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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2022 Annual Theme: Stakeholder Capitalism
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues



If companies are going to provide equitable advancement opportunities for remote and hybrid workers, managers must be mindful and leaders must lead, say Jami Stewart of Cisco Systems Inc. and Jes Averhart of Jes & Co., speakers at a recent discussion hosted by the Kenan Institute-affiliated UNC Entrepreneurship Center and the Research Triangle Foundation. Also: A company’s commitment to social impact can be a key to adding and keeping talented young employees.

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Finance Professor Stephen Arbogast discusses why embargoes on Russian oil aren’t working, why renewable energy sources aren’t the fix and how the missing link in increasing production could stabilize Europe’s energy outlook.

The Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise’s new series of economic briefings returned June 3 following the release of the U.S. Department of Labor’s monthly employment report. In the 9 a.m. ET briefing, Executive Director Greg Brown provided insight on another relatively strong report and talked about how jobs numbers could help influence the Fed to either push past its expected target on interest rates or take a pause in its increases.

With the school year winding down, we invited Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute Fellow and UNC-Chapel Hill Public Policy Research Professor Iheoma Iruka to join us for a discussion on the business of childcare and early education – as well as the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted families’ expectations and workers’ needs

What is a stablecoin, and why did the one known as TerraUSD break the buck and crash? Kenan Institute Chief Economist Gerald Cohen moderates this timely crypto conversation with University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business Professor Christine Parlour, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Professor Eric Ghysels and Chief Revenue Officer Michael Coscetta of Paxos.

The Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise launched its State of the Economy Press Briefing, a quick-response roundup of information and commentary following the U.S. Department of Labor’s monthly employment report, with a virtual presentation May 6. Areas for analysis included how the jobs numbers may affect GDP growth, inflation, and the Fed’s plans, with an eye toward what it all means for business.

In the 9 a.m. ET briefing, Chief Economist Gerald Cohen offered additional insights into the effects of COVID-19 on employment and the labor market’s continuing recovery. He also answered questions on the likelihood of a recession and the EU’s response to economic conditions.


Stakeholder Capitalism

Purpose is the corporate buzzword of today, with politicians, the public and even shareholders calling on businesses to serve wider society. But purpose is also controversial, because companies have a responsibility to deliver returns to investors. Is there a trade-off between purpose and profit, or is it possible for companies to achieve both? The Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise hosted a virtual talk featuring London Business School Finance Professor Alex Edmans, who critically examined the case for purposeful business using rigorous evidence and real-life examples to show what works – and, importantly, what doesn’t. He discussed practical ways for businesses of all sizes to put purpose into practice, how investors and citizens can play their part, and how we can distinguish businesses that are truly purposeful from those that are greenwashing.

Hear from Kenan Institute and affiliated experts about why the time is now for a deep-dive exploration of stakeholder capitalism and ESG investing – forces which have already begun shaping business and economic outcomes on a global scale.

On Tuesday, March 29th, First Citizens Bank Vice Chairwoman Hope Bryant joined UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Dean Doug Shackelford for a fireside chat. Bryant discussed the history of First Citizens Bank, the impacts of COVID-19 on the workforce and her experiences as a woman in a leadership position.

The Kenan Institute’s deep dive into stakeholder capitalism has exposed shortcomings in a key building block: ESG measurement. Our experts have explored the issue at length, proposing ways of refining these measures to produce structures that could meet the needs of multiple stakeholders while also working to design reporting free from political influence and agendas. As a next step, the Kenan Institute hosted a conversation featuring a business leader, investor and standard setter to discuss how we might turn these ideas into solutions to help integrate stakeholder capitalism principals into business and investment decisions.

Society faces a series of major problems, such as climate change, which require transformative technological change as part of the solution. From our 2022 Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Conference, MIT Sloan School of Management Professor Jacquelyn Pless, Duke University Professor Emeritus Eric Toone and Kenan Institute Chief Economist Gerald Cohen explore the potential and limits of entrepreneurship in solving these problems.

For much of 2022 economic forecasters, including those at the Federal Reserve, assumed that higher inflation rates would be short-lived – shifting back toward the Fed’s 2% target as supply-chain bottlenecks were resolved and a pandemic-induced shift in demand for consumer goods swung back toward consumer services. Instead, recent inflation prints have set 40-year records and we are seeing more discussion about the possibility of a “wage-price” spiral. In this short video, Kenan Institute Executive Director Greg Brown examines the factors which can lead to a wage-price spiral – and assesses the risk of a spiral causing even higher and more persistent inflation in the U.S. over the next few years.