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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues



We provide a comprehensive overview of accounting-related regulatory changes (financial accounting, auditing, tax, other disclosures) in the 27 EU countries and the UK since the EU’s inception in 1993 (Maastricht Treaty) based on an extensive literature review, a survey, as well as input by country and topic academic experts.

We investigate claims that the complexity of the tax system discourages entrepreneurship. We use the implementation of tax filing assistance centers, which help entrepreneurs file their taxes, as sources of plausibly exogenous variation in the tax complexity effectively facing potential entrepreneurs.

This study provides evidence that retrospective adoption of an accounting standard improves the ability of investors and other financial statement users to assess a firm’s relative performance in the years surrounding adoption.

This paper defines risk-on risk-off (RORO), an elusive terminology in pervasive use, as the variation in global investor risk aversion. Our high-frequency RORO index captures time-varying investor risk appetite across multiple dimensions: advanced economy credit risk, equity market volatility, funding conditions, and currency dynamics. The index exhibits risk-off skewness and pronounced fat tails, suggesting its amplifying potential for extreme, destabilizing events. Compared with the conventional VIX measure, the RORO index reflects the multifaceted nature of risk, underscoring the diverse provenance of investor risk sentiment. Practical applications of the RORO index highlight its significance for international portfolio reallocation and return predictability.

Banks face corporate and regulatory governance pressures. A critical tool of regulatory governance is direct monitoring by bank supervisors. Supervisors assess banks using a multi-dimensional rating scheme, including a rating of top management teams (M-rating). We examine implications of M-ratings from the distinct, but complementary perspectives of managerial capital and managerial discipline.

Effective policymakers must balance the demands of formulating a corporate tax system that spurs economic activity while promoting a “level playing field” across firms. However, tax systems have become more complex over time, increasing firms’ difficulty in understanding and complying with tax regulations. We explore the role of corporate tax system complexity in both objectives, using an international sample and measuring tax system complexity based on the average time firms spend to comply with the country’s tax regulations. Examining both capital and labor investment, we document two key findings. First, firm-level investment is less sensitive to changes in corporate income tax rates when tax system complexity is higher, suggesting that such complexity can undermine the ability of tax policy to stimulate investment. Second, the impact of complexity on the sensitivity of investment to the tax rate varies significantly across firms, with domestic-owned, smaller, and private firms being more negatively affected by tax system complexity.

We investigate the stock market reactions to the announcements of Black CEO and top management team (TMT) appointments in light of two conflicting studies that advance competing and opposite theories.

We examine how tax-induced organizational complexity (“TIOC”), which we define as the organizational complexity that would not exist in a zero-tax world, is associated with executive performance measurement. While these structures can facilitate lower tax burdens, firms need to design their performance measurement systems to encourage executives to manage the associated complexity to avoid potential negative consequences. Using firms’ subsidiary structures in tax havens and other low tax countries to measure TIOC, we document several main findings.

In contrast to the equivocal findings in academic research, “the business case for diversity” is the dominant rhetorical paradigm for how U.S. corporations debate actions and policies around racial/ethnic diversity. In this paper, we conduct an empirical test of the paradigm by gathering data on the race/ethnicity of the individuals shown on the leadership pages of S&P 500 firms’ websites as of mid-2011, 2014, 2017, 2020 and 2021, and then determining if any of nine measures of the racial/ethnic diversity of these executives reliably predict cross-sectional variation in any of six measures of their firms’ financial performance over the next fiscal year. We do not find reliable evidence that they do.

Health care costs in the United States make up a larger proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) than in any other developed country and continue to rise. We examine whether the use of consistent metrics in costing information systems across hospitals provides one avenue to reduce these costs. We refer to such consistency as “costing information consistency” or CIC and empirically measure it by identifying whether hospitals in a multihospital system share the same costing system vendor. Using M&A activity among vendors as an instrument for exogenous changes in hospital CIC, we find that CIC is associated with a 13.3% reduction in operating expenses, suggesting that increased cost comparability from CIC helps hospitals identify ways to reduce operating expenses by identifying clinical and administrative best practices.

Policies that require, or recommend, disclosure of corporate tax information are becoming more common throughout the world, as are examples of tax-related information increasingly influencing public policy and perceptions. In addition, companies are increasing the voluntary provision of tax-related information. We describe those trends and place them within a taxonomy of public and private tax disclosure. We then review the academic literature on corporate tax disclosures and discuss what is known about their effects.

We review the accounting literature on innovation, focusing on the attributes of innovation that collectively make it unique from other resources: novelty, nonrivalry, and partial excludability. These unique attributes help innovation drive economic growth but create information-based challenges that accounting researchers are well-suited to address. We discuss the definition and measurement of innovation, then review the accounting literatures on the disclosure, management, financial reporting, taxation, and contracting and financing of innovation. For each of these literatures we identify challenges and opportunities for future research.