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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

GLOBALISATION

One Report: Better Strategy through Integrated Reporting
Q&A with: Robert G. Eccles and Michael P. Krzus
Published: April 12, 2010
Feature: Research & Ideas

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.
Multinational Strategies and Developing Countries in Historical Perspective
Author: Geoffrey Jones
Published: April 8, 2010
Paper Release Date: March 2010
Feature: Working Papers

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.
HBS Cases: Developing Asia's Largest Slum
Published: March 15, 2010
Feature: Lessons from the Classroom

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.
HBS Cases: Looking Behind Google's Stand in China
Q&A with: John A. Quelch
Published: February 8, 2010
Feature: Lessons from the Classroom

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.
Does Product Market Competition Lead Firms To Decentralize?
Authors: Nicholas Bloom, Raffaella Sadun, and John Van Reenen
Published: January 28, 2010
Paper Release Date: January 2010
Feature: Working Papers

There is a widespread sense that over the last two decades firms have been decentralizing decisions to employees further down the managerial hierarchy. Economists have developed a range of theories to account for delegation, but there is less empirical evidence, especially across countries. This has limited the ability to understand the phenomenon of decentralization. Nicholas Bloom, HBS professor Raffaella Sadun, and John Van Reenen assembled a new data set on about 4,000 firms across 12 countries in Europe, North America, and Asia, and then measured the delegation of authority from central headquarters to local plant managers.
Private Equity and Industry Performance
Authors: Shai Bernstein, Josh Lerner, Morten Sørensen, and Per Strömberg
Published: January 13, 2010
Paper Release Date: December 2009
Feature: Working Papers

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.
Published in 2009
The Global Agglomeration of Multinational Firms
Authors: Laura Alfaro and Maggie Chen
Published: December 23, 2009
Paper Release Date: December 2009, revised April 2010
Feature: Working Papers

(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.
Mental Health in the Aftermath of Conflict
Authors: Quy-Toan Do and Lakshmi Iyer
Published: December 9, 2009
Paper Release Date: November 2009
Feature: Working Papers

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.
Should Immigration Policies Be More Welcoming to Low-Skilled Workers?
Published: December 2, 2009
Feature: What Do YOU Think?
Forum: closed | 43 Comments posted

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.)
Walking Through Jelly: Language Proficiency, Emotions, and Disrupted Collaboration in Global Work
Authors: Tsedal Neeley, Pamela J. Hinds, and Catherine Durnell Cramton
Published: November 12, 2009
Paper Release Date: June 2009
Feature: Working Papers

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.
Improving Accountability at the World Bank
Published: September 28, 2009
Feature: Research & Ideas

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.
Firsthand Experience and the Subsequent Role of Reflected Knowledge in Cultivating Trust in Global Collaboration
Authors: Mark Mortensen and Tsedal Neeley
Published: July 29, 2009
Paper Release Date: May 2009
Feature: Working Papers

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.
Business Summit: Managing Human Capital—Global Trends and Challenges
Published: July 21, 2009
Feature: HBS Business Summit

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.
Business Summit: Ethics in Globalization
Published: July 17, 2009
Feature: HBS Business Summit

It is impossible to regulate against greed and ethical shortcomings. What can be done is to force greater transparency and accountability.
Business Summit: China in the Global Economy
Published: July 14, 2009
Feature: HBS Business Summit

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.
Why Do Countries Adopt International Financial Reporting Standards?
Authors: Karthik Ramanna and Ewa Sletten
Published: June 25, 2009
Paper Release Date: March 2009
Feature: Working Papers

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.
What Does Slower Economic Growth Really Mean?
Published: June 5, 2009
Feature: What Do YOU Think?
Forum: closed | 44 Comments posted

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.)
Can a Continuously-Liquidating Tontine (or Mutual Inheritance Fund) Succeed where Immediate Annuities Have Floundered?
Author: Julio J. Rotemberg
Published: June 4, 2009
Paper Release Date: April 2009
Feature: Working Papers

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.
Barriers to Household Risk Management: Evidence from India
Authors: Shawn Cole, Xavier Giné, Jeremy Tobacman, Petia Topalova, Robert Townsend, and James Vickery
Published: May 15, 2009
Paper Release Date: April 2009
Feature: Working Papers

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.
Money or Knowledge? What Drives Demand for Financial Services in Emerging Markets?
Authors: Shawn Cole, Thomas Sampson, and Bilal Zia
Published: May 15, 2009
Paper Release Date: April 2009 (revised October 2009)
Feature: Working Papers

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.

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