John Van Reenen

Department of Economics

London School of Economics and Political Science

United Kingdom

John Van Reenen, OBE, is Ronald Coase School Professor at the London School of Economics and a Digital Fellow of Initiative for the Digital Economy at MIT. Until 2020 he was Gordon Billard Professor MIT Economics Department and Sloan Management School. He won the 2009 Jahnsson Award (European equivalent of Clark Medal).

Voting History

Statement Comments
The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed how companies should think about business strategy. Agree “It has changed technology strategy — see my piece here ”
The COVID-19 pandemic will lead companies to relocate infrastructure and employees away from dense urban locations. Agree
The California Consumer Privacy Act will undermine the targeted advertising market by giving consumers the right to opt out of allowing companies to sell personal data to third parties. Agree “It would be a good thing to reduce personalized targeted ads.”
In the wake of recent climate-related disasters and related events, such as the bankruptcy of PG&E, corporations are now planning for the increased operational risks and potential liabilities caused by climate change. Agree
Antitrust policy should intervene more decisively to limit the scope of large technology platforms. Agree
U.S. regulations have been rolled back in a number of areas, including emissions standards and clean water. Companies will decide to voluntarily adhere to rules that closely resemble the original standards. Disagree “Many firms will save money by (rationally) not keeping to the previously tougher regulations.”
The Business Roundtable’s new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation indicates a shift away from shareholder value maximization as the sole purpose of the corporation and toward a broader view of value creation.
This shift will have material impact on the well-being of U.S. workers.
Neither Agree nor Disagree
“The statement by itself does not do anything, I think. But if there was an economy-wide shift away from a near total focus on shareholder value, this would have some positive effects on workers.”
In the next decade, we will see the first sustainably profitable private commercial activities in space. Neither Agree nor Disagree
Introducing 5G networks 3-5 years ahead of other countries will give Chinese firms an advantage. Agree “First-mover advantages are often exaggerated.”
The increase in stock market volatility that began in 2018 will last for another three to five years. Agree “Trade wars, end of tax cut sugar high, China slowdown, and Brexit all contribute to volatility.”
A hard Brexit will have a significant negative impact on many businesses, even if they do not have a U.K. or European presence. Strongly Agree “I have several papers showing this, for example: More recent reports include:”
China is no longer the most attractive growth opportunity for Western multinationals. Disagree “Even at a reduced rate of growth and institutional problems, China is still relatively wealthy and a huge market.”
In the next five years, the blockchain will have a transformative effect on finance in emerging markets. Neither Agree nor Disagree
In the absence of a carbon tax, industry self-regulation can help mitigate the worst fallout from climate change. Strongly Disagree “Industry does not have the incentives to deal with climate change externalities. We urgently need a carbon tax. But complementing this with R&D subsidies and government regulation also helps.”
Amazon’s new $15 per hour minimum wage will force other companies to follow suit. Disagree
Restrictions on skilled immigration will cause US firms to to shift more operations overseas. Agree “Restrictions will certainly hurt U.S. firms in terms of their productivity and innovation (which will therefore harm American wages). The shifting operations effect is less important than this.”
Uber has to develop self-driving cars in the next 10 years in order to remain viable. Disagree
A trade war will be more disruptive to business than to consumers. Agree “A trade war is disastrous for both business and consumers. Trade barriers stunt productivity, good management, innovation, and wages. See Trade Induced Technical Change? The Impact of Chinese Imports on innovation, IT and Productivity (2016).”
Concern over consumer privacy will fundamentally limit businesses’ ability to use big data. Agree