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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



Take a look back at highlights from the second annual Conference on Market-Based Solutions for Reducing Wealth Inequality, which brought academics together with the public and private sectors to hear about new research and venture into the community.

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

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Professor Jim Johnson, director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center, defines three groups facing challenges as companies return to the office and updates his forecast of demographic gale force winds.

In addition to academic presentations, the Conference on Market-Based Solutions for Reducing Wealth Inequality took participants out of the classroom and into the community for a walking tour and on-site discussions in nearby Durham, N.C.

The Kenan Institute and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s inaugural Conference on Market-Based Solutions for Reducing Wealth Inequality on June 1-2 highlighted research on market mechanisms that might also work to ameliorate inequality.

In recent years, the importance of reducing wealth inequality and spurring inclusive economic growth has become apparent. Most approaches to reducing wealth inequality have been on the policy side, for example, through changing taxation. But economic prosperity can also occur for people in the lower half of the wealth distribution through market-based actions. The business sector has innovated and found profitable opportunities by serving lower income or lower wealth communities — for example, fintech or telehealth are two domains in which for-profit businesses have created opportunities for those in more disadvantaged situations to improve their well-being, including their finances.

Companies face increasing pressure from different stakeholders to address various environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. In their efforts to engage with these issues, they might pursue symbolic or substantive actions, either pre-emptively (proactive actions) or in response to specific targeted threats (reactive actions). Yet we know relatively little about how different stakeholders react to this repertoire of corporate actions and importantly, whether they are aligned in their reaction. We ask this question in the context of gender inequality, an issue that has become salient due to heightened societal attention thanks to the #MeToo movement.

Perez-Truglia, a Kenan Institute Distinguished Fellow, will summarize the latest research, including his own, to provide a better understanding of the effectiveness of pay transparency laws.

Generative AI such as ChatGPT holds the potential to alter many kinds of work, but analysis of a new report shows the occupations most likely to be affected are populated by more women than men.

CEO pay is the latest point of contention in the political fight over ESG, but the arguments have become oversimplified. When we think about good corporate governance, what does the evidence say about CEO pay? The results may surprise you.

With direct care facilities and workers in crisis, we explore trends behind the labor shortages in the industry as well as a menu of solutions that could possibly alleviate the issue.

Recent infrastructure legislation offers an opportunity to focus on how new projects can increase wealth in communities with the greatest needs and minimize harm to the environment, all while supporting the broader economy.