This article deals primarily with the problem of accounting for the cost of defined-benefit pension schemes in the accounts of the sponsoring company (the employer). This is one of the most controversial issues currently being debated by accounting standard-setters, following the introduction of an innovative standard on the subject, FRS 17, by the UK Accounting Standards Board (ASB). This standard measured the pension-fund deficit or surplus as the difference between the current values of the pension-fund assets and liabilities, and the effects of changes in valuations were to be reported immediately in the Statement of Recognized Gains and Losses (STRGL). The introduction of FRS 17 coincided with: a sharp decline in stock-market prices; a reduction in the value of pension-fund investment; and a revision of actuarial tables to reflect the increased expectation of life, which increased pension-fund liabilities.
In employer-provided pension plans and individual retirement saving accounts, contributions over the working lifetime are used to purchase assets that are drawn down after retirement. In contrast, public pension systems typically use pay-as-you-go (PAYG) finance. With PAYG finance, current revenue to the program – which may be derived from a tax on payroll or from general taxation, – is used to finance current pension expenditure. Such a pension program is therefore a form of tax-and-transfer system, akin to other elements of the public welfare program. Given these general issues, this article describes an actuarial-based system and contrasts it with an explicitly redistributive program. It then delineates four dimensions in which public pension systems diverge from this actuarial benchmark, providing actual illustrations for OECD countries. The next section considers the limited empirical evidence on whether, in practice, deviations from an actuarial basis to the public pension system actually affect household behaviour.
Geoffrey Wood and Douglas Michael Wright
The financial crisis of 2008 has prompted some people to ask basic questions about the extent to which large-scale corporate governance failures have underestimated the basis of the global economy. This chapter carefully critiques the financialization perspective on corporate governance, and argues that the financialization process does not comprise a new epoch and is not a coherent phenomenon. It suggests that socio-economic change is a process of continual change that embodies continuities going back to previous eras. It states that institutions are highly unlikely to be perfectly aligned with and follow what is done at firm level, which may be the reason behind the various strengths and weaknesses encountered in Chandlerian managerial capitalism. The literature on financialization is also examined.
This article identifies a number of ongoing challenges. It focuses on the means of environmental regulation — the techniques regulators use to reduce pollution. It discusses traditional regulation (often called command-and-control regulation), the economic theory undergirding market-based environmental regulation, and increased use of market mechanisms. This treatment of market mechanisms considers them in an institutional context, showing how a multilevel governance system implements market mechanisms. Market-based instruments have become increasingly important as neoliberalism has advanced. While these instruments provide a cost effective way of realising environmental improvements, they depend on government design and enforcement for their efficacy. A concern that is shared across contributions is that such instruments are increasingly deployed in a complex context of multilevel governance and challenges multiply where market mechanisms traverse national boundaries.
Joseph R. Blasi and Douglas L. Kruse
Worker ownership plays a significant role in the US economy today. This worker ownership takes on different forms. A large proportion of the US population (close to a fifth) owns stock in the company where they work. Meaningful worker holdings are ubiquitous in high-technology companies such as Google in the Internet area, Microsoft in the software area, Gilead Sciences in biotechnology, and Qualcomm in mobile technology. The most intensive sectors of worker ownership in the US are about 10,000 companies with about 15 million workers with Employee Stock Ownership Plans, where about 4,000 of the firms are majority or 100 per cent worker-owned, and a compact but vibrant and growing sector of about 300 worker co-operatives with about 6,000 members. Much of this chapter is based on our book, The Citizen’s Share, with economist Richard B. Freeman (Blasi, Freeman, and Kruse, 2015: 57–122).
This article considers the analysis of the firm's strategic environment. Its objectives are to examine the concept of the environment in the context of strategic management, the role of the environment in the development of the field of strategic management, the implications of the environment for strategic management, and the role and analysis of the common strategic environment and of the industry and business unit environment. Strategic management is concerned with, amongst other things, how firms relate to each other, whether by competing, cooperating, or just coexisting. Consequently, the most relevant distinction to be drawn amongst potential subsets of the strategic environment surrounding the firm is between those factors and conditions which affect all related firms.
James M. Poterba
This article summarizes the current operation of annuity markets and the potential role of these markets in providing retirement security. It is divided into six sections. The first describes the basic structure of annuity products, with particular reference to those that are currently available in the United States and the United Kingdom. The second section explains the standard analysis of why annuities are attractive to individuals who face uncertainty about length of life, and describes several hypotheses that have been advanced to explain the limited size of private annuity markets. The third section describes the standard methodology for comparing the expected present value of annuity payouts with their cost. The fourth section examines several aspects of individual demand for annuity products. The fifth section briefly discusses the role of regulation in annuity markets. The brief conclusion considers a number of emerging issues that bear on the role of private annuity markets in providing retirement-income security.
D. Daniel Sokol
This chapter explores compliance in the antitrust context, reviewing both the antitrust and the non-antitrust literatures on compliance and corporate governance to provide a clearer picture of the extant literature and the theoretical and empirical gaps within the antitrust literature to better inform antitrust policy on detecting cartels. This chapter explores the scholarship both within and outside of antitrust to better understand internal detection of wrongdoing and improved compliance in the antitrust cartel context. It explores the organizational environment for antitrust compliance programs, firm and industry indicia that impact antitrust compliance, survey evidence and theoretical models on antitrust compliance, and the use of bounties to encourage compliance.
Rob Bauer, Roy P. M. M. Hoevenaars, and Tom Steenkamp
Market valuation of assets is a topic that has been discussed for quite some time now, but the valuation of pension contracts including all embedded options is a major challenge for pension fund policy makers. On top of that, pension fund beneficiaries are increasingly demanding more transparency with regard to the exact nature of their pension arrangement, or their pension deal. This article sheds some light on the management of the current and future financial health of a defined-benefit public pension fund. Most funds conduct a so-called Asset Liability Management (ALM) study that investigates the impact of decisions with regard to investment, contribution, and indexation policy on the various stakeholders of the fund (employees, employers, and retired and future generations).
Charles W. Smith
This chapter outlines the creation and development of the Australian Future Fund (FF), showing how and why policy makers adopted this option to manage the challenges presented by the “good economic fortune” that occurred in Australia from the mid-1990s to 2010. It discusses the politics behind the governing structure of the FF, which is copied from its neighbor, New Zealand. Despite its initial emphasis on independence, political influence was inevitable when selecting and appointing the chairman of the Board of Guardians. The chapter examines the two key issues of “ethical investment” and “ethical operation” and shows the difficult balance of demands between diverse constituents; it identifies the space created by the expectation that the FF will behave in a similar fashion of all profit-maximization investors.
This article examines the contributions of business historians to the analysis of comparative financial systems. It begins with the responses of historical research to questions raised by economists. The article then goes on to highlight new questions raised by the work of business historians themselves. It gives a short presentation of the debates among economists. Furthermore, the article gives a detailed account of five topics in an historical perspective: the role of firms' self-financing, the role of external finance and the structure of its components, the systemic character of cross-national variations, the historical origins of national financial systems, and the consequences of these differences for economic performances. Finally, the article presents a short concluding section that considers the problem of convergence.
Financial crises have been a common feature of the economic landscape for more than two centuries. The chapter defines banking crises, considers the type of costs that they impose, and outlines the most common causes of banking crises during the past 200 years. The remainder of the chapter considers five distinct historical periods: the nineteenth century, when the pattern of crises following ‘boom–bust’ economic cycles became established; the inter-war period, which was punctuated by two major sets of crises (post-First World War crisis and the Great Depression); the post-Second World War financial ‘lock-down’, which was characterized by stringent banking regulation and a complete absence of banking crises; deregulation and the return of crises in the 1970s; and the subprime crisis that emerged in 2008 and the subsequent Eurozone crisis.
Biggest Infrastructure Bubble Ever?: City and Nation Building with Debt-Financed Megaprojects in China
Since the early 1990s, China has built more megaprojects than any other country in the world. This chapter examines the economic and sociopolitical conditions in China that have made the massive investment and construction of megaprojects possible, such as the deregulatory reforms in the land and housing sector and the rise of local investment corporations for megaproject financing. The chapter also compares megaproject developments before and after 2008—a tumultuous year marking both the Beijing Olympics and a global economic recession. Before 2008, the hosting of mega-events often legitimized the construction of megaprojects. After 2008, the recession became the new legitimizing tool, as the Chinese government implemented a large stimulus program that directed more investment in infrastructural megaprojects. With the slowdown of the Chinese economy, many local governments today find themselves in deep debt from overinvestment in infrastructural megaprojects over the past two decades. Examples from Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou are used to illustrate the contested processes and mixed legacies of city building with megaprojects.
This chapter includes extra insights into how the board works. It shows that the most relevant board decisions are made in the context of certain committees and not in the board setting. It then studies the three main board committees—nomination, compensation, and audit—and assesses the available research on the key aspects of their composition. It shows that there is a positive relationship between the expertise and independence of board committees and key effectiveness measures, although process research determines that there are tensions which committees face.
Investment banking taken generally to mean the financing of long-term capital needs, came into being with the merchants of medieval trade routes. In almost all developed economies of the world, even those developing late in the nineteenth century, investment bankers emerged from merchant banking roots. The provision of investment banking services has come from a variety of institutions over time and across countries. Products and services have evolved to include complex, often derivative, securities; and the legal regulation of investment banking has often changed abruptly, particularly in the last 100 years. Thus, even well-known investment banking names that have endured over the centuries bear little resemblance to their ancestors.
This article examines the concept of brokerage models of innovation. It discusses the principles of brokerage theories and explains that while traditional models of innovation focus on the generation of novel solutions, brokerage theories focus on how managers recognize and recombine existing resources. Brokerage models of innovation also highlight how organizations are embedded within larger field landscapes and how managerial strategies, structures, and actions aimed at innovation will be enabled or constrained by the institutional dynamics unfolding at these larger levels. This article also highlights the innovation lessons from Thomas Edison, Elmer Sperry, and Design Continuum.
An innovative enterprise develops productive resources to differentiate itself from its rivals, and utilizes the productive resources which it has developed to generate the higher-quality, lower-cost products that are the source of its competitive advantage. Government investments in education and research form indispensable foundations for business investments in innovation. Governments may also seek to ensure that the outcome of innovative enterprise is indeed economic development. This article presents a summary of the “historical experience” that is deemed to be relevant to a theory of innovative enterprise. Given space constraints, it is confined, historically and comparatively, to the cases of Japan and the United States. In conclusion, the article indicates the importance of a theory of innovative enterprise for understanding the role of the state in economic development.