Olav Sorenson

Yale School of Management

Yale University

@Osorenson Website

Professor Sorenson’s research interests include economic geography, economic sociology, entrepreneurship, organizational ecology, the sociology and management of science and technology, and business and corporate strategy. His most extensive line of research examines how social networks affect transactions, thereby shaping the geography and evolution of industries.

Voting History

Statement Vote Confidence Comments
The COVID-19 pandemic will lead companies to relocate infrastructure and employees away from dense urban locations. Agree 6 “I would expect companies to create more redundancy across locations in their operations. But global cities remain attractive in terms of the amenities that they offer and may become relatively more attractive in terms of transportation centrality. So, companies will probably continue to keep many employees in those places.”
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. Strongly Disagree 8 “Many consumers will not bother to take advantage of these rights. Even for those who do, companies can still target their advertising based on non-identifying information, just not to the degree that they have been able to do.”
Antitrust policy should intervene more decisively to limit the scope of large technology platforms. Agree 8 “Platforms are clearly able to leverage their power across services — an antitrust issue. But I am not sure that we have a good handle on the extent to which their ability to do so hurts consumers. But it probably reduces the variety of services available and may slow innovation.”
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.
Disagree 4 “According to the statement, these leaders believe that they already focus on more than just shareholder value. It's not clear that they consider this a change in practice. It will take more than just a statement of values to make a difference for workers — CEO incentives, corporate governance, and/or regulation will need to change as well.”
In the next decade, we will see the first sustainably profitable private commercial activities in space. Agree 7 “Early activities will probably center around satellite delivery (and possibly repair).”
Introducing 5G networks 3-5 years ahead of other countries will give Chinese firms an advantage. Disagree 8 “If China actually beats other countries by three-plus years, it probably would give Chinese firms an advantage. But it’s unclear that they will. 5G has already begun being deployed in Korea and the U.S. It’s also not clear whether the version that China adopts will become the standard. If it does not, early deployment might even become a disadvantage.”
A hard Brexit will have a significant negative impact on many businesses, even if they do not have a U.K. or European presence. Disagree 7 “The tough part of this question is the final clause. I have little doubt that Brexit will be bad for U.K. businesses and possibly for EU businesses as well. But for firms without much of a presence in this market, a hard Brexit might end up being a positive if it reduces the competitiveness of EU and U.K. rivals.”
China is no longer the most attractive growth opportunity for Western multinationals. Disagree 4
In the next five years, the blockchain will have a transformative effect on finance in emerging markets. Disagree 5 “Blockchain may reduce transaction costs and the extent of corruption, but many types of contracts will still depend on local institutions for enforcement.”
In the absence of a carbon tax, industry self-regulation can help mitigate the worst fallout from climate change. Strongly Disagree 7
Amazon’s new $15 per hour minimum wage will force other companies to follow suit. Agree 6 “I do not think that these spillovers would come from direct competition in the labor market but rather from political pressure. If a firm that has been pushing prices for consumers down can still pay a reasonable wage, what excuse do others have for not doing so?”
Restrictions on skilled immigration will cause US firms to to shift more operations overseas. Agree 5 “If firms cannot get the talent that they need at home, they will need to shift more work abroad. But the upward wage pressure could also lead more U.S. citizens to pursue the jobs in question.”
Uber has to develop self-driving cars in the next 10 years in order to remain viable. Strongly Agree 7 “I’m not sure that Uber is viable now. But to the extent that they need self-driving cars, it seems that they could purchase them from a company with more expertise in autos or AI (e.g., GM or Tesla).”
A trade war will be more disruptive to business than to consumers. Strongly Agree 9 “Consumers can more easily adjust what they choose to buy than businesses can shift the locations of their supply chains.”
Concern over consumer privacy will fundamentally limit businesses’ ability to use big data. Agree 6 “Firms can benefit even from anonymous data, and they will try to skirt regulations, but the EU will probably lead the way in imposing limits.”