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Spring 2008

January 31, 2008

Business & Government Seminar Series
Does Global Business Have a Responsibility to Promote Democracy?

Nien-hê Hsieh, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

How should large-scale multinational enterprises (MNEs), especially those based in liberal democracies, approach operating in countries where citizens lack rights of political participation and representation? In this seminar, Prof. Hsieh argued that there are conditions under which MNEs have a responsibility to promote democratic political institutions in host countries that lack them. This account is offered as a contribution to broader debates about corporate social responsibility and the appropriate role of business in society.


February 14, 2008

Business & Government Seminar Series
High Performance and High Integrity

Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Mr. Heineman discussed his new book on global ethics in transnational companies.

February 15, 2008

New Directions in Regulation Seminar Series
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: Emission Leakage and the Effectiveness of Interstate Border Adjustments

Ian Sue Wing, Assistant Professor, Geography Department, Boston University

Prof. Sue Wing presented results from his study of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Emission Initiative (RGGI), an innovative cap and trade scheme to limit carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generators in ten Northeastern states. He found that RGGI's economic impacts are small, but induce substantial increases in power exports from unconstrained states and result in rates of emission leakage of more than 50%. Small (2-7%) harmonized taxes on electricity within RGGI states can neutralize leakage and increase aggregate abatement without significant adverse effects on income. These results suggest that setting electricity tariffs in conjunction with the emission cap might improve RGGI's environmental performance.



February 21, 2008


Business & Government Seminar Series
Trade Imbalance: The Struggle to Weigh Human Rights Concerns in Trade Policymaking

Susan Aaronson, Associate Research Professor, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

Many people believe that trade agreements, even trade per se, undermine particular human rights such as labor rights or access to affordable medicine. But trade and trade agreements can also advance human rights, directly or indirectly. In fact, some countries use trade policies and agreements to advance specific human rights such as labor rights or property rights. Dr. Aaronson discussed how the U.S. and the EU, and to a lesser extent countries such as South Africa and Brazil, attempt to coordinate trade and human rights objectives, and resolve conflicts. She also discussed how human rights issues are seeping into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and provide suggestions to policymakers to right the trade/human rights imbalance.

February 28, 2008

  Mark Kramer  

Business & Government Seminar Series
Consumer Demand for Labor Standards: Experiments with Ethical Labeling of Imported Products

Michael Hiscox, Professor of Government, Harvard University

A majority of surveyed consumers say they would be willing to pay extra for products made under good working conditions rather than in sweatshops. But as yet there is no clear evidence that enough consumers would actually behave in this fashion, and pay a high enough premium, to make social product labeling profitable for firms. Professor Hiscox provided new evidence on consumer behavior from experiments conducted in a major retail store and on eBay. The results suggest there is a strong latent consumer demand for labor standards that more retailers and producers could satisfy profitably by switching to certified and labeled goods.


March 6, 2008


Business & Government Seminar Series
The Market for Virtue Revisited: The Current and Future State of CSR

David Vogel, Professor, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

Prof. Vogel's 2005 book, The Market for Virtue, concluded that the potential of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to bring about significant change was limited. In this session, Prof. Vogel explored whether developments in private sector self-regulation in the past three years support or challenge that conclusion.



March 10, 2008


New Directions in Regulation Seminar Series
Does Foreign Direct Investment Lead to More Rigorous Environmental Management?

Aseem Prakash, Professor of Political Science, University of Washington, Seattle

Competition to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) creates opportunities for multinational enterprises (MNEs) to diffuse corporate management practices from their countries-of-origin (home countries) to countries hosting their foreign operations. In this seminar, Prof. Prakash examined conditions under which MNEs transfer corporate environmental practices from home countries to host countries with a focus on ISO 14001, the most widely adopted voluntary environmental program in the world.


March 20, 2008

New Directions in Regulation Seminar Series
Global Climate and Global Trade

Jeffrey A. Frankel, James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth, Harvard Kennedy School

Contrary to common belief, globalization need not be the enemy of environmental protection. International institutions are needed to tackle global externalities. A critical example is global climate change, which can only be addressed by international agreement. The Kyoto Protocol is a good first step, but its omissions need to be corrected, particularly the lack of full country participation. Fears regarding competitiveness and leakage will increasingly drive participants to adopt trade penalties against non-participants. Professor Frankel's seminar addressed the issue of border taxes against carbon-intensive imports and whether they would conflict with the WTO, the possibility of other conflicts between the climate regime and the trade regime, and more generally the effect of trade on the environment.


April 8, 2008      

New Directions in Regulation Seminar Series
Let's Get Serious about Climate Change Policy: What's Really Achievable at What Cost?

William A. Pizer, Senior Fellow and Director, Energy and Natural Resources, Resources for the Future

William Pizer's research seeks to quantify how the design of environmental policy affects costs and effectiveness. He applies much of this work to the question of how to design and implement policies to reduce the threat of climate change caused by manmade emissions of greenhouse gases. Currently, he is working on projects that look at the effectiveness of voluntary programs, the role of technology programs in pollution control efforts, and the effect of regulation on competitiveness.


April 17, 2008

New Directions in Regulation Seminar Series
Carbon Tax: The Best Way to Address Global Warming?

Gilbert E. Metcalf, Professor of Economics, Tufts University

A number of bills for carbon cap-and-trade and tax systems have been put forward in Congress. Using MIT's Emissions Prediction and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model, Prof. Metcalf provided an analysis of some of these bills.

April 18, 2008


Business & Government Seminar Series
The Credit Crunch: Why It Happened and What Are the Lessons

Robert Glauber, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

April 22, 2008

Visiting Practitioners Series
The Emerging Congruence of Corporate Fiduciary Duty, Ethical Culture, and Human Rights

John Sherman, Deputy General Counsel at National Grid

Corporate boards have long owed a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to ensure that their companies are run ethically. In response to the string of corporate flameouts starting with Enron, the US Congress sharpened this obligation in 2004 by requiring corporate boards to ensure that their companies had "ethical cultures", without defining the term. Human rights have a powerful claim to prominence in the panoply of values embraced by an ethical culture, due to their universality, their widespread acceptance, and their focus on the most vulnerable. What are the hallmarks of such a culture? What are the practical challenges to such a culture, and how can they be addressed? How have different companies dealt with the subject? John Sherman, Deputy General Counsel at National Grid, discussed how the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights (BLIHR), a group of thirteen multinational corporations devoted to mainstreaming human rights into the business agenda, is trying to answer these questions.



April 29, 2008
6:00 pm
JFK Jr. Forum, Littauer Building, 1st Floor


Worker Protection in Global Value Chains: The Role of Government, Business, and Civil Society

A John F. Kennedy, Jr. Forum Event with

Mary Robinson, President of Ireland, 1990-1997
Richard Freeman, Faculty Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School and Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics, Harvard University
John Ruggie, Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Harvard Kennedy School
Chris Stone, Faculty Director, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Guggenheim Professor of the Practice of Criminal Justice, Harvard Kennedy School
Marty Chen, Lecturer in Public Policy, Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Harvard Kennedy School

Sponsored by:

Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations

Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies
Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government
Institute of Politics

For more information, go to the Institute of Politics events page.

link to Harvard University main website link to John F. Kennedy School of Government website