An 'Uber' Problem for Cities: Balancing Innovation with Regulation

Uber, a San Francisco start-up that provides private car service, has been embraced by customers who love its white-glove service and convenience. But municipalities and transportation industry officials are not so enamored, accusing the firm of breaking local laws. According to Wharton experts, the case illustrates the myriad problems that can occur when innovation runs afoul of regulation.

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Slippery Negotiations: The Give and Take of Oil Contracts in Foreign Countries

When oil prices spiraled much higher in global markets between 2003 and 2008, the governments of several oil-producing nations responded by seizing the local assets of independent oil companies that had contracted to operate in their territories. What kinds of contracts between the governments of oil-rich nations and international oil companies have been the most effective in minimizing that risk? And how can contracts be structured to benefit both local governments and foreign investors? Recent Wharton research provides some answers.

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iPerks: Apple, Like Others, Takes Steps to Woo Employees

According to a press report last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook has brought something to the company that many employees may not be familiar with: perks. These include new discounts on Apple products and a program that lets some employees dedicate a certain amount of time to a favorite project. How effective are these perks, and what should companies take into account when deciding which menu of perks to offer?

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Pay Harmony: Peer Comparison and Executive Compensation

Published:November 20, 2012Paper Released:November 2012Authors:Claudine Gartenberg and Julie Wulf Executive Summary: This paper demonstrates how horizontal wage comparisons within firms and concerns for "pay harmony" affect firm policies in setting pay for executives. Using a rich dataset of pay practices for the senior-most executives within divisions, Gartenberg and Wulf ask whether horizontal comparisons between managers in similar jobs affect pay. The authors also evaluate evidence in support of a tradeoff between pay harmony and performance pay. Findings are consistent with the presence of peer effects in influencing pay policies for executives inside firms. These results contribute to the ongoing policy debate on the consequences of transparency and mandatory information disclosure and potential ratchet-effects in executive pay. For practitioners involved in designing the structure of executive compensation and pay disclosure policies for firms -- including compensation committee directors, senior human resource executives, and compensation consultants -- it is important to recognize the tradeoff between the incentive effects of performance-based pay and costs of peer comparison that arise from unequal pay when designing executive wage co...

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First Look: November 20

When executives learn how much colleagues make In 1992 the US Securities and Exchange Commission mandated that firms provide increased disclosure of how their top executives are compensated. A new paper by Claudine Gartenberg and Julie Wulf use that change to better understand how such disclosures affect peer comparison and actual compensation throughout the managerial ranks. One finding: "Peer comparison decreases pay disparity within firms and that principals face a tradeoff between the incentive effects of performance-based pay and costs of peer comparison." Read their working paper, Pay Harmony: Peer Comparison and Executive Compensation. Pulling the right strategy levers at Walmart Looking at Walmart, researchers Humberto Brea-Solis, Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, and Emili Grifell-Tatje try out a new analytical framework that emphasizes quantitative methods over more traditional qualitative methods. Evaluating the strategic choices of CEOs Sam Walton, David Glass, and Lee Scott, they find that overall "the effectiveness of a particular business model depends not only on its design (its levers and how they relate to one another) but, most importantly, on its implementation (how the business model levers are pulled)." Read Business Model Evaluation: Quantifying Walmart's Sources of Advantage.. Should a food retailer fight obesity? In a recent case, the CEO of grocery retailer H-E-B Grocery has a ch...

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