Economic Environment & Public Affairs

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  1. Halo Top Ice Cream & Behavioral Economics AH1-003-I

    How do you go about making difficult decisions and what are the key psychological shortcuts and biases that may impair your rationality? This case uses the real-life example of the successful launch of Halo Top’s ice cream brand in the United States as the basis to construct a psychological review of the decision-making process of the company founder, advisers and consumers, helping to identify and illustrate some of the most common principles, heuristics and biases of Behavioral Economics. To do so, the case puts students in young entrepreneur Justin Woolverton’s shoes when he has to decide whether to launch the brand or keep his job as a lawyer, and then goes beyond to review the marketing process and consumer insights that are normally present in product introductions and promotions.

    Should Justin quit his highly lucrative day job as a lawyer and pursue his ice-cream making dreams? And, if he were to decide to launch his brand, what are the psychological biases and mind-traps that he would have to avoid (when making his decisions) or factor in (when considering those of his potential consumers)?

    Academic Area:
    Organisational Behaviour | Economic Environment & Public Affairs | Others
  2. QE Liquidity in search of profitability: the dilemma … EC1-135-I

    This case seeks two purposes. First, illustrating the relevance of the economic environment for determining business profitability. Second, putting in practice students acquired macroeconomic analytical skills by using them to support a real life financial investment decision. The students are asked to endorse one of two options, US or Brazil, for the launching of a new investment fund by FTInvest, a financial investment company. The recommendation is made by students acting as members of the Economic Research Department of the company. Therefore, it should be based on the country identified by them as providing the most favorable economic environment for the profitability of the investment in the medium/long run. The decision takes place in the second half of 2011, at a time when the US economy showed a hesitant recovery after the Great Global Recession of 2008 and when the Brazilian economy was booming after a very short blip. It was also at a time when, due to ultra-loose US monetary policy, interest rates and yields were at historical lows in the US while they were relatively high in Brazil.

    Academic Area:
    Economic Environment & Public Affairs | Finance
  3. A Rose by any other name? Socially conscious investm … EC1-133-I

    Private enterprise often financed by foreign capital is the most direct and lasting route to economic development and poverty reduction for countries at the bottom of the pyramid. However those investments and economic development itself also have potentially large negative effects on society and the natural environment which may or may not outweight their benefits. If an outside investor is seeking to be socially responsible while setting in motion the dynamics of development that would alleviate poverty how should it juggle these issues? This case presents the situation of a socially conscious private investment firm which is deciding whether to invest in a rose farm in Ethiopia.

    Academic Area:
    Economic Environment & Public Affairs
  4. Providing quality health care under budget constrain … EC1-131-I

    Minister of Health Vicent Cremades finds himself faced with the daunting task of meeting rising health care needs with reduced funding from the government in Spain’s coastal autonomous community of Valencia. With a population of over five million with 17.5% aged over 65, hospitals were already at capacity and in need of improvements. Forced to find solutions, Cremades considers the private sector as a solution to provide part or all of the health care services needed. In this case, students will look into PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships) as a potential solution to this dilemma and decide which model would best suit the particular needs of the Valencian people.

    Academic Area:
    Economic Environment & Public Affairs
  5. The Logistics of the Roman Grain Trade: Details and … AH1-002-I

    Goes over the logistics of the Roman grain trade in a language that is accessible to the non-specialist. It explains how grain was transported across the Roman Empire and covers the challenges of doing this. It also explains who the key people were who played a role in the grain trade and how it was financed. It is intended to uncover many of the managerial difficulties implied in such a task back then and what it means for management nowadays.

    Academic Area:
    Organisational Behaviour | Economic Environment & Public Affairs | Operations & Supply Chain Management | Others
  6. African Parks: An NGO in action saving Africa´s wild … EC1-127-I

    This case focuses on one of the thorniest problems of the 21st century, which is how to save wilderness and ecosystems at a time when the countries where they are concentrated in are immersed in a rapid development process and resource hunger around the world is stronger than ever. The NGO that is analyzed in the case, a South African-based NGO called African Parks, has developed an innovative approach to preserving natural spaces and species that combines private, charitable finance and efficient private management with local government cooperation. African Parks now spans seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa and sees its task as preserving the iconic ecosystems of the continent from destruction. The case poses critical questions about: how to solve the “tragedy of the commons” while promoting local development; how private managers can address social issues, especially through the PPP (Public-Private Partnership) formula; and how the unique traits of NGOs make them ideal partners to tackle problems that the free market does not easily solve, in cooperation with governments and the private sector.

    Academic Area:
    Economic Environment & Public Affairs
  7. Case Study: Cost Theory and Market Structures EC1-137-I

    This case presents students with exercises to put into practice economic concepts such as market structures, elasticity, supply and demand curves. Students are asked to calculate cost and revenues values, and then use these values to construct market structure models. It is a useful case to use in introductory economics courses because of its practical nature. 

    Academic Area:
    Economic Environment & Public Affairs
  8. Japan 2010: The lost years EC1-122-I

    This case takes a look at the events that led up to the bursting of Japan’s stock-market bubble in 2010. It begins by describing the economic situation in Japan in the 1980s at the start of the crisis, delving into the appreciation of the yen, loss of competitiveness, low interest rates, the over-valuation of the stock market leading to inflation and the upward trend in the unemployment rate. It emphasizes that there were twenty years of poor political leadership where the political party changed frequently. The case outlines the government in Japan during the nineties and includes a detailed description of how each prime minister’s actions affected the economy. Then in 2001, seeking economic recovery, Koizumi’s government launched a comprehensive plan of reforms based on solving the problem of bad debts, establishing a stable financial system and defining seven programs of structural reform. When Koizumi left office, the economic situation was unstable and between 2006 and 2009, up to three different prime ministers occupied the post. Between 2007 and 2009, stimulus packages implemented by the government caused public debt as a percentage of Japan’s GDP to increase nearly 55 percent. This led the Bank of Japan to take emergency measures. In 2009, Hatoyama came into power, ending the Koizumi era. The government then had their chance to put an end to the “lost years.”

    Academic Area:
    Economic Environment & Public Affairs
  9. Production costs, revenues and profits in perfect co … EC1-136-I

    The objective of this short case is to familiarize students with what it is like to do business at the base of the pyramid; and to use a practical situation to review the concepts of fixed and variable costs, implicit and explicit costs, and accounting profit vs economic profit. Students are also asked to reflect on the implications of operating in a perfectly competitive market, and to offer suggestions from market structure theory for a firm like the one described here, that would enable it to break out of its inevitable zero-profit equilibrium and move toward economic profits in the long run.

    Academic Area:
    Economic Environment & Public Affairs
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