Top of Mind

The ever-present interplay between energy, economy, and politics has recently gotten particularly tangled in several places around the world.

The Fukushima disaster has rippled far beyond Japan, with nuclear power falling off significantly around the world. Clean Technica reproduces some telling charts from the World Nuclear Industry status report that show renewables gaining as nuclear power fades in the European Union.  

Gas-powered electricity generation is growing even faster than renewables in the EU, a trend that factors into the faceoff with Russia over Ukraine. Econmonitor wonders if Russia, which gets 70% of its export revenue from oil and gas, might be overplaying its hand by repeatedly using gas shutoffs or price increases as leverage.

The odds on Russia's gamble may be altered further by the liquefied natural gas producers, in the U.S. and elsewhere, that are working to be the next supplier for Europe, according to the New York Times.

2:58 PM - 22 Apr 14
Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak — Rainfall insurance can help a farmer survive a drought year and ultimately increase prosperity in rural areas. So why aren’t more using it? Many people in developing countries rely on informal insurance, such as a family network, rather than formal insurance. Yale SOM professor Mushfiq Mobarak’s research has tested the effects of formal insurance for farmers in India and elucidated how the two systems interact. Read More
Eugene Podkaminer — Asset classes have long been the building blocks of investment portfolios, but when apparently uncorrelated investments moved in sync during the financial crisis, it raised fundamental questions about whether diversified portfolios actually were diversified. Eugene Podkaminer ’01, vice president of capital markets research at Callan Associates, discusses whether there is a better way to understand the deep forces driving these results. Read More
James Gorman — Any financial institution that is going to last for decades will have to survive a crisis or two—most likely by adapting and innovating, perhaps by leaving behind chunks of its old identity. Yale Insights spoke with James Gorman, chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley, one of two major investment banks to survive the 2008 financial crisis, about how the firm has managed to refashion itself and prepare for the future. View Video
Amandine Ody-Brasier — Organizations that don’t conform to the norms of their market category are penalized with higher prices, according to new research co-authored by Professor Amandine Ody-Brasier. Read More
Clive Meanwell — As patents on the blockbuster drugs of the 1990s expire, the pharmaceutical industry is facing—not for the first time—questions about the sustainability of its economic model. Clive Meanwell, CEO of The Medicines Company, says that the industry can help patients and make money by changing the nature of its relationship to the healthcare system. Read More
David Belmont — Hedge funds are risky. But getting beyond that bromide and evaluating the prospects of a particular fund means understanding everything from internal operations to investors’ incentives to counterparty and market conditions. David Belmont ’92, chief risk officer of Commonfund, gives a tour of the inner workings of hedge fund risk. View Video
Chuck Slaughter — Social enterprises, ventures that seek to address significant societal problems while also achieving financial sustainability, have become a bigger part of the business world. Chuck Slaughter ’90, founder of Living Goods, discusses what it will take for the field to produce a breakout star. View Video
George E. Newman — The degree of physical contact that a celebrity has with a piece of memorabilia affects how much collectors are willing to pay for it at auction, according to a study co-authored by Professor George Newman. Read More
Sass Darwish — Sky-high valuations of tech companies and the return of the IPO has an old debate raging again. Is a bubble brewing? Or is this time really different? Sasson Darwish ’94, managing partner at DS Advisory Group, talks with Yale Insights about IPOs, innovation, and the business models for today’s tech companies. View Video