Institute for Business in the Global Context

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International Corporate Social Responsibility: What Role for Governments?
UCL Global Governance Institute Keynote Lecture with Jette Steen Knudsen

In February 2018, Jette Steen Knudsen, Professor of Policy and International Business at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, called for a more systematic analysis of the various ways in which government policies interact with CSR initiatives as part of her recent keynote lecture at University College London’s Global Governance Institute. You can watch the full lecture above or on the UCL website.

Read a recap of Prof. Knudsen’s talk

William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs Michael W. Klein sits down with James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, to discuss Econofact, the non-partisan publication co-founded by Klein and colleague, Prof. Edward Schumacher-Matos. Econofact, launched in January 2017, now boasts a network of over 70 contributing economists and is designed to bring key facts and incisive analysis to the national debate on economic and social policies.

Fletcher Faculty Features: Jette Steen Knudsen – “Visible Hands: Government Regulation and International Business Responsibility”

From time to time we like to feature the recent work of a number of our esteemed business faculty here at The Fletcher School. The series continues with Jette Steen Knudsen, Professor of Policy & International Business and Shelby Cullom Davis Chair in Sustainability at The Fletcher School.


The latest work from Professor of Policy & International Business and Shelby Cullom Davis Chair in Sustainability, Jette Steen Knudsen, examines the changing relationship between the regulator environment across the globe and the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives of multinational corporations. Learn more:

https://target.scene7.com/is/image/Target/53000053?wid=520&hei=520&fmt=pjpegVisible Hands:  Government Regulation and International Business Responsibility
by Jette Steen Knudsen & Jeremy Moon

A growing number of states are regulating the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of domestic multinational corporations relating to overseas subsidiaries and suppliers. In this book, Jette Steen Knudsen and Jeremy Moon offer a new framework for analysing government–CSR relations: direct and indirect policies for CSR. Arguing that existing research on CSR regulation fails to address the growing role of the state in shaping the international practices of multinational corporations, the authors provide insight into the CSR issues that are addressed by government policies. Drawing on case studies, they analyse three key examples of CSR: non-financial reporting, ethical trade and tax transparency in extractive industries. In doing so, they propose a new research agenda of government and CSR that is relevant to scholars and graduate students in CSR, sustainability, political economy and economic sociology, as well as policymakers and consultants in international development and trade.

Learn more about this exciting new work from Prof. Knudsen

Real Leaders Negotiate: Fletcher Professor Jes Salacuse Discusses New Book at Ginn Library

The Fletcher School is no stranger to literature involving leadership and negotiation. As professor and former Fletcher dean Jeswald Salacuse noticed, however, these two genres often fail to address one another. Rather, leadership and negotiation are often treated as subjects unto themselves: matters of vision and drive on the one hand, and agreements and alternatives on the other.

Drawing on his experience in academic and private-sector leadership, Salacuse came to the following conclusion: “To lead is to negotiate.” Contrary to popular opinion, leadership is not simply a matter of developing a vision and then cracking the whip. The act of leadership certainly involves vision and execution, but the journey of leadership fundamentally involves negotiation at every stage, he said.

Salacuse traces that journey in a new book, Real Leaders Negotiate!: Gaining, Using, and Keeping the Power to Lead Through Negotiation (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017), which he presented to the Fletcher community in a book talk sponsored by Ginn Library on Nov. 1. Building on his insights, Salacuse’s book unites leadership and negotiation literature and distills from them frameworks, strategies and tactics for negotiating the journey of leadership.

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An Alternative to ‘Alternative Facts’: Prof. Klein, Murrow Center Launch EconoFact

Facts, as John Adams once said, are stubborn things. Even in what seems like a “post-truth” world, or especially then, they matter.

In an era when political polarization drives the perception of truth and falsehoods are spun as “alternative facts,” Fletcher School professor and renowned economist Michael Klein wanted to provide, well, an alternative. That’s how he, along with Fletcher’s Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World,  came to create  EconoFact, a non-partisan publication presenting the facts behind national debates on economic and social policies, delivered with analysis from a network of 30 top academic economists. The website, launched on January 22, provides analysis from both sides of the aisle, written in the form of short, accessible, jargon-free memos, aiming to put the cart back in its proper place behind the horse — you get facts before being overwhelmed with contentious opinions.

“We want to emphasize that you can choose your own opinions, but you cannot choose your own facts,” Klein wrote in an article for The Hill announcing the launch of EconoFact.

Some of the first pieces published — written by Klein, fellow Fletcher School professor Joel Trachtman, and other economists from leading universities such as Harvard and Georgetown — focus on the proposed border wall, currency manipulation, the trade deficit, and US manufacturing. Forthcoming memos will look at economic growth, financial regulation, corruption, immigration, and more.

The project’s network has been expanding since Klein began assembling it in the weeks following the 2016 Election, as more and more economists are alarmed by how the angry divisions between Republicans and Democrats, globalists and nationalists, and the many groups in between that threaten to undermine rational policy-making. EconoFact also has the enthusiastic support of the Murrow Center at Fletcher. The Center’s Director, former journalist and Fletcher professor Edward Schumacher-Matos, serves as Executive Editor alongside Klein.

“The emotions and distrust are such today that many of us often find ourselves sticking to our instinctual biases, ignoring the data,” Schumacher-Matos said. “But Americans are overwhelmingly people of goodwill, and want to have a rational debate.”

The memos are meant for policymakers, journalists, commentators, and, most importantly, citizens seeking to become better informed.

By grounding the debate in the facts, EconoFact hopes to let truth lay the groundwork and allow opinions and recommendations rise from there. To emphasize the explanatory nature of EconoFact, posts follow a memo format, with the first two sections presenting the issue and relevant facts, often accompanied by charts or graphics. Only at the end of each post does the economist draw a conclusion or make a policy recommendation. The facts help inform the beliefs, rather than beliefs forming the facts.

“We need a well-informed electorate to demand reasonable policies and to hold accountable those who put in place policies that fail,” Klein wrote. “[And] we believe that … the American public too will want to become more informed as events unfold.”

Read more at EconoFact.org

Fletcher Voices: On Brexit

With the United Kingdom greeting its referendum on the European Union with a resounding “Leave,” the sheer weight of the “Brexit” was felt at 10 Downing Street and on Wall Street, with shock waves quickly reverberating far beyond. From world markets to international security, geopolitics to national elections, uncertainty around the effects of the vote persist. Among many of the questions being asked there sits a single thread:

So what does this really mean?

At The Fletcher School, our faculty has grappled with its impact in a number of spheres. While the search for clarity goes on, looking at Brexit in the context of the world in which we live, and from a variety of viewpoints on campus, can hopefully shed a light on the referendum’s far-reaching implications.  Here’s what some of our faculty members – from those specializing in security studies to business innovation to international law – are saying about the current situation.


Faculty Voices

Dean James Stavridis

“The US must face the fact that the UK will likely be less of an effective and reliable partner in global affairs. The US-UK relationship is about to get somewhat less special, unfortunately.”

UK-US Special Relationship Shaky Following Brexit Vote, Financial Times

The United States and Europe will be confronted with a raft of bad news that goes along with [Brexit]: economic turmoil, a faltering British economy, a deeply weakened political entity in the European Union itself, the high chance of a Scottish departure from the UK, to name just a few of the challenges. The political and economic institutions of the West all seem worse off […].

The sole exception might be the military. Brexit, counter-intuitive as it might sound, will likely produce a stronger NATO.

Europe’s Loss Is NATO’s Gain, Foreign Policy
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10 Questions: Flying Cars, Zombies, and the Great Russian Novel: What Can They Teach Us About Becoming Better Leaders?

Leadership of global organizations involves an understanding of complex phenomena. Sometimes metaphors and cultural references are key to finding parallels, deriving insights, and communicating complicated ideas to a wide audience. Metaphors can be powerful in moving entire organizations to take action with a common vision.

Learn more about how Fletcher faculty tackle complex leadership challenges by making unexpected connections:


As part of our “10 Questions” Series, we delve into hard questions of international business not easily answered by a single book, class, discipline, or school of thought. They herald a future where the world and the world of business are ever more interconnected, where decisions can’t be made in a bubble, where real expertise demands deep ‘contextual intelligence.’ This series reflects that contextual intelligence we cultivate in our students in the MIB program.

Fletcher Faculty Features: Prof. Michael Klein

As part of an ongoing series, we will be featuring the recent work of a number of our esteemed business faculty here at The Fletcher School. The series continues with Michael Klein, the William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs at The Fletcher School.
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Michael Klein worked with a group of 4 others to construct a new dataset on capital controls.  The paper the group wrote, “Capital Control Measures: A New Dataset,” will be published in the IMF Economic Review and presents an updated and extended dataset of capital control restrictions on both inflows and outflows of 10 categories of assets for 100 countries over the period 1995 to 2013. It discusses in detail the construction of the dataset and characterizes the data with respect to the prevalence and correlation of controls across asset categories and between controls on inflows and controls on outflows, the aggregation of the separate categories into broader indicators, and the comparison of this dataset with other indicators of capital controls.

The latest version of the dataset can be downloaded in both Stata and Excel formats

Prof. Klein also worked with Carlos Arteta (the World Bank) and Jay Shambaugh (Council of Economic Advisors) on research that was published in the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects titled, “Exchange Rate Regimes and Capital Controls.” The essay explores the empirical linkages between a country’s choice of currency regimes and of capital flow measures.

In a policy memo for The Atlantic Council, who is now partnering with Fletcher, Prof. Klein and Pavel Vidal wrote about the need for financial development in Cuba as it reforms its economy.  They identify five  main challenges facing Cuba, and outline recommendations for both the Cuban and US governments. The memo is completed and will be published soon.

Additionally, a paper written with Jay Shambaugh on monetary policy, exchange rate policy, and capital controls was published in American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics in October 2015. The paper, “Rounding the Corners of the Policy Trilemma: Sources of Monetary Policy Autonomy,”  considers whether partial capital controls and limited exchange rate flexibility allow for full monetary policy autonomy.

Fletcher Faculty Features: Prof. Joel Trachtman

As part of an ongoing series, we will be featuring the recent work of a number of our esteemed business faculty here at The Fletcher School. The series continues with Joel Trachtman, Professor of International Law at The Fletcher School.
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Joel Trachtman gave a speech on a panel of the ICTSD (International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development) in late January 2016. The speech asked the question,
“How does WTO law restrict national labeling regimes for environmental protection, specifically US dolphin safe tuna labeling standards.” You can watch the full panel discussion online as well as view Prof. Trachtman’s slides.

Professor Trachtman also wrote a pair of working papers in 2015-16, one for the RFF (Resources of the Future) and the other for the European University Institute:

  • “WTO Law Constraints on on Border Tax Adjustment and Tax Credit Mechanisms to Reduce the Competitive Effects of Carbon Taxes.” – If the US imposes carbon taxes, how will WTO law shape the way that the US applies these carbon taxes to imported and exported goods?  Read the paper online
  • “Export Restrictions and the Limits of Textual Interpretation. ” – How did the US use WTO law to persuade China to liberalize exports of rare earth minerals? Read the paper online

In addition, Prof. Trachtman penned a chapter for “The Obsolescence of Customary International Law,”  which features in Curtis Bradley’s (ed.), Custom’s Future (Cambridge University Press, 2016).  The chapter asks, does traditional customary international law work to address major international business, economic, and security problems?

Fletcher Faculty Features: Prof. Jeswald Salacuse

As part of an ongoing series, we will be featuring the recent work of a number of our esteemed business faculty here at The Fletcher School. The series continues with Jeswald W. Salacuse, the Henry J. Braker Professor of Law at The Fletcher School.
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Professor Salacuse at the 2015 GDN Conference

Jeswald W. Salacuse, Henry J. Braker Professor of Law, gave the keynote speech, “The Hidden Persuader – The Role of the Advisor in Negotiations and Group Decision Making,” at the 15th annual Group Decision and Negotiation Conference in Warsaw, Poland, June 23-26, 2015. A revised version of his talk, drawing on his research at the European Union Council of Ministers, is scheduled to appear as an article in the May issue of Group Decision and Negotiation. In his speech, Salacuse explored the roles and methods of advisors involved in negotiations, drawing on his prior research to identify three models of the relationship between the advisor and the negotiator.

Read the abstract of Prof. Salacuse’s speech

Also in June, Oxford University Press published the second edition of his book The Law of Investment Treaties. The first edition, issued in 2010, has been widely cited, including by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2014 case of BG Group plc v. Argentina, in which both the majority opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer and the dissent by Chief Justice John G. Roberts referred to the work in support of their respective positions.

Salacuse, an experienced international arbitrator, was recently appointed President of a tribunal hearing claims of German investors against Spain under the Energy Charter Treaty.

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