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Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

Bridging psychological research exploring emotional complexity and research in the natural sciences on the measurement of biodiversity, we introduce-and demonstrate the benefits of-emodiversity: the variety and relative abundance of the emotions that humans experience. Two cross-sectional studies across more than 37,000 respondents demonstrate that emodiversity is an independent predictor of mental and physical health-such as decreased depression and doctor’s visits-over and above mean levels of positive and negative emotion. These results remained robust after controlling for gender, age, and the five main dimensions of personality. Emodiversity is a practically important and previously unidentified metric for assessing the health of the human emotional ecosystem.

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Dragging Patent Trolls Into the Light

August 21, 2014 Comments off

Dragging Patent Trolls Into the Light
Source: Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

Proponents say that non-practicing entities play a valuable role by sticking up for small inventors, going up against big companies that steal the ideas of entrepreneurs who are unable to fight their own legal battles. (NPEs acquire patents either by purchasing them from companies, inventors, and academic institutions, or by being assigned them in the first place for original work.) If it weren’t for NPEs, the argument goes, resource-rich companies would be free to steal ideas of small inventors without fearing retaliatory lawsuits—and this would poison the business environment.

But critics have another name for many NPEs: patent trolls. In this view, a significant number of non-practicing entities acquire patents for the sole purpose of coercing companies, mostly technology firms, into paying licensing or settlement fees (whether justified or not).

New research coauthored by Lauren H. Cohen, professor of finance at Harvard Business School; Umit G. Gurun, of University of Texas at Dallas; and Scott Duke Kominers, of the Harvard Society of Fellows, attempts to answer that question by studying which firms NPEs target in litigation, when the litigation occurs, and the impact of the legal challenges on the targeted firms’ abilities to innovate and grow. Their paper, released in July, is entitled “Patent Trolls: Evidence from Targeted Firms.”

The research concludes that NPEs not only go after the most susceptible, cash-rich targets, but in the process damage those companies’ abilities to innovate in the future.

5 Imperatives: Addressing Healthcare’s Innovation Challenge

August 19, 2014 Comments off

5 Imperatives: Addressing Healthcare’s Innovation Challenge (PDF)
Source: Harvard Medical School

1. Making value the central objective
In isolation, efforts to either reduce costs or improve outcomes are insufficient; we need to do both through care coordination and shared information.

2. Promoting novel approaches to process improvement
Instead of largely focusing on product innovation, we also must create an environment that encourages process improvement and acknowledges that “failure” represents an important component of experimentation and learning.

3. Making consumerism really work
Today, consumerism remains a strong idea with weak means of execution. We will achieve greater success when providers organize efforts around patient needs and when patients become more active agents in managing their own health.

4.Decentralizing approaches to problem solving
We should facilitate the movement of care delivery and health care innovation from centralized centers of expertise out to the periphery, where more providers, innovators, and patients can engage in collaborative improvement efforts.

5. Integrating new approaches into established organizations
Our future must build on past successes. Existing health care institutions must be reinforced with efforts to integrate new knowledge into established organizations and the communities they serve.

Bridging Science and Technology through Academic-Industry Partnerships

August 7, 2014 Comments off

Bridging Science and Technology through Academic-Industry Partnerships
Source: Social Science Research Network

Scientific research and its translation into commercialized technology is a driver of wealth creation and economic growth. Partnerships to foster the translational processes from public research organizations, such as universities and hospitals, to private firms are a policy tool that has attracted increased interest. Yet questions about the efficacy and the efficiency with which funds are used are subject to frequent debate. This paper examines empirical data from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (DNATF), an agency that funds partnerships between universities and private companies to develop technologies important to Danish industry. We assess the effect of a unique mediated funding scheme that combines project grants with active facilitation and conflict management on firm performance, comparing the likelihood of bankruptcy and employee count as well as patent count, publication count and their citations and collaborative nature between funded and unfunded firms. Because randomization of the sample was not feasible, we address endogeneity around selection bias using a sample of qualitatively similar firms based on a funding decision score. This allows us to observe the local effect of samples in which we drop the best recipients and the worst non-recipients. Our results suggest that while receiving the grant does bring an injection of funding that alleviates financing constraints, its core effect on the firm’s innovative behavior is in fostering collaborations and translations between science and technology and encouraging riskier projects rather than purely increasing patenting.

The State of Small Business Lending: Credit Access during the Recovery and How Technology May Change the Game

August 5, 2014 Comments off

The State of Small Business Lending: Credit Access during the Recovery and How Technology May Change the Game (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers
From Harvard Working Knowledge op/ed:

During the 2008 financial crisis, small businesses were hampered in securing bank credit because of a perfect storm of their falling sales and weakened collateral, and growing risk aversion among lenders. Those days are not over. While lingering cyclical factors from the crisis may still be constraining access to bank credit, there are also structural barriers that seem to be preventing banks, both large and small, from ever fully returning to the small business market.

Positive and Normative Judgments Implicit in US Tax Policy and the Costs of Unequal Growth and Recessions

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Positive and Normative Judgments Implicit in US Tax Policy and the Costs of Unequal Growth and Recessions
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

We use official data and standard optimal tax conditions to infer the positive and normative judgments implicit in U.S. tax policy since 1979. We find that explanations within this framework for the time path of U.S. policy require central parameters of the model, namely the elasticity of taxable income or the marginal social welfare weights on top earners, to take unconventional values. We use inferred social preferences to provide novel estimates of the welfare costs of unequal growth and recessions and find that they are sensitive to the assumed distortionary costs of taxation and the year from which preferences are derived. We explore several possible explanations for our findings with available data.

Unhappy Cities

July 15, 2014 Comments off

Unhappy Cities (PDF)
Source: Harvard University (Glaeser et al)

There are persistent differences in self-reported subjective well-being across U.S. metropolitan areas, and residents of declining cities appear less happy than other Americans. Newer residents of these cities appear to be as unhappy as longer term residents, and yet some people continue to move to these areas. While the historical data on happiness are limited, the available facts suggest that cities that are now declining were also unhappy in their more prosperous past. One interpretation of these facts is that individuals do not aim to maximize self-reported well-being, or happiness, as measured in surveys, and they willingly endure less happiness in exchange for higher incomes or lower housing costs. In this view, subjective well-being is better viewed as one of many arguments of the utility function, rather than the utility function itself, and individuals make trade-offs among competing objectives, including but not limited to happiness.

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