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HBS Working Knowledge

Updated: 2017-01-17T19:14:33Z


First Look at New Research: January 17


Should sales people be rewarded daily? ... How do firms survive long term in emerging markets? ... Entrepreneurs try to improving the mattress-buying experience.

Can China Maintain Its Economic Power?


Professor F. Warren McFarlan made his first visit to China in 1979 and has been returning ever since. He discusses the country's market-based reforms and its challenges to further growth.

The Paradoxical Quest to Make Food Look 'Natural' With Artificial Dyes


Research by Ai Hisano looks at how industry players and regulators collectively decided what butter, oranges, and other foods should look like—and how they redefined the meaning of “natural.”

Populism and the Return of the 'Paranoid Style': Some Evidence and a Simple Model of Demand for Incompetence as Insurance Against Elite Betrayal


Two themes emerging from studies of populist discourse have been “betrayal” and disdain for scientific or technical competence as traditionally embraced by elites. Rafael Di Tella and Julio J. Rotemberg connect betrayal and competence to examine why voters sometimes choose the less competent candidate.

First Look at New Research: January 10, 2017


Is a work break better when it’s unexpected? ... Learning from Henry Kissinger the negotiator ... The intellectual history of disruptive innovation theory

Precautionary Savings in Stocks and Bonds


What drives real interest rates? The question is important because of unusually low interest rates across the developed world. This paper by Carolin Pflueger, Emil Siriwardane, and Adi Sunderam provides new empirical evidence for one broad driver of real interest rates: investors’ time-varying demand for precautionary savings.

High-Skilled Migration and Agglomeration


This paper by William Kerr and colleagues reviews recent research regarding high-skilled migration.

The American Food Paradox: Growing Obese and Going Hungry


One third of the U.S. population is obese, even as 50 million Americans often struggle to find enough to eat. And all that in a country where 40 percent of the food made and purchased each year is thrown away, and in which food needs are expected to more than double over the next few decades. Professor Jose Alvarez discusses how the former president of Trader Joe’s is boiling these difficult problems down into one elegant solution in a pilot store in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and blazing a trail toward sustainability in the process.

Historical Change and the Competitive Advantage of Firms: Explicating the 'Dynamics' in the Dynamic Capabilities Framework


This working paper by Geoffrey Jones and R. Daniel Wadhwani contributes to the re-emerging dialogue between business history and strategy by examining how historical reasoning can contribute to dynamic capabilities framework currently employed by strategy scholars.

How Much Bureaucracy is a Good Thing in Government and Business?


Are there ways of creating effective bureaucrats and administrators in business and government? Should we call a truce in the war on bureaucracy? asks James Heskett.