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COVID-19 brought heightened focus to paid sick leave policies – a benefit to which roughly 25% of civilian workers don’t have access in the U.S. After sick leave mandates were temporarily implemented during the pandemic, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School researchers found employment increased, particularly among low-skilled workers and in industries that previously had little access to paid sick leave. In this week's Kenan Insight, our experts explore possible drivers behind this finding as well as potential policy and business implications.

In the continuation of our series exploring stakeholder capitalism – or the idea that businesses might improve societal outcomes by focusing on a broader mandate than profits alone – our experts review the benefits and drawbacks of the existing best-practice model: shareholder capitalism. What works, what doesn’t and what’s changed since Milton Friedman popularized the theory in 1970? Our experts weigh in on whether there are ways to improve outcomes within the framework of shareholder capitalism, or if stakeholder capitalism is ready to take its place.

Legislators have proposed a minimum tax on the financial accounting income, or book income, of corporations as one way to fund the Build Back Better Act. But is that the best solution? In this week's Kenan Insight, we dig deep on the intricacies and implications of taxing book income — expanding upon points made in an open letter to lawmakers by UNC Tax Center Research Director Jeff Hoopes and Academic Fellow Michelle Hanlon as covered in the Wall Street Journal this week.

Public calls for a national paid sick leave policy continue to grow in the United States. In the absence of a federal policy, many localities and states enacted their own paid sick leave mandates. We document an average increase of 1.9% in employment following the implementation of a paid sick leave policy. As predicted, workers with ex ante lower access to paid sick leave drive the employment effect, a result which holds with county-quarter fixed effects. Several non-mutually exclusive mechanisms can explain our findings. Following the implementation of a mandatory paid sick leave policy, we find a decline in labor turnover which has implications for labor productivity and, hence, labor demand. We also find results consistent with an increase in the labor supply. Finally, paid sick leave mandates are associated with an increase in household income, creating positive spillover effects on local markets and greater demand for local goods and services.

With more business leaders than ever before embracing stakeholder capitalism – or the belief that companies should work to benefit all stakeholders, not just shareholders – myriad questions have arisen about the concept’s viability and potential for impact. The Kenan Institute has been working to respond, and today we are excited to launch a new series exploring the most pressing issues surrounding stakeholder capitalism. Kicking off the series is this week’s Kenan Insight, which takes a deeper dive into the buzzed-about world of ESG investing. We hope you’ll check it out, and look forward to engaging with you on this topic and others throughout the series!

More than ever, businesses are tasked with pleasing both shareholders and stakeholders, including employees, customers and even communities. But can it be done? In this week's Kenan Insight, our experts explore the most successful strategies employed by a class of businesses that have been navigating this debate for generations: family firms.

The Biden administration's $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan comes with a hefty price tag, which the president hopes to pay in part by introducing a 15% minimum tax on corporate book income. Predictably, policymakers from both sides of the aisle are sounding off, but the argument is more complicated and nuanced than partisan rhetoric. In this Kenan Insight, we outline the intricacies and implications of taxing book income.

Much has been written about the disproportionate number of women who have suffered pandemic-related job losses during COVID-19, but a related consequence has not been as well explored: the serious disruption of women’s careers, particularly in fields in which “path dependence” matters for success. In this Kenan Insight, we examine this more subtle asymmetry in the pandemic’s impact as indicative of far broader issues for women’s advancement in the workplace.

As long-standing leaders in sustainability, the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise are proud to host the University of North Carolina Sustainability Awards. These awards recognize the leadership of North Carolina Business in protecting and promoting the state’s natural resources.

On Thursday, April 8, Hershey Company Chairman of the Board, President and CEO Michele Buck joined UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Dean Doug Shackelford for an exclusive virtual discussion. Buck discussed the challenges and opportunities of leading one of America's most-loved brands along with the effects of the COVID19​ pandemic on the food industry and barriers to leadership facing women today.

Many Americans expect newly inaugurated President Joe Biden to achieve progress in improving the quality of the environment. In this Kenan Insight, we explain why we support these expectations, examining what Biden has already done in his brief tenure, the feasibility of the plans he’s outlined thus far, and whether (and how) he can propel the U.S. to a leadership role in sustainability.

Historically, most businesses have attempted to stay on the sidelines of controversial issues to avoid alienating customers and limit internal discord. But the COVID-19 pandemic (which has disproportionately affected people of color) and rising racial tensions have increased awareness of systemic racism in the U.S. In this Kenan Insight, we explore how business leaders are increasingly taking a stance on diversity and inclusion issues through both internally and externally focused actions and policies.