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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

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Urban Investment Strategies Center Director Jim Johnson, who serves as chairman of the N.C. Department of Environmental Justice and Equity Board and as a member of the task force on social, economic and environmental equity, accompanied Cooper at a press conference in support of the order at N.C. A&T State University.

Using a linked database of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Yelp-listed restaurants, we document that businesses owned by minority racial groups are more likely to use fintech lenders than traditional lenders. We develop a simple two-sided matching model to show that this phenomenon can be potentially attributed to differences in performance among borrowers, racial disparities in lending relationships, and race-dependent values of borrower-lender matches. Empirically, we do not find consistent evidence that operational performance is an explanation. We find that minority-owned restaurants are less likely to have lending relationships and that restaurants without lending relationships are more likely to use fintech lenders. We also find a more negative minority-non-minority gap in operational performance for fintech lenders, suggesting minority-owned businesses have higher matching values with fintech lenders. We do not find a similar pattern for first-time bank participants, community development financial institutions, credit unions, or other non-federally insured lenders. Overall, our results suggest that there are racial barriers in traditional loan distribution channels and this can be at least partially addressed by fintech lenders.

The CREATE center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in partnership with the AOM Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) division, is pleased to organize the “Emergence: Organizations, Markets, Platforms, and Regions” conference. The conference seeks to unpack the processes of emergence and re-emergence that are core to creating prosperous economies.

In a series of influential studies, McKinsey (2015, 2018, 2020) report a statistically significant positive relation between the industry-adjusted EBIT margin of global samples of large public firms and the racial/ethnic diversity of their executives. However, when we revisit McKinsey’s tests using recent data for US S&P 500® firms, we find statistically insignificant relations between McKinsey’s inverse normalized Herfindahl-Hirschman measures of executive racial/ethnic diversity and not only industry-adjusted EBIT margin, but also industry-adjusted sales growth, gross margin, ROA, ROE, and TSR. Our results suggest that despite the imprimatur often given to McKinsey’s (2015, 2018, 2020) studies, caution is warranted in relying on their findings to support the view that US publicly traded firms can deliver improved financial performance if they increase the racial/ethnic diversity of their executives.

Kenan Scholar Gino Esposito (KFBS ’21) has been chosen as one of Poets and Quants for Undergrads’ 100 Best & Brightest Business Majors of 2021.

American Indian communities face a growing housing crisis, compounding long-standing social and economic challenges. In this Kenan Insight, we examine the structural and historic factors that underlie the current lack of affordable housing, and identify several promising options for both addressing the immediate crisis and improving the broader economic situation for tribal communities.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has recently ramped up efforts to keep immigrants from entering the country and force out some who are already here – arguing these to be necessary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect American jobs. However, in this Kenan Insight, we summarize why these policies risk having exactly the opposite effect, harming the future health, social well-being and economic viability of our nation.

Knowledge of our changing demography can serve as both foundation and frame for how to achieve greater social, economic, environmental, and health equity in North Carolina. After describing how disruptive demographics are transforming the our state, this essay highlights a set of equity issues undergirding our shifting demography and concludes with a set of tools and strategies to make North Carolina a place where equity, inclusion, and belonging is the new normal.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, finding affordable housing was a persistent problem in the U.S. In this Kenan Insight, we look at the factors driving the nationwide affordable housing crunch, particularly for those most affected by it — low income, single-parent families.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide civil unrest spawned by the recent spate of senseless killings of unarmed African Americans have illuminated what executive development professionals have been telling private and public sector leaders and managers for quite some time. We are living in an era of increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity—a VUCA World. “Certain-uncertainty” is the new normal in today’s society and economy.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 established a new program called “Opportunity Zones” that created tax advantages for investment locating in Census tracts with relatively low income or high poverty. Importantly, only 25% of eligible tracts in each state could be designated as an Opportunity Zone. We use detailed establishment-level data and a difference-in-difference (DiD) approach to identify the designation of a tract as an Opportunity Zone on job creation.

Why do firms offer non-wage compensation instead of the equivalent amount in financial compensation? We argue that firms use non-wage benefits, specifically maternity leave, to efficiently target workers with desirable characteristics.