Globalization: The Global Society

50 Results

 

Who Runs the International System? Power and the Staffing of the United Nations Secretariat

National governments frequently pull strings to get their citizens appointed to senior positions in international institutions. For the United Nations' executive arm, the Secretariat—which plays a plays a key role in agenda-setting for the various deliberative UN organs, as well as managing global peace-keeping operations—there is keen competition among nations over the staffing of approximately 80 senior positions. Which nations therefore have been successful in controlling this institution? What factors have allowed them to do so? In this paper the authors examine the nationality of the most senior officials in the United Nations Secretariat over the last sixty years. Findings show that democracies, countries that invest in bilateral diplomacy, and economically/militarily powerful countries are the most effective at placing staff in the Secretariat. Furthermore, Western Europe and its offshoots have retained control over a disproportionate share of positions in the Secretariat even while their share of global GDP and population has fallen. Read More

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.

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.

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

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

The Limits of Nonprofit Impact: A Contingency Framework for Measuring Social Performance

The social sector is in the midst of a search for metrics of impact. Over the past 20 years, there has been an explosion in methodologies and tools for assessing social performance and impact, but with little systematic analysis and comparison across these approaches. In this paper, HBS professors Alnoor Ebrahim and V. Kasturi Rangan provide a synthesis of the current debates and, in so doing, offer a typology and contingency framework for measuring social performance. Their contingency approach suggests that—given the varied work, aims, and capacities of social sector organizations—some organizations should be measuring long-term impacts, while others should stick to measuring shorter-term results. The researchers provide a logic for determining which kinds of measures are appropriate, as driven by the goals of the organization and its operating model. Read More

One Report: Better Strategy through Integrated Reporting

Stakeholders expect it. And smart companies are doing it: integrating their reporting of financial and nonfinancial performance in order to improve sustainable strategy. HBS senior lecturer Robert G. Eccles and coauthor Michael P. Krzus explain the benefits and value of the One Report method. Plus: book excerpt from One Report: Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy. Read More

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

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

Should Immigration Policies Be More Welcoming to Low-Skilled Workers?

Immigration is a topic that stirs passions globally, judging from the responses to this month's column, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. Readers suggested ways to bring immigration policy into alignment with the reality of what is happening at borders and in workplaces around the world. (Online forum now closed. Next forum begins January 6.) Closed for comment; 43 Comments posted.

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

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

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.

Can a Continuously-Liquidating Tontine (or Mutual Inheritance Fund) Succeed where Immediate Annuities Have Floundered?

The changeover from defined benefit to defined contributions retirement plans in the United States has created a vast group of individuals that faces (or will face) the difficult problem of using a lump sum of assets to provide consumption for a relatively long but uncertain number of years. Up to this point, however, consumers appear not to have embraced annuitization. HBS professor Julio J. Rotemberg suggests an alternative instrument that, like immediate annuities, provides longevity insurance and postpones income until old age. In the proposed Mutual Inheritance Fund (MIF), a pool is formed by having individuals of a particular age buy shares in a mutual fund. The income from the underlying assets in the mutual fund is reinvested in the fund so that the value of the shares in an individual's name (and possibly also the number of these shares) grows over time. The basic idea behind the MIF is that the shares of pool members who die are liquidated, and the proceeds are then distributed in cash to the remaining members in proportion to the number of mutual fund shares that are currently in their name. 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

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

How Much Obsolescence Can Business and Society Absorb?

This month's question brought out both the poets and the engineers among respondents. The rapid pace of new technology adoption within organizations implies change for management and society, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. How does change affect the open sharing of information? (Forum now closed; next forum begins May 1.) Closed for comment; 41 Comments posted.

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

How Frank or Deceptive Should Leaders Be?

HBS professor Jim Heskett sums up comments to this month's column. Given the possibility that a naturally pessimistic (or perhaps more realistic) CEO might adversely affect everything from market reactions to employee morale, HBS Working Knowledge readers' comments are full of advice for honesty, candor, and an optimistic bias. Closed for comment; 119 Comments posted.

Why Can’t We Figure Out How to Select Leaders?

Managers discuss their own experience in organizations in response to February's column. All good leaders teach as well as learn, says Jim Heskett. Is it possible with any degree of confidence to select people for certain leadership jobs? (Forum now closed. Next forum begins March 5.) Closed for comment; 88 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

Acting Globally but Thinking Locally? The Influence of Local Communities on Organizations

It is a paradox that in a globalizing and "boundaryless" economy, factors associated with local communities—such as interpersonal networks, laws, and tax rates, among others—remain important for understanding organizational behavior. As Marquis and Battilana argue, communities influence organizational behavior not only as local markets and resource environments, but also through a number of institutional pressures. Focusing on communities as institutional environments provides fresh theoretical insights into organizational behavior, in addition to offering a more unified perspective to the diverse set of research that is emerging on local communities. Read More

Accountability in Complex Organizations: World Bank Responses to Civil Society

What difference has civil society activism made to the World Bank? More specifically, how and to what extent have civil society actors furthered the accountability of the World Bank to its constituents? The case of the World Bank is important for 2 main reasons: The Bank has not only been a major target of civil society activism, but it has also been comparatively responsive in developing various forms of engagement with civil society, possibly more than any other multilateral institution. This paper describes key accountability challenges facing the institution and reviews accountability mechanisms currently in place at 4 different organizational levels. It then explores efforts from civil society groups to increase accountability, and notes the successes and failures of these reform efforts. Read More

Public Action for Public Goods

In poor rural communities, public goods such as health and education services, clean water, electricity, and transport facilities are remarkably scarce. Within this picture of overall inadequacy there is considerable variation both across countries and inside national boundaries. How can these variations in public goods be explained? This paper surveys theoretical and empirical research on the characteristics of groups and the ability of members to act collectively to promote group interests. There remain many missing pieces in the public goods puzzle and there are important policy implications as a result. 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

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

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

How Do We Respond to the “Dependency Ratio” Dilemma?

Without knowing it, we have already heard a great deal about "dependency ratios." We can expect to hear a lot more, both at the level of nations and individual firms. What is the answer to a dilemma that we are going to be confronting more and more frequently? Closed for comment; 34 Comments posted.

Cartels and Competition: Neither Markets nor Hierarchies

Before 1945, many thinkers believed cartels brought widespread benefits. But following the spread of antitrust ideas after 1945, Adam Smith's verdict on cartels as "conspiracies against the public" prevailed. The cartel question highlights important issues about the benefits and risks of competition. This working paper maintains that, for better or worse, cartels have shaped economic and business history since the late nineteenth century. Big business must recognize how, up until the 1980s, the activities and influence of cartels affected technological development, corporate strategy, and organizational change. 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

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

Is Growth Good?

What are the moral consequences of economic growth? It’s a subject that political economist Benjamin M. Friedman tackles in a new book. Growth numbers may move markets, but do they also lull us into a false sense of satisfaction and security? Closed for comment; 7 Comments posted.

IPR: Protecting Your Technology Transfers

Countries are adopting stronger intellectual property rights to entice international corporate investment. But who really benefits from IPR? Should multinationals feel secure that their secrets will be protected? A Q&A with professor C. Fritz Foley. 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.

What Could Bring Globalization Down?

Do you think the forces of globalization are here to stay? Harvard professor Niall Ferguson says nothing is for certain. Consider what happened to the "first age of globalization" in 1914—and then look around at the world today. Read More

Should I Pay the Bribe?

How should you handle corruption in your markets? On the heels of a recent Harvard Business Review fictional case study on corruption, HBS professor Rafael Di Tella lays out the not-so-black-and-white issues in this Q&A. Read More

How Do We Prepare for a World Without Cheap Oil?

How should the world (and firms, and countries) best adjust to an age of more expensive energy? Among the possible alternatives for tackling the problem, three seem to stand out. Closed for comment; 43 Comments posted.

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.

When Protestors Knock at Your Door

You may not enjoy being targeted by a non-governmental organization, but you better learn how to manage that relationship, say HBS professor Debora Spar and Lane LaMure. 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

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

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

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

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

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