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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



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.

Rodney E. Hood, National Credit Union Administration board member, discusses recent ESG-related legislation and the role governments can play during a panel at the February 2023 Frontiers of Business Conference.

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.

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.

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. Initiatives taken by firms mitigate the negative market reaction.

Workforce Disrupted

Failing to consider neurodiversity when trying to create truly diverse and inclusive workplaces has crucial implications for productivity and general life satisfaction. Organizations should consider these three points of action to improve their work environments and cultures.

This paper investigates how bank supervisors’ enforcement decisions and orders (EDOs) influence the allocation of mortgage lending across demographic groups underlying a banks’ borrower base. Specifically, we investigate how banks’ mortgage lending to minority borrowers relative to white borrowers changes following the resolution of severe EDOs.

The Kenan Institute recaps a panel on the business of women's health from the Center for Business of Health's November 2022 conference.

We Are All Human founder Claudia Romo Edelman talks with the Kenan Institute about why diversity matters for both employers and employees, and how Hispanic workers in particular are navigating their relationship to the workforce after the pandemic.

In a Financial Times article on paying executives in the age of stakeholder capitalism, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Professor Camelia Kuhnen notes that performance-related compensation packages can have negative consequences.

With growing prominence of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) issues, we witness enhanced scrutiny of the public stance and statements of organizational actors. For example, two such statements by Tucker Carlson, known for his primetime show on Fox News, one on immigration (2018) and the other on the Black Lives Matter (2020) movement, pushed nongovernmental organizations, such as Media Matters, to sociopolitical activism by putting pressures on advertisers to boycott the show. This mingling of DEI, sociopolitical activism, and associated economic effects raises a critical research question: what is the economic consequence of DEI stances that arouse sociopolitical activism and what are the underlying mechanisms for the economic consequences?

Research indicates that groups are most effective at achieving gender equity goals when men and women advocate together.