Background Notes: North America, March, 2012

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In the US, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, businesses face higher barriers to enter their rivals' home markets than foreign firms face entering US markets.

Long-term problems for the US include stagnation of wages for lower-income families, inadequate investment in deteriorating infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, energy shortages, and sizable current account and budget deficits. But the globalization of trade, and especially the rise of low-wage producers such as China, has put additional downward pressure on wages and upward pressure on the return to capital. Since , dividends and capital gains have grown faster than wages or any other category of after-tax income.

Crude oil prices doubled between and , the year home prices peaked; higher gasoline prices ate into consumers' budgets and many individuals fell behind in their mortgage payments. Because the US economy is energy-intensive, falling oil prices since have alleviated many of the problems the earlier increases had created.

The sub-prime mortgage crisis, falling home prices, investment bank failures, tight credit, and the global economic downturn pushed the US into a recession by mid GDP contracted until the third quarter of , making this the deepest and longest downturn since the Great Depression. The government used some of these funds to purchase equity in US banks and industrial corporations, much of which had been returned to the government by early In , the Federal Government reduced the growth of spending and the deficit shrank to 7.

US revenues from taxes and other sources are lower, as a percentage of GDP, than those of most other countries. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan required major shifts in national resources from civilian to military purposes and contributed to the growth of the budget deficit and public debt. In March , President OBAMA signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a health insurance reform that was designed to extend coverage to an additional 32 million Americans by , through private health insurance for the general population and Medicaid for the impoverished.

Total spending on healthcare - public plus private - rose from 9. In July , the president signed the DODD-FRANK Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a law designed to promote financial stability by protecting consumers from financial abuses, ending taxpayer bailouts of financial firms, dealing with troubled banks that are ""too big to fail,"" and improving accountability and transparency in the financial system - in particular, by requiring certain financial derivatives to be traded in markets that are subject to government regulation and oversight.

Kulp, V. Narayanan and Dennis Campbell. Robert S.

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Kaplan and Dennis Campbell. Harvard Business School. HBS Home. Business and Environment Business History Entrepreneurship. Finance Globalization Health Care.

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Technology and Operations Management. View Details. Often unionized, it paid well, offered benefits, and was secure. Now a decent living entails more than a generous wage; it involves sharing the company's success with employees. Some companies offer a direct stake in the company's performance through stock, a share in profits, or both. Companies with employee stock ownership plans report significantly higher sales growth and higher revenue per employee than do conventionally owned companies in the same industry.

However, virtually all the gains to be had go to those that create an ownership culture, by building in participative management and helping employees learn to think and act like owners. Frei When does increased service quality competition lead to customer defection, and which customers are most likely to defect? Our empirical analysis of 82, customers exploits the varying competitive dynamics in geographically isolated markets in which a nationwide retail bank conducted business over a five-year period.

We find that customers defect at a higher rate from the incumbent following increased service quality price competition only when the incumbent offers high low quality service relative to existing competitors in a local market. We provide evidence that these results are due to a sorting effect, whereby firms trade off service quality and price, and in turn, the incumbent attracts service price sensitive customers in markets where it has supplied relatively high low levels of service quality in the past. Furthermore, we show that it is the high-quality incumbent's most profitable customers who are the most attracted by superior quality alternatives.

Our results appear to have long-run implications whereby sustaining a high level of service quality is associated with the incumbent attracting and retaining more profitable customers over time. Citation: Buell, Ryan W. Narayanan We analyze balanced scorecard data from a convenience store chain, Store24, during the implementation of an innovative, but ultimately unsuccessful, strategy.

Quarterly strategic reviews, based in part on the firm's balanced scorecard, led executives at Store24 to identify problems with, and eventually abandon, this strategy over a two-year period. We find that formal statistical tests of the hypotheses underlying the firm's balanced scorecard and strategy map reveal problems with the strategy on a timelier basis. We also test alternative hypotheses to those underlying the firm's formal strategy map and scorecard that are consistent with concerns expressed by some of Store24's top executives during the initial stages of implementing the new strategy.

Our analysis demonstrates that this firm's balanced scorecard contained useful and timely information for distinguishing between these alternatives. These results provide some of the first field-based evidence on the potential for a firm's balanced scorecard to provide useful information for detecting problems in its strategy. Citation: Campbell, Dennis, Srikant M. Kulp, and V.

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Article Journal of Accounting Research Employee Selection as a Control System Dennis Campbell Theories from the economics, management control, and organizational behavior literatures predict that when it is difficult to align incentives by contracting on output, aligning preferences via employee selection may provide a useful alternative. This study investigates this idea empirically using personnel and lending data from a financial services organization that implemented a highly decentralized business model.

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I exploit variation in this organization in whether or not employees are selected via channels that are likely to sort on the alignment of their preferences with organizational objectives. I find that employees selected through such channels are more likely to use decision-making authority in the granting and structuring of consumer loans than those who are not. Conditional on using decision-making authority, their decisions are also less risky ex post. These findings demonstrate employee selection as an important, but understudied, element of organizational control systems.

Citation: Campbell, Dennis. Asis Martinez-Jerez and Peter Tufano Using a new database, we document the factors that relate to the extent of involuntary consumer bank account closure resulting from excessive overdraft activity. Consumers who have accounts involuntarily closed for overdraft activity may have limited or no access to the formal banking system. In the period through , there were approximately 30 million checking accounts reportedly closed for excessive overdrafting.

Closure rates jointly reflect a financial mismanagement on the behalf of families and b bank forbearance policies regarding overdrawn customers.

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We focus on five factors to explain the incidence of involuntary closures: personal traits, community traits, economic trends, bank policies, and credit access through the alternative financial services sector. We find that involuntary closures are most frequent in U. Negative shocks to income and rates of employment are also associated with increases in closure activity within counties over time. We interpret these results as consistent with involuntary consumer account closures being jointly driven by thin margins between income and expenditures, general consumer inability to budget and forecast, bank incentives, and community norms and social capital.

Furthermore, using both national data and a natural experiment, we find that access to payday lending seems to lead to higher rates of involuntary account closure. Citation: Campbell, Dennis, F. Asis Martinez-Jerez, and Peter Tufano. Frei We empirically document factors that influence how local operating managers use discretion to balance the tradeoff between service capacity costs and customer sensitivity to service time. Our findings, using data from one of the largest financial services providers in the U. In turn, we find evidence that local operating managers account for market specific customer sensitivities to service times by deviating frequently and in predictable ways from the recommendations offered by a centralized capacity planning model.

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Finally, we document that these discretionary capacity supply decisions exhibit a strong learning effect whereby experienced operating managers place more weight than their less experienced counterparts on the market-specific tradeoff between service capacity costs and customer sensitivity to service times. Overall, our results demonstrate both the importance of local knowledge as an input in service operations and the potential for incorporating richer data on customer behavior and preferences into service cost and productivity standard metrics.

Citation: Campbell, Dennis, and Frances X. Lead Article. Asis Martinez-Jerez This paper investigates the relationship between monitoring, decision making, and learning among lower-level employees. And, looking carefully at Shein et al. This is particularly striking given the increasing urbanization of the U.

Wake-up call

Everything else being equal— and with no warming from increased greenhouse gases —most statewide records should be in or near big cities. This year there were a huge number many thousands of reports of daily high temperature records being set across the eastern two-thirds of the country in recent weeks, and even a large number a few hundred reports of all-time records high temperatures being set for a particular location.

In Table 1, below, we list the all-time record daily maximum temperature observed in each of the 52 entries as compiled by the SCEC and the date and location where it was recorded. Notice that the vast majority of the all-time records were set more than half a century ago and that there are exceedingly few records set within the past few decades. This is not the picture that you would expect if global warming from greenhouse gas emissions were the dominant forcing of the characteristics of our daily weather.