New research by Vesa Pursiainen, Hanwen Sun and Yue Xiang finds that competition hurts corporate incentives to fulfill environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. Firms facing more competitive pressure have worse ESG scores, in particular when the firms have short-term-oriented shareholders. However, firms located in areas that are more concerned about climate change appear more willing to sacrifice profits for better ESG performance.
Claudia Goldin of Harvard University has been awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. This column, written by two of her former students and now fellow scholars, outlines both the work on gender gaps in employment and wages for which she has been formally recognized, and her contributions to a broader agenda of understanding inequality in the labor market. Her research digs deep into the histories of education, technology and industrialization to uncover the drivers of inequalities in demand, supply, institutions and norms. And while her intellectual influence goes far beyond the study of gender gaps, she has inspired countless women to pursue the study of economics.
In new research, Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis, and David Webber create a framework explaining why CEOs have powerful incentives to promote ESG, why these incentives are distinct from those of shareholders, why they are powerful despite the lack of governance mechanisms, and why they are at times excessive or skewed.
Cecilia Rouse, a colleague and former student of Claudia Goldin, explains Goldin’s perseverance in unearthing datasets that allowed her to document trends in labor and education, particularly with respect to women. Rouse also praises Goldin’s courage to prioritize the study of women and discusses what it was like to work with the recent Nobel Prize- winning economist on seminal work.
Politicians and governments in the United States and elsewhere have recently proposed or implemented wealth taxes to supplement revenue and reduce wealth inequality. In a new study, Samira Marti, Isabel Z. Martínez, and Florian Scheuer show how decreases in wealth taxes led to increases in wealth inequality in Switzerland, though they find that these decreases alone are not enough to explain the magnitude of widening disparities.
In a new paper, Bing Guo, Dennis C. Hutschenreiter, David Pérez-Castrillo, and Anna Toldrà-Simats study how large institutional investors impact firm innovation. The authors find that large institutional investors encourage internal research and development but discourage firm acquisitions that would add patents and knowledge to their firms’ portfolios, hampering overall innovation.
Antitrust debates have largely ignored questions about the relationship between market power and productivity, and scholars have provided little guidance on the issue due to data limitations. However, data is plentiful on the hospital industry for both market power and operating costs and productivity, and researchers need to take advantage, writes David Ennis.
In new research, Francesco Barilari and Diego Zambiasi study how President Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush’s rhetoric on the War on Drugs while on the campaign trail, particularly targeting crack cocaine abuse, was enough to alter policing policy. Specifically, the authors find that increased rhetoric led to an increase in arrests of Black Americans. Their study contributes to a literature on the material impact that political rhetoric can have on policing and public policy.
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