Top of Mind

The $298 billion California public pension system is getting out of hedge funds “as part of an ongoing effort to reduce complexity and costs in its investment program.” In a Bloomberg View column, Barry Ritholtz points out that many pension funds accepted the high costs of hedge funds in hopes of reliably higher returns, which could cover funding gaps. “The expectation that hedge-fund returns will exceed those of equities is an unsupported fiction,” Ritholtz writes. For the pension funds, “[t]his short-term patch is setting up much bigger shortfalls in the future.”
 
Yale Insights talked with Ranji Nagaswami ’86 about the origins of public pensions crisis and potential solutions.

 

12:48 PM - 17 Sep 14
Joel Klein — The highly visible chancellor of the New York City Public Schools from 2002 to 2011, Joel Klein recently returned to the private sector as the CEO of News Corporation's education division, Amplify. Klein talked with Yale Insights about applying his approach to leadership in a new role. View Video
Matthew Spiegel & Heather E. Tookes — The initial public offering (IPO) market recently saw its busiest week since 2001. A new study by Yale School of Management professors Matthew Spiegel and Heather Tookes reveals how these and other IPOs affect rival firms over time. Read More
Florian Ederer — Somehow ice and cold water have become the social media phenomenon of the summer. Millions of people have shivered and screamed while dumping buckets of ice over their own heads, and a medical charity has tens of millions of dollars raised as a result. Yale Insights spoke with Yale economist Florian Ederer to try to make sense of all of this. Read More
Amy Wrzesniewski — Laboratory experiments have suggested that, counterintuitively, having both an internal motivation for completing a task and an external reward makes performance weaker. A study by Yale SOM’s Amy Wrzesniewski tested this idea in the real world, by examining how the motivations of West Point cadets affected their performance. The results have strong implications for how leaders can get the best performance from their organizations. View Video
Amy Wrzesniewski & Barry Schwartz — What kinds of motives are most conducive to success? In a New York Times op-ed, Professor Amy Wrzesniewski and coauthor Barry Schwartz discuss their research looking at the motives of new West Point cadets and how they relate to success as Army officers. Read More
Carolyn Everson — Will the rising tide of mobile ad spending lift all media-company boats? Or will only the shrewd and the quick be able to capitalize on the trend toward more media consumption on mobile? Facebook’s Carolyn Everson describes how the company has made itself mobile-first. View Video
Nancy Pfund & Daniel Gross & Stuart Patterson & Rosemary Ripley — Green tech investors want to put their money behind firms with the potential to disrupt their industries and bring both positive environmental impacts and financial success. But what’s disruptive is by its nature unprecedented and unpredictable. How do investors assess the potential of a green technology company? Read More
Marian Chertow & Shawn Heath & Rich Kidd & Manuel Gomez Pena — Sustainability leaders often have to interact with a wide range of stakeholders with varied interests and incentives. They need to figure out the best way to engage, communicate, prioritize, and implement—in other words, to persuade. According to a panel of sustainability executives, that can mean sidestepping the language and baggage of sustainability entirely. Read More
Gina Rosselli Boswell — The theoretical possibilities for big data are limitless, but putting so much information to good use requires big thinking. Unilever’s Gina Boswell explains the principles that the global company uses to effectively mine its data troves. View Video
Robert J. Shiller — Recent research, drawing on behavioral economics, suggests that donors make larger contributions to a nonprofit organization when they have a sense of active involvement in the organization's mission. In an op-ed for the New York Times, Professor Robert Shiller suggests that changes to legal and institutional structures could be powerful new tools to increase engagement and giving. Read More
Ranji Nagaswami — Millions of government workers in the U.S. are relying on pension plans for retirement, and yet these plans are underfunded by at least $1 trillion. Asset manager Ranji Nagaswami ’86 argues that addressing this challenge is about more than assets and liabilities—we have to look at how funds are run and, critically, how they think about risk. Read More