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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

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Please join us for an exclusive virtual conversation with North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders. This discussion is part of the Dean’s Speaker Series, hosted by Kenan-Flagler Business School Dean Doug Shackelford.

Greater focus on social justice has brought systemic inequities in the corporate sector to light, leading companies to step up their efforts in attracting and retaining a diverse workforce – but many challenges remain in implementing those goals. Following a joint report between the Kenan Institute and EY, this week’s Kenan Insight breaks down some challenges companies may face while trying to reach their diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

Stock prices reflect firm performance and aggregate investor information about investment opportunities. We show that these dual roles are in tension: when prices are more informative about future investment, they are less effective at incentivizing managerial effort. Overall firm value need not increase with price informativeness; both decreasing transparency and allowing for ex-post inefficient investment can increase firm value. We show that standard empirical measures of price efficiency are incomplete and derive testable predictions for the price-sensitivity and composition of managerial compensation.

Christian Lundblad, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Professor of Finance and Kenan Institute Director of Research, joined WRAL's Debra Morgan to discuss the state's uneven economic recovery due to employee fear of being exposed to coronavirus. Lundblad said business vaccine mandates will help alleviate those fears and draw more people back to work.

For more than a year, researchers across the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC) Kenan-Flagler Business School (KFBS) and School of Medicine (SOM) worked with Sharecare, Inc. (Sharecare) to establish a framework for measuring the true value of corporate well-being interventions and develop a measurement tool to quantify their impact over time. The goal of the research was to assess the value of implementing corporate well-being interventions to improve employee health and lower direct medical costs to employers.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased economic inequities in a number of ways, including in access to external capital – and while 2020 marked a break-out year for venture-backed firms, the pandemic hit many main street businesses hard. In this Kenan Insight, we explore the forces driving the haves and have-nots in this new economic climate, as well as actionable policy solutions as government support programs wind down.

Firms devote significant resources to safety-training programs with the aim to mitigate financial loss due to safety incidents and create customer value. From both practical and theoretical perspectives, it is important to know (1) whether safety-training programs mitigate financial loss, so that senior management can maintain the support for them, and (2) whether safety-training programs contribute to firm sales so firms can use them as a critical marketing lever to communicate value to customers.

As the U.S. economy begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses grapple with ongoing labor shortages, the debate around increasing the federal minimum wage – which hasn’t budged in over a decade – has returned to the fore. In this Kenan Insight, we examine whether now is the right time to raise the standard minimum, why these benefits may come at a cost, and what approach might work best given the inevitable tradeoffs.

Research Director Christian Lundblad explores the implications of a long-brewing skills mismatch for companies’ bottom lines and our approach to combatting income inequality.

The current narrative around the U.S. labor market is a mixed bag, with unemployment numbers well above pre-pandemic rates while many companies struggle to fill jobs. In this Kenan Insight Q&A, three experts weigh in on the critical issues behind this dichotomy.

North Carolina just inked an $850 million deal with Apple. CREATE Faculty Director Maryann Feldman wants the state to invest at least as much in its school-age residents.

Kenan Institute Senior Fellow Mary Moore Hamrick, CEO of Political Quotient Advisors, outlines the major “buckets” of President Biden’s proposed $3 trillion infrastructure bill.