Funding for New Course Development — The Intersection of Business and Government: A Global and Historical Perspective (2013-14)

The CGM awarded Assistant Professor Christian Dippel support to hire a UCLA Anderson MBA student to assist him with development of course materials for a new MBA course that would analyze the intersection of business and government, from a global as well as historical perspective. As history provides many interesting examples of how business and government constrain each other, this course will use case studies drawn from all regions of the world and periods of history. The course will be designed to focus on the regulatory environment in which firms operate and is intended to make economic history not just interesting, but actually applicable, to MBA students — for example, attempting to isolate the lessons for entrepreneurial success that have persisted through the ages.

Tucker Herbert ('14) served as a research assistant who read and synthesized academic papers, cases and books then reviewed and discussed the information with a goal of creating a "bank" of teaching materials. As a result of faculty/student collaboration and discussions, some cases were abandoned while others were narrowed down or pursued in greater detail; additional readings, quotes and other material that might be appealing and useful to the MBA audience were explored; and the general lessons and takeaways were reviewed. Discussions focused around a good balance of present- day U.S. applications relative to historical and developing-country contexts. For example, modules were developed on lobbying that included an application to medieval Venice but would lead to a discussion of present-day U.S. politics. Other modules created included, "Anti Innovation Institutions", which teaches students the conditions under which innovation thrives; “Entrenched Interests,” which teaches students how new firms can succeed in a regulatory environment with many established players; and “Persistence and Mobility,” which discusses why some countries have so little social mobility and how this matters for entrepreneurial opportunities.

The plan is to extend the existing modules to build towards a full course which the CGM is also supporting. Specific modules that are being considered focus on: the economic importance of immigrant networks; the revolving door between politics and business; lobbying and policy setting; red tape in developing countries; and the varying extent of firms’ political connections across different countries.