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Faculty Viewpoints

Faculty Viewpoints

Columbia Ideas at Work showcases recent business research with an online magazine, provides research briefs which highlight main findings of research papers, and has a searchable archive of faculty publications and viewpoints. Papers featuring social enterprise topics and faculty include:

Sharing Central

Professor Emily Breza discusses how connectivity in local social networks improves cooperation.

Planetary Economics

Professor Geoffrey Heal argues global economic growth and sustainability can -- and should -- go hand in hand.

No News is Good News

When it comes to social responsibility, writes Professor Stephen Meier, being too bad or too good can bring harmful headlines.

Teaching Beyond the Test

Professor Jonah Rockoff discusses how a good teacher's influence can affect student test scores and long-term success in life.

Can a Kinder, Gentler Company Earn a Bigger Bottom Line?

Corporate social responsibility, says Professor Ray Fisman, can help companies earn consumers' trust, and perhaps even higher profits.

Undersavers Anonymous

Professor Stephen Meier investigates how a simple text message can prompt the poor to double their savings.

Taking Attendance with Teachers

Professor Jonah Rockoff discusses how much teacher absences hurt student achievement.

We Are What We Learn

Professor Ray Fisman discusses the influence educators can have on values, and the ethical responsibility that role confers — especially at business schools.

Are Macro Changes in Store for Microlending?

Professor Suresh Sundaresan explores how new financial tools and technologies are poised to change the way microfinance is practiced.

The Nonprofit MBA

The nonprofit sector is always hit particularly hard during recessions. That, Ray Horton says, gives MBAs and today's nonprofits more to offer each other than ever.

Making the Grade with Mentoring

Jonah Rockoff examines data from New York City's public schools to assess whether mentor programs — increasingly used in the private as well as the public sector — reduce employee turnover and improve productivity.

The ROI of CSR

Professor Geoffrey Heal discusses his book When Principles Pay, in which he considers how a firm's environmental and social performance affect its competitiveness and financial performance.

Insuring against global warming

Professor Geoffrey Heal explores how much countries should spend to avoid the uncertain risk of climate change, and how this uncertainty should factor into government decisions on prevention measures.

Greener Products through Rivalry

Professors Terry Taylor at Columbia and Erica Plambeck at Stanford, examine a new approach and explore when testing competitors’ products results in greener products — and a better bottom line.

A global look at environmental disclosures

Do laws or the marketplace motivate firms to release information about their behavior? Professor Bjorn Jorgensen at Columbia, working with Naomi Soderstrom at Colorado, determine what kinds of firms disclose information about their environmental performance.

Making globalization fair

In discussing the politics of globalization, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a prominent critic of globalization's shortcomings and author of Making Globalization Work, offers practical ideas for extending its benefits.

Gauging corruption's impact

Corruption — a major barrier to growth and development in poor countries — is difficult to define and even more difficult to measure. Professor Ray Fisman examines how creative research methods are shedding new light on its effects. Also see his new book: Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence and the Poverty of Nations, and his presentation on (video).

Small loans on a large scale

Is microfinance the key to ending poverty in the developing world? Professor Suresh Sundaresan and PhD student Sam Cheung examine the issues facing both lenders and borrowers in the microfinance market.

Lending to the poor

How can credit markets in developed countries help low-income families break the cycle of poverty? Professor Patrick Bolton discusses a book edited with Howard Rosenthal that came out of a conference on credit markets for the poor in developed countries.

How Can Rich Countries Best Promote Economic Development in the World's Poorest Nations?

Paul Tierney, chairman of TechnoServe, an organization that provides technical assistance to entrepreneurs in developing countries, explains what works and what doesn't.

Behind the small-package success story

Their popularity with low-income buyers at the "bottom of the pyramid" may not be the only reason single-serve packages sell so well. Professors Rajeev Kohli and Oded Koenigsberg and PhD student Ricardo Montoya examine consumer income levels and motivations for single-serve purchases.

Fixing public schools

Does teacher certification affect student performance? Professor Jonah Rockoff looks at the performance of public school teachers in New York City.

When giving is cheap

A game reveals what lies beneath our most charitable impulse. Professor Ray Fisman studied individuals’ giving preferences with Shachar Kariv of UC Berkeley and Daniel Markovits of Yale.

Reassessing Robert Moses and his vision for New York

Professor Ray Horton, who was for 15 years president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonprofit organization that promotes good government in New York City and New York State, discusses the recent nostalgia for the master builder.

Ownership Versus Environment: Why Are Public Sector Firms Inefficient?

Privatization is not the only way to improve the performance of public-sector enterprises. A study of Indonesian firms, by Professors Ann Bartel of Columbia and Ann Harrison of UC Berkeley, shows that less drastic changes can lead to similar gains in productivity.

Rewarding efficient commuters, easing traffic congestion

How municipal governments can use incentive programs to create a shorter commute and improve welfare for all. Professor Nicolás Stier, whose research focuses on network design, looks at incentives, such as subsidies or discounts for public transportation.

A Combinational Auction Improves School Meals in Chile

Professor Gabriel Weintraub et al. look at the auction models used to assign catering contracts for school lunches in Chile.


Our Faculty are also featured in a variety of national publications.


How China Will Save the Planet

Professor Bruce Usher examines China's potential to drive the price down for alternative energy, making it more affordable.

In a Networked World, No Longer Controlling Our Own Destinies

Professor Geoffrey Heal, along with Howard Kunreuther of the Wharton School, discusses independent security in today's interconnected world.

On Global Warming, Start Small

Professor Bruce Usher argues that a bottom-up strategy will be most effective in tackling global climate change — the most complicated and challenging problem mankind has ever faced.

Moving Mountains in New York City: Joel Klein's Legacy by the Numbers

Professors James Liebman and Jonah Rockoff review data of student outcomes in schools, following the end of Joel Klein's term as New York City's school chancellor.

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