New Smeal Blog Offers Faculty Perspectives On Business News
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA (March 5, 2009) – Penn State's Smeal College of Business has launched a new blog featuring faculty research and commentary on breaking business news. The blog, named Business Casual for its informal approach to academic research and business perspectives, launched on Feb. 26.
Smeal's faculty are regularly contacted by members of the business and popular media to lend their expertise to the news stories of the day. The blog, which will be updated three to five times per week, functions in the same way. Each entry starts with some background information on a current news item and then highlights relevant Smeal research or new expert commentary from a Smeal faculty member.
With business and economic news now dominating the headlines, Business Casual will give readers access to news analysis from leading business experts. The blog will offer clarification of complex economic news, expert opinions on current issues, and academic research that directly relates to what's happening on Wall Street and in Washington. It will also highlight research awards and honors won by Smeal faculty.
Readers are encouraged to comment on blog posts and engage each other in a dialogue on the issues discussed in the blog. An RSS feed of the blog's content is also available.
Recent blog entries cover topics including the housing market, the automotive industry, and the Bernie Madoff alleged ponzi scheme.
In the blog's first entry, Austin Jaffe, chair of Smeal's Department of Insurance and Real Estate, offers some perspective on the troubles facing the housing industry and President Barack Obama's mortgage rescue plans.
"It's a toss-up as to whether these mortgage relief programs will stabilize prices," Jaffe says. "There continue to be too many houses on the market due to declining prices and foreclosure sales. New construction is at record lows and there are serious questions about the future of homebuilding as an industry for the next several years."
In a more recent post, Fariborz Ghadar, director of Smeal's Center for Global Business Studies, warns that letting Detroit automakers go bankrupt would be worse than continuing to loan them billions of dollars.
"Under the current arrangement with the government, everything that takes place in a bankruptcy is happening now," Ghadar says. "GM is already negotiating its contracts with labor, lenders, and suppliers. A bankruptcy filing will only make recovery more difficult and add another financial burden by scaring off consumers who are weary about warranties from a bankrupt company."
Another blog post highlights 2005 research by Mark Dirsmith, Deloitte Professor of Accounting, that is suddenly relevant today. He examined the 1979 Chrysler bailout and found that political concerns weighed more heavily than hard economic data in Congress' decision to offer federal loans to Chrysler. The same arguments described by Dirsmith are taking place on Capitol Hill today.
Business Casual is online at blogs.smeal.psu.edu/businesscasual.