All posts by HEC Lausanne

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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Long live the power breakfast: Why executives should schedule critical tasks for early in the day

Many executives spend significant sums improving their personal performance. However, new research by Elizabeth Demers and her co-authors, suggests that there is one relatively simple, effective and low cost way of upping your game as an executive. They show that, for a combination of reasons, cognitive function, mood and the ability to communicate tend to decline throughout the day. For executives with packed diaries and little time to replenish reserves, it is best to get critical tasks scheduled for the morning.

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War and peace: The case for power sharing

There has long been an association between politics and violence. Factional disagreements can often lead to prolonged violence. At the same time, there is apparent evidence that the prospect or reality of power sharing can reduce violence – as with the Good Friday agreement and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, for example. At a time when factional violence, within a country or region, is evident in numerous parts of the world, research that examines how to prevent that violence is particularly relevant.

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Designing solutions to complex problems

Organizational life, and indeed the world, is full of complex, poorly defined, so called “ill-structured” problems that need solving. While teams have a variety of tools to choose from to help tackle these problems, those tools invariably fail to address both the challenges of working collaboratively and of addressing the specific problem at hand.

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The case for investing in good quality early child care

Two researchers look at the controversial issue of whether Early Child Care for very young children (under the age of three) provides benefits over care at home. And if so, whether it benefits children to a different degree depending on their circumstances.

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Beyond life expectancy: A different approach to comparing the impact of life saving measures on future demographics

Making accurate predictions about population trends is difficult. However a good grasp of demographic trends is also essential both for policymakers and many companies. Changes in Iife expectancy is a relatively blunt tool for measuring the impact of interventions, such as a new drug, or safety law, on different causes of death. Séverine Arnold and her co-authors offer a more sophisticated approach which enables interventions to be measured in terms of their relative impact on the age distribution of future populations, including old age dependency ratios.

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