Do CEOs Matter for CSR Initiatives?
A new large-scale study links CEO influence to a 30% difference in firms’ performances in the areas of social responsibility. Interview with Georg Wernicke, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Business Policy at HEC Paris, and member of the school’s Society & Organizations Institute.
The Smartphone: Not the Behemoth Feared by Business and Researchers
“How bad is the mere presence of a phone?” That's the title of the research paper co-authored by Claire Linares and Anne Laure Sellier and published by the review PLoS ONE. This is the product of two years of research, involving the replication of a paper that was written eight years ago by two British psychologists Andrew K. Przybylski and Netta Weinstein. In 2013, they presented data suggesting the physical presence of a cellphone in a meeting was harmful in terms of social interaction between strangers. A conclusion now disputed by the two HEC research academics.
Why Student Debt Relief May Fall Short of Its Good Intentions
As the U.S. staggers beneath the weight of its education debt – a crushing $1.6 trillion in 2020 – there are increasing calls for loan forgiveness. But debt forgiveness plans need to be crafted carefully or they might actually disproportionately favor high-income individuals or specific ethnic groups. A duo of Finance researchers, Sylvain Catherine of Wharton School and Constantine Yannelis of Chicago Booth School of Business, explains how to tailor such policies to better redistribute their benefits. Sylvain Catherine is a HEC Paris PhD alumnus.
Gender Difference on Crowdfunding Platforms: What Pitches Work?
On prosocial crowdfunding platforms such as Kiva, which benefit low-income entrepreneurs, women-led campaigns tend to be significantly more successful than men's. To find out which specific gender dynamics explained this difference, HEC Paris professor Santosh B. Srinivas sought to sort out gender differences in the justifications for funding requests entrepreneurs made on the site.
The Uncertain Promise of Human Rights in Sports: Understanding the Caster Semenya Case
For the 32nd Olympic Games, one of South Africa’s modern icons, 800-meter champion Caster Semenya, will not be making the trip northwards. She has been barred from the Tokyo Olympics where she had hoped to defend a crown she won in 2012 and 2016. We discuss with Professor Matteo Winkler the legal, sociological and ethical implications of the Caster Mokgadi Semenya v. IAAF (now World Athletics) case. World Athletics’ regulations target female athletes like Semenya who are born with naturally high levels of testosterone, a characteristic that was labelled first as “hyperandrogenism” and then as “difference of sexual development”. Winkler and fellow academic, Doctor Giovanna Gilleri from the European University Institute published a 40-page study deconstructing the narratives surrounding the case and reflecting on the relationship between the law of sports, politics, gender and bodies – and the West’s sometimes uncomfortable position on femininity in the Global South.
Real Effects of Dividend Taxes: A Natural Experiment From Switzerland
Any tax inexorably distorts the behaviour of economic agents, and dividend taxation is no exception to this rule. However, accurately assessing the impact of a tax reform on economic activity remains a difficult if not impossible task. Indeed, a change in tax rules affects the whole economy, and it is difficult to attribute a change in the behaviour of economic agents to the reform rather than to the evolution of the economic situation. This article reviews a change in Swiss tax policy that allowed us to precisely assess how listed companies react to a reduction in dividend taxation.
Why Anti-Discrimination Laws Are Not Enough to Ensure Inclusiveness
The EU has a comprehensive legal framework to combat discrimination. But where exactly does the letter of the law lie and how can corporations make their businesses truly inclusive? HEC Paris professor Matteo Winkler suggests going above and beyond the law to make workplaces genuinely diverse.
Unintended Consequences: When Minority Directors Get a “Pass” in Cases of Fraud
Companies are increasingly facing societal pressure to diversify their boards. However, these well-intended measures may have unforeseen consequences, a new study finds. Because of a perceived shortage of minority candidates, fraud-tainted minority directors — unlike their non-minority counterparts — enjoy some immunity from negative reputational consequences.
How Brands Can Fight Gender Stereotypes in Ads
Men and women value a product differently depending on whether it has a male or female brand representation — think Mr. Clean or Betty Crocker. Specifically, female-identified brands are less appealing to male shoppers. But researchers have found a relatively simple way to combat this gender bias.
Can Financial and Social Missions Truly Coexist Within Companies?
A number of business leaders and researchers have promoted the idea that social and financial goals are complementary. The authors of a recent paper say that may be true, but if so, why aren’t all companies pursuing these dual goals? They propose ways to diminish tensions between the two aims.