Mission: to have an impact on society

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The principle of free inquiry underlies the academic freedom that guides the School’s research. It ensures full scientific and philosophical independence, a precondition to scientific integrity in the School’s eyes.

“Selectivity and Transparency in Social Banking: Evidence from Europe”

Ariane Szafarz

How do social banks signal their social commitment to motivated funders? This paper hypothesizes that two main channels are used, namely selectivity and transparency. We test these predictions using a rich dataset comprising balance-sheet information on 5,000 European banks over the 1998-2013 period. The results suggest that social screening leads social banks to higher project selectivity compared with mainstream banks. Social banks also tend to be more transparent than other banks. However, combining selectivity and transparency can result in excess liquidity. Overall, the empirical findings not only confirm our theoretical hypotheses, but also raise challenging issues on the management of social banks.

S. Cornée, P. Kalmi, A. Szafarz, Selectivity and Transparency in Social Banking: Evidence from Europe. Journal of Economic Issues (2016, 50, pp. 494-502). This article was awarded the 2016 Warren Samuels Prize by the Association for Social Economics, ASSA Meetings, San-Francisco.

“Watchdogs of the Invisible Hands: NGO Monitoring and Industry Equilibrium”

Gani Aldashev

Globalization has been accompanied by rising pressure from advocacy non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on multinational firms to act in a socially responsible manner in developing countries. There are three important empirical puzzles/patterns concerning advocacy NGOs and multinationals that have already been documented: there is a steady general rise of NGO activism; advocacy/ activist NGO pressure leads to exit of firms from the country; and firms in different industries respond in a very different manner to NGO pressure. In this paper, the authors build a theoretical model which explains these three puzzles within a single framework. The main idea of the model is that NGO pressure affects the industry structure (markups and firm entry), but at the same time, the industry structure – which implies how many firms in the industry act in a socially irresponsible manner – affects the NGOs’ incentives to conduct watchdog and pressure activities and campaigns.

G. Aldashev, M. Limardi, Th. Verdier. Watchdogs of the Invisible Hands: NGO Monitoring and Industry Equilibrium. Journal of Development Economics (2015, vol. 116(1), pp. 28-42).

“Economy of Mutuality: Merging Financial and Social Sustainability”

Kevin T. Jackson

The article develops a concept of economy of mutuality as an intellectual mediation space for shifts in emphasis between market and social structures within economic theory and practice. Kevin T. Jackson argues that economy of mutuality provides an alternative frame of reference to the dichotomy of market economy and social economy, for inquiry about what business is for and what values it presupposes and creates.

K.T. Jackson. Economy of Mutuality: Merging Financial and Social Sustainability. Journal of Business Ethics (2016, 133(3), pp. 499-517).

Research on ERS

The School has a number of areas of investigation that are closely related to sustainability and responsibility. Overall, the School’s research on ERS involves:
– a very active research unit on microfinance (CERMI)
– four research chairs relating to ERS: on CSR, Sustainable Development, Corporate Governance, and Multiculturality
– numerous publications on ERS-related issues
– active involvement of core faculty members and researchers in sustainable development associations and interest groups.

Our faculty members and researchers intensively contribute to social and political debates as well as to strategic decision making within the corporate world, contributing new solutions and challenging the status quo.

“A Case Study of Microfinance and Community Development Banks in Brazil: Private or Common Goods?”

Marek Hudon

Inclusive financial sectors are essential to poverty alleviation. While microcredit can be governed as a private good, self-managed civil society organizations propose an alternative way of managing financial services. Brazil’s Community Development Banks (CDBs) are growing and dynamic manifestations of these non-profit organizations. Based on field research in Brazil, this article uses Elinor Ostrom’s design principles of common goods to analyse CDBs’ microcredit system. The results suggest that private goods such as microcredit could be altered when they are governed by community self-managed enterprises. They become hybrid goods as they mix the characteristics of private and common goods. This change is facilitated by specific organizational arrangements such as self-governance that emerge from grassroots dynamics and the creation of collective choice arenas. These arrangements help strengthen the inclusion properties of non-profit microcredit services.

M. Hudon, C. Meyer. A Case Study of Microfinance and Community Development Banks in Brazil: Private or Common Goods. Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (2016, 45(4), pp. 116-133).

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