor Michael Porter and two coauthors take a closer look. [ Part 1 ] Read More

Gurus in the Garage

A new breed of advisors, known as mentor capitalists, has seeded Silicon Valley with knowledge and expertise. Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap explain why this new kind of mentoring has flourished in the Valley. Read More

Building Bridges Between Education and Business

How can Latin American universities and businesses join forces to stimulate more case writing in the region? In small group discussions at the conference, senior business executives and academics sat down to sort out the barriers and enablers they see in the case-writing process—and presented a host of suggestions for enhanced communication and collaboration in the future. Read More

Faculty Research Looks to Latin America

HBS faculty have long found Latin America a fertile landscape for in-depth study. In Buenos Aires, nine members of the faculty presented synopses of their latest research—the raw material for present and future case studies, journal articles, books and new management ideas. Read More

Under the Magnifying Glass: The Benefits of Being a Case Study

What is it like for a company to go under the business school magnifying glass? According to executives from four Latin American enterprises that have been the subject of case studies at HBS and elsewhere, the process is both nerve-wracking and intensely enlightening. While case studies may be a great way to educate students in an MBA classroom, they said, their companies discovered unforeseen advantages for themselves, as well. Read More

A Latin American Vision: New HBS Research Center Opens

With the President of Argentina as guest of honor, the School’s new Latin America Research Center formally opened in August in Buenos Aires with an inaugural dinner and a two-day research conference. The conference, called Partnering for Knowledge Creation, brought together 130 top academics and business leaders from all over Latin America, as well as a number of HBS faculty, to discuss new research and abundant opportunities for collaborative efforts in the future. Read More

Entrepreneurship in Europe

Can the entrepreneurial spirit that's thrived in the U.S. and flourished amid the bloom of the dot.com economy make it in Europe and, if so, what will it take? Read More

The State of the Markets

Technology is bringing about vast changes in worldwide financial markets, generating improvements in efficiency, speed and economies of scale. But as technological change continues to occur, attention must also be paid to changes in the role that regulation plays, said industry leaders in a panel on "Technology and the Future of the Financial Markets." Read More

Presentation Round-Up

This round-up of other panels and presentations at the IS2K conference includes a look at the emerging "e-service" model, the future of the U.S. telecommunications infrastructure, and a discussion of "Genes on the Web." Read More

Three Countries, Three Choices in Post-Soviet Eurasia

The experience of three states of the former Soviet Union in the shadow of post-Soviet Russia, says HBS Professor Rawi Abdelal, shows that nationalism plays a far greater role in economic policy than has generally been recognized. Read More

Adjusting the Fit for Government

It is no simple task to strike the right balance between too much government intervention and not enough. And when corruption has seeped into a society at all levels, it's hard to know how to create an environment that welcomes investors yet does not neglect vital human services such as health care and education. Debating the balance for African societies and business were panelists with personal experience on the continent, in a conversation led by HBS Professor Debora Spar. Read More

Putting Health Care Consumers in the Driver’s Seat

Amid rising costs, changing attitudes and increasing dissatisfaction with the existing health care system, the development of consumer-driven health care is a given: the question, according to participants in an HBS conference chaired by Professor Regina A. Herzlinger, is not If, but When. Read More

Growing Pains: Prescriptions for U.S. Health Care

The health care industry may look seriously ill, says HBS Professor Clayton M. Christensen, but it's merely suffering the growing pains of a natural evolution as technology forces change at both the high and low ends of the market. Read More

The Future of the Venture Capital Cycle

Despite many success stories and a rapid rise to prominence, the venture capital industry remains a mystery to most, and questions about its sustainability persist. In this excerpt from their pathbreaking book The Venture Capital Cycle, HBS Professors Paul Gompers and Josh Lerner look toward the future of this misunderstood financial intermediary. Read More

Companies, Cultures and the Transformation to the Transnational

Often overlooked in the move into the international arena, a comapny's heritage can have a major impact on how it adapts to the new environment. In this excerpt from the second edition of their pioneering book Managing Across Borders: The Transnational Solution, HBS Professor Christopher A. Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal examine one aspect of that heritage: the influence on a company of its nation's history, infrastructure and culture. Read More

It Came in the First Ships: Capitalism in America

The Virginians in Jamestown, the Puritans in Massachusetts Bay, the Quakers in Pennsylvania and other early settlers of what later became the United States all brought with them elements of capitalism, precursors of the future nation's market-driven direction. In this excerpt from his article "American Capitalism" in Creating Modern Capitalism: How Entrepreneurs, Companies, and Countries Triumphed in Three Industrial Revolutions, HBS Professor Thomas K. McCraw looks at the early years of capitalism on the North American continent. Read More