Richard Holden

UNSW Business School

University of New South Wales

@profholden Website

Professor Holden’s research focuses on contract theory, organizational economics, law and economics, and political economy. He has written on topics including: network capital, political districting, the boundary of the firm, incentives in organizations, mechanism design, and voting rules. He is currently editor of the Journal of Law and Economics and is the founding director of the Herbert Smith Freehills Initiative on Law & Economics at UNSW.

Vote History

Statement Vote Confidence Comments
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 9 “First, it's completely unclear that this is a genuine sentiment. Second, there have always been instrumental reasons — even under the Friedman view — for corporations to care about workers and other stakeholders. Happy workers are more productive, which leads to more profits. Companies that are seen to be socially responsible attract more customers, all else equal, and so on.”
In the next decade, we will see the first sustainably profitable private commercial activities in space. Disagree 7 “Profitability seems pretty far away given the current state of development of the industry. And given the first-mover advantages, I suspect loss-making will be tolerated for a substantial period of time.”
Introducing 5G networks 3-5 years ahead of other countries will give Chinese firms an advantage. Agree 6 “I think it depends on how strong the network externalities are and the degree to which 5G technology once installed can be replaced with superior technology.”
The increase in stock market volatility that began in 2018 will last for another three to five years. Neither Agree nor Disagree 6 “There are good reasons — perhaps most notably U.S.-China tensions — for a lot of investor fear at the moment. For that to continue uninterrupted for several more years would be sufficiently damaging that it would involve a serious failure of the political process. Yet, it is hard to argue that political processes are working well globally.”
A hard Brexit will have a significant negative impact on many businesses, even if they do not have a U.K. or European presence. Agree 8 “The dislocation and uncertainty caused will cascade through supply chains and networks of firms, regardless of their own direct geographical presence.”
China is no longer the most attractive growth opportunity for Western multinationals. Neither Agree nor Disagree 8 “Demand in China is clearly softening, but given secular stagnation in advanced economies, it is unclear what the attractive alternatives are.”
In the next five years, the blockchain will have a transformative effect on finance in emerging markets. Agree 6 “I see blockchain as an enhanced contracting technology, and it is in areas where contracts work less well that it will have the most impact. Emerging-market financial contracting is a leading example. There is, however, a great deal of uncertainty about what might occur.”
In the absence of a carbon tax, industry self-regulation can help mitigate the worst fallout from climate change. Strongly Disagree 10 “We’ve seen what happens without a carbon tax — a complete failure to address climate change. Industry ‘self-regulation’ also does nothing on the consumer side. A carbon dividend plan, like that of the Climate Leadership Council, is the most pragmatic way forward in addressing climate change and compensating individuals, while maintaining international competitiveness.”
Amazon’s new $15 per hour minimum wage will force other companies to follow suit. Agree 9 “As a big employer, the upward pressure on wages will make other employers compete for workers. In addition, this might well provide ‘air cover’ for moves to increase state and city minimum wages in various parts of the country — an issue in the last presidential campaign.”
Restrictions on skilled immigration will cause US firms to to shift more operations overseas. Strongly Agree 10 “Skilled immigration — combined with sophisticated capital markets — has been at the heart of American dominance in the new economy. It is also vital in engineering and other fields that could move offshore.”
Uber has to develop self-driving cars in the next 10 years in order to remain viable. Disagree 9 “They either need to do that to reduce costs, or raise prices. But the price hike required to make Uber profitable is not prohibitive.”
A trade war will be more disruptive to business than to consumers. Agree 7 “In the short run, it will be very disruptive to business (as we have already seen), but eventually that will flow through to consumers.”