Globalization and Corporate Restructuring


The Economics of Corporate Ownership (2015)

Questions on the social welfare implications of different forms of firm ownership are often headline news these days. These questions are raised by recent global trends where fewer firms are listed on stock exchanges and that an increasingly large share of economic activity and investment takes place in privately held firms, many of which are family or private equity owned. Moreover, encouraging individuals to become owners of firms, i.e. promoting entrepreneurship, is on the agenda of many politicians. To advance research in this area, the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) is organizing an international two-day workshop on “The Economics of Corporate Ownership”. The workshop has two aims. The first is to advance research on the real economic implications of different corporate ownership forms and changes in corporate ownership. Topics of particular interest include research on how ownership and governance of firms affect society through interactions with the political process, financial markets, labor markets and product markets. The second aim is to enhance the interaction between researchers in economics and in finance interested in these issues.


Politics vs. the Economy? When Policy Uncertainty Curbs Economic Growth (2015)

Does policy uncertainty curb economic growth? “Yes” said Professor Steven Davis, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, at a seminar organized by IFN. A Swedish example of uncertainty created by the politicians is the government's announcement that profit distribution in the service sector will be restricted. Steven Davis also pointed to the refugee flows as creating uncertainty in European societies. Davis is co-founder of the Economic Policy Uncertainty Index which measures economic uncertainty and its impact on production, investment and employment. Other seminar and panel participants were Max Elger, State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Ulf Kristersson, Economic Policy Spokesperson for the Moderate Party, and Professor John Hassler, Chairman of the Swedish Fiscal Policy Council.


Optimal Transparency – a Dream or Reality? (2014)

Transparency and the difference between accurate and more information in corporate communications was the subject of a half-day conference organized by the FAR, IFN, Nasdaq and Transparency International Sweden. Professor Sidney Grey, co-author of the book Oxford Handbook of Economic and Institutional Transparency, was a speaker at the event. In the final panel discussion, the participants agreed that the current scope of corporate information should not increase but should focus more on societal development.


GDP is not Enough – Or How to Measure Life (2015)

GDP is problematic as a measure of growth, but this does not mean that GDP is useless, explained Professor Diane Coyle, University of Manchester, in a seminar organized by IFN on May 7. Coyle said that GDP is insufficient as a measure, and that what is probably needed is a dashboard of indicators. At the seminar, she mentioned a number of existing alternative measures, including the Social Progress Index which was created in 2014.


Who Should Control the Swedish Firms? (2014)

In the report “Vem ska styra de svenska företagen?” (English: “Who should govern Swedish Firms?”) presented on May 8, Associate Professor Ulf Jakobsson, previous director of IFN, and Dr. Daniel Wiberg identified three possible changes in the corporate management of enlisted companies: 1) Individual ownership control should be protected by allowing compensation for partners; 2) If the ownership of firms is dispersed and an obvious control owner is missing, the management of the firm should be allowed longer-term control rights; 3) The role of institutional investors should be clarified. 


The Decline and Fall of the Stock Market (2013)

Alexander Ljungqvist, Professor of Finance and Entrepreneurship at New York University's Stern School of Business and affiliated to IFN, opened a breakfast seminar entitled The Decline and Fall of the Stock Market. He primarily explained how the U.S. market works and explained that the number of IPOs have become fewer, yet larger. Alexander Ljungqvist's introduction was followed by comments made by Börje Ekholm, CEO of Investor and Chairman of NASDAQ OMX, and Magnus Billing, CEO of NASDAQ OMX in Stockholm.


Job Dynamics in Swedish Industry 1990–2009 (2013)

On June 4, IFN arranged a seminar on the ESO report “Job Dynamics in Swedish industry 1990-2009” (Expert Group on Public Economics). Economists Fredrik Heyman, Pehr-Johan Norbäck and Lars Persson, all IFN, presented the results of their study: What kinds of jobs have been lost or created? Do the employees have low or high education? How is the job dynamics between the service sector and manufacturing industry? Roland Bladh, the European Commission's Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs, attended the workshop and gave his views on the subject.


Industrial Organization and Corporate Finance (2013)

In the wake of the financial crisis, increased attention in economics research has been focused on how financial markets affect the global real economy. While researchers have made great progress, many questions still remain. In particular, we have a rather limited understanding of how ownership and financing forms interact with competition, industry and tax policy. Moreover, more research on how ownership and forms of financing affect product market interaction, innovation and social welfare seems warranted. In an effort to advance research in this area, the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) organized an international two-day conference on Industrial Organization and Corporate Finance. The conference brought together top researchers working on policy-oriented issues in industrial organization and corporate finance. The overarching objective was to shed light on how corporate finance concepts can be more closely incorporated into traditional economic models and thereby better help guide competition, industry and tax policies in a globalized world.


Capital taxation, Corporate Ownership and Globalization (2012)

“Capital taxation, corporate ownership and globalization” was the theme of a symposium arranged on November 19, 2012. Representatives from Handelsbanken’s research foundations, some of IFNs long-term and most important financiers, were invited. The seminar was initiated by Sverker Martin-Löf, the chairman of SCA and Industrivärden as well as a board member of IFN. Three central parts of IFN’s research which have been made possible through support from especially the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius foundations were presented. “Globalization, ownership and the structural change of the Swedish industry” was the theme of one of the presentations; this was presented by Professor Lars Persson, Deputy Director at IFN, and PhD Joacim Tåg (also IFN). Under the heading “Capital Taxation and business”, Professor Magnus Henrekson, Director of IFN, talked about the work by the corporate tax committee, set to be completed in April 2014. He is himself a member of the committee, and has together with Tino Sanandaji, IFN, written two expert reports on among other things taxation on stock options. The report shows how current rules can be changed so that stock options can be used and later promote entrepreneurial and innovative firms. In a dialog with the audience, Magnus Henrekson discussed the possible as well as plausible political developments with respect to the area on firm taxation.   


Globalization, Organization and the Ownership of Firms (2012)

Firms are continually striving to improve efficiency in response to the forces of globalization. Recent research has shown that firms' organization, vertical specialization, management practices and ownership play an important role in determining performance. While recent work has made great strides towards understanding these phenomena, many questions still remain. In particular, we have a rather limited understanding of the exact features of cross-border organization and ownership that are conducive to high productivity. In an effort to advance research in this area, the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) organized an international two-day conference on Globalization, Organization and the Ownership of Firms on June 14‒15, 2012. The conference brought together top researchers working on both theoretical and empirical aspects of these issues.


Private Equity and Taxation: Should Interest Deductions be Abolished? (2012)

The profits and investments of private equity firms in the welfare sector have recently given rise to an intense public debate regarding corporate taxation and the form of interest deductions. But what does research on law and economics actually tell us about the effects of private equity investments and the form of interest deductions on the economy? Is there a risk of fewer investments being made if the interest deduction is abolished? IFN arranged a breakfast seminar on April 3rd, 2012, to discuss these questions.


Jubilee Symposium on Corporate Management and Globalization (2011)

On November 15, 2011, IFN arranged an afternoon seminar to present two central parts of the institute’s current research: private equity and globalization, and the Swedish corporate management model. After the introductory speech given by Michael Treschow, the chairman of the IFN board, and Magnus Henrekson, Deputy Director of IFN, Lars Persson and Joacim Tåg (IFN) presented new and relevant results from IFN’s research on private equity. The CEO of the private equity firm EQT, Conni Jonsson, commented on the results. During the second part of the seminar, Magnus Henrekson presented his research with Ulf Jakobsson  on the preconditions for a vibrant stock market and effective corporate management among stock enlisted firms in Sweden. The CEO of Investor, Börje Ekholm, gave comments on the presentation; this was followed by a general discussion on the results. By arranging this symposium in honor of D. Tech. Peter Wallenberg who turned 85 in 2011, IFN drew attention to both Peter Wallenberg’s personal commitment to the institute’s work and the generous long term financial support IFN has received from the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg foundation in the last decades.


Is the Door Closing for Foreign Direct Investments? (2010)

To increase knowledge on the current situation for foreign direct investments, IFN hosted an open seminar on Wednesday February 17, 2010. Recent protectionist tendencies seen globally give reason to worry. As a means of protecting jobs, foreign acquisitions are becoming increasingly limited in many countries. In tandem, countries are competing in secret with tax credits and subsidies in order to attract new foreign establishments. The resistance to foreign acquisitions could have long term consequences for Swedish firms and the Swedish economy.


Workshop on “Testing Trade Models with Labor Market Heterogeneity” (2008)

On December 5–6, 2008, IFN, The Leverhulme Centre for Research on Globalization and Economic Policy and CIBER at Michigan State University arranged a workshop on globalization and labor markets. Trade models with heterogeneous firms have been a major focus for research over the past decade. More recently, some trade theorists have begun to enrich these models by incorporating heterogeneity in the labor market as well. Such research has the potential to uncover connections between worker and company decisions with characteristics of the global environment. The idea of the workshop was to bring together a small group of theorists who are working on such models with empiricists who are familiar with matched worker-firm data sources. More information.


Workshop on Market Structure, Ownership and Firm Performance in East Asia (2008)

IFN invited international researchers working on foreign direct investment in East Asia to Stockholm for a two-day workshop on October 24–25, 2008. East Asia is a major receiver of FDI and the participants discussed how these inflows of foreign multinational firms affect producer concentration, productivity, exports, employment and other important economic factors. The focus was on the development in six East Asian countries: China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. More information


Japan in the Shadow of China (2007)

Swedish interest in Japan is low. The country neither appears in companies’ expansion plans nor in media reports despite that Japan is the second biggest economy in the world, experiences positive growth and has a dynamic integration with China. The question is whether Swedish companies are missing out on the potential that exists in Japan. Professor Naoyuki Yoshino from Keio University, Tokyo, and Mattias Bergman, Vice President Asia, the Swedish Trade Council, were the invited speakers at the seminar. The discussion was lead by Professor Fredrik Sjöholm, IFN.


From Shirts to Satellites? – An Examination of the Chinese Economy (2007)

The Swedish economy is heavily influenced by the developments in China. To increase the understanding of the Chinese Economy, IFN arranged an open seminar on February 14, 2007. Under the guidance of Professor Pontus Braunerhjelm, leading economists discussed the current challenges facing the Chinese economy and the implications for the Swedish business sector.


Competition Strategies for Foreign Direct Investments – A seminar Together with ITPS (2006)

What effects have increased foreign direct investments had on the Swedish economy? Why are the inflows of investments decreasing today  and what strategic decisions need to be taken in order to attract new investments in the future? These questions were central to a seminar hosted by IFN together with ITPS on September 25, 2006.


Globalization and the Restructuring of Firms (2006)

On September 10 and 11, 2006, IFN arranged a conference titled “Globalization and Corporate Restructuring” with particular focus on offshoring and transboundary acquisitions and firm mergers. Approximately 10 foreign researchers from leading American and European Universities participated along with researchers from The Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm University and IFN. Among the foreign participants were Robert Feenstra (University of California, Davis, and NBER) and Shang-Jing Wei (International Monetary Fund and NBER), both leading researchers within the fields of offshoring and outsourcing, as well as Peter Rousseau (Vanderbilt University and NBER), Stephen Yeaple (University of Pennsylvania and NBER) and Keith Head (University of British Columbia), all internationally renowned researchers within the field of transboundary acquisitions and firm mergers. 

International cooperation

Visiting researchers

Collaborating with others is essential for IFN as a research institute. Our researchers co-author articles with colleagues from other institutes, and many also teach at various universities and colleges.

As part of our extensive program of guest researchers, leading international researchers visit the institute. The visitors present and pursue their research as well as interact and cooperate with researchers at IFN.

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