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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



What can the corporate response to George Floyd’s murder teach us about today’s diversity challenges? Discover how meaningful actions on racial equity affected market valuations, through research from UNC Kenan-Flagler's Daniela De la Parra.

Reactions from Wall Street and Main Street to how a company addresses – or doesn’t address – issues of gender inequality and sexual harassment affect social media sentiment, brand equity and market value, new research shows.

This work examines the effects on worker psychological well-being and productivity of highly publicized negative identity-related societal events, such as the 2020 murder of George Floyd, mass shootings like the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting that targeted LGBTQ+ individuals, and the 2021 Atlanta area Spa shootings that targeted individuals of Asian descent.

Pay transparency policies are increasingly popular among governments in the United States and around the world.

George Floyd's murder caused many firms to reveal how exposed they are to racial diversity issues. We examine investor and firm behaviors after this socially significant event to provide evidence on the valuation effects of the exposure and ensuing corporate responses. We develop a text-based measure of a firm's exposure to racial diversity issues from conference call transcripts and find that, after the murder of George Floyd, firms with diversity exposure experience a stock price decrease of approximately 0.7% around the date of the conference call. We provide evidence that this effect is attributable to race-related exposure and not gender-related exposure. Initiatives taken by firms mitigate the negative market reaction.

As major health systems continue to merge, one of the main questions for commentators and researchers concerns the somewhat vague idea of community benefit. The Atrium Health–Advocate merger is set to provide approximately $5 billion in annual community benefit, targeted to aid vulnerable communities and individuals. Community benefit can be understood as any action, investment or program provided by a tax-exempt hospital or health system that promotes the health and wellness of the community they serve. In addition to community benefit, Advocate Health described a $2 billion pledge to disrupt the root causes of health inequities across the rural and urban communities it serves.

As a magnet for both population and employment growth, North Carolina has a propitious opportunity to create an inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial and small business ecosystem to support the state’s newfound prosperity.