Institute for Business in the Global Context

Where the World of Business Meets the World

Bhaskar Chakravorti for Brookings – “Beware the Trump Effect”

Beware the Trump Effect

This is a tale of two septuagenarians; I hope they never meet. One is the country of India as an independent democratic nation. The other is the American president, a reminder that independent democracy provides no guarantee for its product. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Washington DC, he extended an invitation to the Trump parivaar to visit India. Ivanka Trump accepted right away and recently the details of her visit have been re-confirmed by the official medium of this White House — over a tweet. While Ivanka’s appearance would be harmless enough, it would be best if Daddy chooses to stay away.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti at Brookings

When can we stop using cash?
by Kai Ryssdal & Maria Hollenhorst

Here’s a question: How much cash is in your wallet right now? If you answered not a whole lot, that’s not very surprising. It’s getting ever easier to operate in this economy without carrying cash. You tip your Lyft driver on your phone, you pay your dinner bill with a credit card and you Venmo your friends to split the check. Consider then, the future of cash. Bhaskar Charkravorti, the senior associate dean of international business and finance at The Fletcher School at Tufts, has done a number of studies on the subject, including the “Cost of Cash.”  Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke to him about the future of bills and coins in this changing world. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Listen to the interview with Dean Chakravorti on Marketplace

Cash is falling out of fashion – will it disappear forever?

Cash is being displaced in so many ways that it’s hard to keep track. There are credit cards and electronic payments; apps such as Venmo, PayPal and Square Cash; mobile payments services; cryptocurrencies that operate outside the purview of central banks; and localized offerings such as Kenya’s mPesa, India’s Paytm and Bangladesh’s bKash. These innovations are encouraging cashlessness across communities worldwide.

It’s reasonable to expect cash to follow the path of other goods that have been replaced by digital alternatives, such as photos, music and movies. Will cash – and the ATMs that dispense it – experience a “Blockbuster” moment and disappear from our neighborhoods?

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Conversation

If Trump, Modi Talk Climate

All this makes for an awkward prelude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington — a pity, since the two headstrong heads of state have a lot in common. Diplomacy may demand that the climate kerfuffle be kept off the agenda. In the unlikely event that it does come up, though, here is a cheat sheet for the PM.

Read the full piece from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

Domestic Regulatory Traditions & CSR: Prof. Knudsen featured in Global Policy Journal

From time to time we like to feature some of the outstanding work of The Fletcher School’s business faculty. Today we look at a new article from Jette Steen Knudsen, Associate Professor of International Business and The Shelby Cullom Davis Chair in International Business.


A Global Policy special issue on public and private protections of labor and social standards in the global economy explores whether public and private regulations of such standards develop in harmony or tension with one another. Included in this issue was a piece researched and written by Prof. Jette Steen Knudsen titled, “How Do Domestic Regulatory Traditions Shape CSR in Large International US and UK Firms?”

Read the abstract below and follow the link to learn more:

This article examines corporate social responsibility (CSR) pertaining to labor standards in apparel and tax transparency in extractives and explores how domestic regulatory traditions shape CSR in large international US and UK firms. Reflecting their more collaborative business-government traditions, British firms are more willing to join international CSR multi-stakeholder initiatives with business-critical actors such as unions and civil society actors. The US has a more top-down regulatory approach, which promotes hard law international CSR or encourages business-driven voluntary CSR initiatives. This article makes three contributions. First, it argues that while corporations are the key actors in international CSR, their behavior reflects their respective national business systems. Second, focusing on a range of international CSR initiatives, this article finds that UK firms are more interested in adopting international (multi-stakeholder) CSR initiatives than US firms. Finally, the article shows that the US and the UK governments play a key role in driving an international CSR agenda, and in doing this it highlights government agency more so than other research has.

Learn more and read the full article from Prof. Knudsen

Growing the digital economy

The creation of the innovation hub will be a critical component in the drive to boost the Philippines’ ranking in the Digital Evolution Index (DEI), which ranks countries in terms of their readiness for the quickly expanding digital economy. The Philippines is one of the so-called “break-out” nations in the recent global DEI study conducted by the US-based Fletcher School at Tufts University, using data from 2008 to 2013. The country stands alongside China, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam as one of the “rapidly advancing countries” in the global digital topography.

Read the full article in Speed Magazine

Student Research: Engaging the Market: Investor Relations in Mainland China

As the calendar turns summer and another class leaves Fletcher, we reflect on some of the fascinating research we’ve supported from students in the past. In this post, we revisit MIB ’16 graduate Nathan Holdstein’s research on investor relations for companies in Mainland China.


For firms at various stages of development, listing shares on a major international stock exchange is the penultimate measurement for establishing oneself as a “successful” business. This is especially true of firms based in Mainland China. In many cases, firms choose to list shares outside of the country, mostly in Hong Kong and the United States, either as a primary listing or to supplement existing listings on local bourses. Those that do so can face intense scrutiny from market regulators, investors, media, and the general public. What can they do to better demonstrate the value they will bring to shareholders in international markets?

The author interviewing Prof. Zhigang Tao, Hong Kong University

My capstone looks at the investor relations component, and why Chinese companies should more actively engage key market players to better show their value. I am hypothesizing that companies doing so have larger percentages of institutional shareholders, which will reduce volatility and push the price up over the long-term. This occurs in large part because those firms that are successful will provide the market with a steady stream of reports, forward guidance, and general news updates to give analysts and stakeholders a better understanding of what the company’s value is.

With support from the Institute for Business in the Global Context, I traveled to the Special Administrative Region in Hong Kong to meet experts and practitioners of investor relations and finance there. Given its proximity to the Mainland and relatively market oriented monetary regulation & capital controls, it is no surprise that a number of Chinese companies choose to go public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. I wanted to get a better understanding of what it takes to have a successful listing in Hong Kong, in which the share price remains relatively stable and increases in value.

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Planet Money: On Why India Made Most Of Its Money Worthless

India’s prime minister recently decided to make almost all of the cash in his country worthless. He said it was meant to stop corruption. It turns out, that idea came from a very surprising source.

“In many ways, people in India are actually quite comfortable, you know, going back and forth between science and spirituality. The lines are sometimes quite blurred.”

Listen to the full NPR piece, including comments from Dean Chakravorti

Evaluating India’s Radical Experiment In Eliminating High-Value Currency

Economist Bhaskar Chakravorti says even after all the drama, almost all of the cash in circulation in India made its way back into the banking system.

BHASKAR CHAKRAVORTI: Not all of that was legal cash. It just happened to be the case that India has – is extremely innovative in getting it on constraints.

STACEY VANEK SMITH: But the public loved it. Modi’s approval rating has continued to climb. It’s just amazing to me that people aren’t angry about this. Like, why do you think that people are supportive of this move?

CHAKRAVORTI: Because populism is a strange thing, right?

Listen to the full piece at NPR

The Art of Curry Diplomacy

Infosys’ curry diplomacy was, no doubt, inspired by Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” order and his threat to revise the H-1B visa programme. I am not convinced that extravagant job-creation programmes in the US are the best use of Infosys’ increasingly scarce resources. While the Bengaluru-based IT giant may know how to mix its spices, to “curry favour” is a phrase that, oddly enough, has little to do with treating someone to a mean curry. Its obscure origins are in the grooming of horses: “To curry” is “to brush”. By spending resources on creating thousands of tech jobs in a country where the administration is gutting resources for science and technology programmes in an industry rapidly being automated, it seems Infosys is bringing the wrong curry and backing the wrong horse.

Read the full op-ed from Dean Chakravorti in The Indian Express

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