The effect of screening for environmental, social and governance performance on passive and smart beta investing strategies

Using environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores of firms belonging to the MSCI World universe, we measure the impact of score-based exclusion on both passive investment and smart beta strategies. We find that exclusion leads to improved scores of otherwise standard portfolios without deterioration of their risk-adjusted performance. Smart beta strategies exhibit a similar pattern, often in a more pronounced way. Moreover, our results demonstrate that exclusion also implies regional and sectoral tilts as well as (possibly undesirable) risk exposures of the portfolios.

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The impact of the vote May 19 corporate tax reforms: a Q&A with Pierre-Marie Glauser

As an academic and lawyer specializing in taxation, Pierre-Marie Glauser was closely involved in the corporate tax reform campaign in Switzerland that culminated in the referendum held on May 19th. An advocate of the proposed reforms, Glauser was a member of a number of working groups involved with the reforms and gave presentations at various conferences on the implications of accepting or refusing the reforms. Here he discusses the government backed provisions approved by 64.4% of Swiss voters on May 19th and their impact.

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How the Camorra is cleaning up: A grubby tale of entrepreneurial talent gone to waste

Guido Palazzo, professor of business ethics, highlights a case where entrepreneurial ingenuity has turned environmentally and socially toxic, threatening the health and economic welfare of thousands of people living and working in Italy.

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Brexit, Uncertainty and Values at Risk – Five Risk Management Lessons

After nearly three years of negotiations, Brexit is proving a seemingly intractable problem, with all routes out of the EU looking costly for the UK. With emotions running high, opinions polarised, and reasoned argument often elusive, maybe a risk management perspective can offer some useful insights, suggests Professor Anette Mikes (HEC Lausanne, UNIL).

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The Facebook effect: How Facebook browsing shapes the consumer decision making process

Marketers are well aware that social media sites can play a role in influencing consumers, whether it is through product endorsement or building customer loyalty, for example. However, research by Christian Hildebrand and Tobias Schlager suggests that the effect of Facebook on consumers is both more subtle and powerful than commonly realized. They demonstrate that merely browsing this social media site has a significant impact on subsequent consumer decision making.

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Powers of attraction: How to make the most of tax holidays as a foreign direct investment incentive

In a global economy where countries compete fiercely for foreign direct investment, Prof. José Mata offers some insights for policymakers wishing to extract maximum value from specific tax related investment incentives—notably tax holidays.

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How badly run is your firm? Measuring the impact of key corporate governance issues

Corporate governance rules are designed to ensure that firms are well run – that management decisions do not unjustly deprive certain stakeholder groups of value, for example. A major challenge for policymakers, however, as regular reports of poorly run companies in the media show, is devising effective governance provisions. Now though, using a novel approach, academics Boris Nikolov, Erwan Morellec, and Norman Schürhoff have devised a framework which can be used to gauge the actual impact on a firm’s value of some common governance problems and the relative impact on different stakeholder groups.

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Mosquitoes, malaria and the spread of slavery in the US

In 1641 Massachusetts legalized slavery, the first North American colony to do so. Slavery was to persist in the colonies and territories, and then the United States for another two centuries, until formally abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Numerous theories have been advanced about why the US, a nation that values individual liberty so highly, introduced and institutionalized the practice of slavery. And why the slavery of African slaves in the southern states, in particular, became the prevalent form of slavery. Now, Elena Esposito publishes new research showing how the spread of malaria in North America may explain the pattern of growth of slavery in the US.

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Keeping the lights on: are electricity firms the next “too big to fail” crisis?

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis it became clear that regulators had allowed many financial services firms to become “too big to fail”. Yet this system-critical firm problem is not confined to financial services. In their paper “Can electricity companies be too big to fail?” Ann van Ackere, Erik R. Larsen and Sebastian Osorio explain how a similar challenge faces the electricity sector, and offer some suggestions to help regulators prevent the lights from going out.

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Kept in the picture: A consent-based system for sharing data online

Privacy issues associated with the online sharing of data, from photos to genetic information, have been the subject of much discussion recently. One particular problem is how to protect the privacy of people who are featured in shared data, such as group photos, for example, but are not the uploaders of that data, and may not even be aware of the data being shared.

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