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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2023 Grand Challenge: Workforce Disrupted
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

strategy and entrepreneurship


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.

North Carolina’s phenomenal migration-driven population growth masks a troubling trend: high rates of death and dying prematurely which, left unchecked, can potentially derail the state’s economic growth and prosperity in the years ahead. On average, 246 North Carolinians died each day during the 2010s, increasing to 317 daily between April 1, 2020 and July 1, 2022. COVID-19 and the substance abuse crisis have played a major role in premature deaths of prime working age citizens of the state. Both people-based and place-based strategies and interventions are urgently needed to address the state’s death crisis.

Sekou Bermiss, UNC Kenan-Flagler associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, unpacks the topic of people analytics, discussing how firms can build better culture by supporting both managers and employees.

Leading academics and innovators in the private and public sectors recently convened at the Kenan Institute's wealth inequality conference to foster meaningful dialogue about the effects of income disparity and how education and research can create opportunities for more equitable access. 

Kenan Institute Distinguished Fellow John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland sees the growth in startups and remote work as especially benefiting the South and the areas around urban downtowns.

Kenan Institute Distinguished Fellow John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland talks about why the Hollywood story of rising from the mailroom to the boardroom is less likely to happen now.

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.

The executive labor market (ELM) is a topic of interest that spans several academic fields. The outcomes of the ELM, including executive selection, succession, and compensation, are important considerations as they influence executive decision making and other organizational outcomes. Yet, a comprehensive framework of ELM dynamics currently does not exist. To address this shortcoming, we reviewed the existing literature using five fundamental questions: (1) What executive jobs are available? (2) Who is available to fill executive jobs, and what is valued on the ELM? (3) Who signals interest in the executive jobs? (4) Who gets offered/accepts the executive job, and what is the agreed-upon compensation? (5) How do status and social capital influence ELM outcomes? By answering these questions, our review provides a framework for integrating existing research on the ELM while suggesting avenues for future research.

Fayetteville State University Chancellor and CEO Darrell T. Allison, Fayetteville-Cumberland Regional Entrepreneur and Business Hub Director Tamara Martin and others talk about how the hub has affected the region's economy.

Ricardo Perez-Truglia of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business discusses recent research on pay transparency, which shows that new laws may help reduce the gender pay gap but may also produce unintended consequences.

Crowdsourcing as a mechanism of open innovation is a popular way for organizations to solicit ideas from external agents. Our research focuses on the relationship between examples in problem statements provided to a crowd and the subsequent number of ideas submitted by the crowd.

Craig Allen, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, provides insights on U.S.-China relations and its impact on U.S. firms. The Q&A session facilitated by UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School's Denis Simon further delves into the issue's complexities.