Publications

Mary O'Sullivan

  • Book Series | February 2001
    Edited by William Lazonick and Mary O’Sullivan
    Corporate Governance and Sustainable Prosperity

    How can we explain the persistent worsening of the income distribution in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s? What are the prospects for the reemergence of sustainable prosperity in the American economy over the next generation? In addressing these issues, this book focuses on the microeconomics of corporate investment behavior, especially as reflected in investments in integrated skill bases, and the macroeconomics of household saving behavior, especially as reflected in the growing problem of intergenerational dependence of retirees on employees. Specifically, the book analyzes how the combines pressures of excessive corporate growth, international competition, and intergenerational dependence have influenced corporate investment behavior over the past two decades. Part One sets out a perspective on how corporate investment in skill bases can support sustainable prosperity. Part Two presents studies of investments in skill bases in the machine tool, aircraft engine, and medical equipment industries. Part Three provides a comparative and historical analysis of corporate governance and sustainable prosperity in the United States, Japan, and Germany. By integrating a theory of innovative enterprise with in-depth empirical analyses of industrial development and international competition, Corporate Governance and Sustainable Prosperity explores the relation between changes in corporate resource allocation and the persistence of income inequality in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s. Contributors to the volume include Beth Almeida, Robert Forrant, Michael Handel, William Lazonick, Philip Moss, Mary O’Sullivan, and Chris Tully. Editors Lazonick and O’Sullivan are Levy Institute research associates, as is contributor Handel.

  • Public Policy Brief No. 49 | December 1998
    Productive and Financial Challenges

    The postwar system of corporate governance in Germany is being threatened by the failure of some industries to maintain their competitive position (with resulting significant job losses) and pressures for financial liquidity driven by those who have accumulated substantial financial holdings, institutions competing for control of those holdings, and those concerned about the funding of the pension system. The strength of the competitors (mainly the Japanese) lies not in cost differences, but in their capabilities, based on financial commitment and organizational integration, to innovate and thereby to build the long-run future of the corporation. If German labor, finance, and corporate managers each insist on pursuing independent strategies to extract returns from industrial enterprises and if corporations replace investment in innovation with shareholder value as the basis for corporate decision making, German industry may be unable to regenerate the basis of sustainable prosperity.

  • Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 49A | December 1998
    Productive and Financial Challenges
    The postwar system of corporate governance in Germany is being threatened by the failure of some industries to maintain their competitive position (with resulting significant job losses) and pressures for financial liquidity driven by those who have accumulated substantial financial holdings, institutions competing for control of those holdings, and those concerned about the funding of the pension system. The strength of the competitors (mainly the Japanese) lies not in cost differences, but in their capabilities, based on financial commitment and organizational integration, to innovate and thereby to build the long-run future of the corporation. If German labor, finance, and corporate managers each insist on pursuing independent strategies to extract returns from industrial enterprises and if corporations replace investment in innovation with shareholder value as the basis for corporate decision making, German industry may be unable to regenerate the basis of sustainable prosperity.

  • Working Paper No. 226 | February 1998

    Research Associate Mary O'Sullivan, of INSEAD and the Center for Industrial Competitiveness at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell, is investigating systems of corporate governance to find which lead to successful decisions for individual firms and for an economy as a whole. She believes that success requires a form of corporate governance that generates conditions that permit cumulative and collective learning, provides financial commitment to innovative investment, and integrates human and physical resources in the development and use of technology. She warns that because both the real and financial sectors are in a continual process of change, a successful system of governance cannot be determined in the abstract. Strategies that work at one time may not work at another. In her examination of corporate governance in Germany, she therefore makes a detailed study of postwar German economic history. According to O'Sullivan, financial commitment to innovative investment in

  • Public Policy Brief No. 37 | December 1997
    Corporate Governance and Employment: Is Prosperity Sustainable in the United States?

    Since the 1970s corporate America has become obsessed with shedding employees to cut costs and with distributing revenue to stockholders. However, the way for it to regain its competitive edge and thus to restore the promise of secure and remunerative employment for its workers is to reform its system of governance. It must reject organizational segmentation and extraction of short-term returns and instead emphasize organizational integration and long-term value creation through financial commitment to investment in the collective and cumulative learning that is the foundation of industrial innovation.

  • Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 37A | December 1997
    Corporate Governance and Employment: Is Prosperity Sustainable in the United States?
    Since the 1970s corporate America has become obsessed with shedding employees to cut costs and with distributing revenue to stockholders. However, the way for it to regain its competitive edge and thus to restore the promise of secure and remunerative employment for its workers is to reform its system of governance. It must reject organizational segmentation and extraction of short-term returns and instead emphasize organizational integration and long-term value creation through financial commitment to investment in the collective and cumulative learning that is the foundation of industrial innovation.

  • Working Paper No. 183 | January 1997
    Is Prosperity Sustainable in the United States?

    Unless American corporations change their structure of governance, it is unlikely that many will remain prosperous in this age of global competition, argue Research Associates William H. Lazonick and Mary O'Sullivan. US companies are not being hurt by low-wage competition but by their failure to invest in the organizational learning required to remain competitive. US corporate managers have become increasingly concerned with providing returns to stockholders, while their foreign competitors, especially the Japanese, invest in innovative thinking in order to provide higher-quality products at lower prices. If US corporations are to remain competitive, the authors say, they must invest in organizational learning—the acquisition by members of the corporation of the knowledge to solve problems collectively. The goal of all should be improving the business as a whole.

Publication Highlight

Public Policy Brief No. 153
Multidimensional Inequality and COVID-19 in Brazil
Author(s): Luiza Nassif Pires, Laura Carvalho, Eduardo Rawet
September 2020

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