Friday, November 28, 2014

Labor market impact of immigration exec order

Legal analyses of the President's executive order on immigration are a dime a dozen; economic analyses  are much rarer (this WSJ piece is the only one I have seen).  The courts and voters will ultimately work out the legal end, so what are the economic takeaways?
1) Most illegal immigrants face skill and language barriers in the labor market and end up taking relatively unskilled jobs.  The increased supply of such labor leads to lower wages for natives who compete in the same markets.  Most economic estimates find the wage impact is modest (a 10% increase supply leads to a 2-4% cut in wages for natives), but tell that to someone who is having trouble making ends meet.  
2) Do not be surprised to see the rate of illegal immigration accelerate since the order could be reversed on Inauguration Day 2017.  But wait, those who cross borders after the order aren't covered, right?  True, but perception is everything.  Do you seriously believe that someone in a dirt poor village in Guatemala thinks the odds of being deported have gone up?  What matters is what potential immigrants believe, not what the order actually says.  
3) To the extent that employers have used fear of deportation to keep illegals from quitting to find a better job, the order should open up some mobility options.  Illegals who have learned valuable skills and who speak/write decent English will now start competing with more skilled natives.  
4) The most critical immigration issue is making it easier for highly educated STEM students to stay in the US.  The President punted on this one.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Obama pushes for net neutrality

The FCC has been deliberating for some time about whether and how the internet should be regulated by the federal government.  President Obama made a pitch on Monday for heightened regulation, asking the FCC to regulate the internet as if it were an electrical utility or a phone company.

NYT blogger Eduardo Porter gives a somewhat balanced view of the pros and cons of net neutrality.  Net neut advocates worry that monopolistic ISPs will control through pricing what content becomes available.  Net neut opponents point out that one needs some mechanism to ration scarce capacity.  Since Netflix alone accounts for 30% or more of internet traffic at peak periods, they argue that Netflix directly (and its customers indirectly) should pay for the fast access needed to stream movies.
An even bigger concern is what a regulated internet do to incentives for investing in further capacity.

My take: this argument is another classic case of who do you trust more to act in customers interest -- a federal regulatory agency or a less than perfectly competitive market?  Today in Raleigh, Time Warner and AT&T only have to compete with each other for USP business.  But over time there will be more competition, especially if Google Fiber decides to play.  I think I will take my chances with the market!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NC State full-time MBA climbs to #54 in Businessweek rankings

More great news on the rankings front for NC State's Jenkins MBA program!  Bloomberg Businessweek's ranking of full-time programs just came out and we placed #54 in the US.  There were 85 schools ranked.  NC State was just behind Georgia, UC San Diego, Boston College, and George Washington and just ahead of Tennessee, Florida International, Boston University, and Babson.

This year's ranking represents a dramatic turnaround from two years ago.  Bloomberg Businessweek is very selective about which schools are deemed eligible to be ranked.  In 2012 we were pleased to be on the list for the first time (at #63); that was an important milestone for the program.  We were not as pleased with our position on the list (63 of the 80 invited schools had high enough response rates from student and employer surveys to be listed).

The 2014 ranking is based on a weighted average of three components: (1) student satisfaction with the program, (2) employer satisfaction with the graduates and (3) faculty research.  NC State's MBA placed #45 in student satisfaction, #60 in employer satisfaction, and #71 in research.

As an MBA program that only has been in existence for 12 years, we have come a very long way.  We have been on quite the rankings roll over the last year:

  • #15 supply chain MBA, Gartner
  • #17 online MBA, Poets and Quants
  • #20 part-time MBA, Bloomberg Businessweek
  • #36 online MBA, US News
  • #61 part-time MBA, US News
  • #65 full-time MBA, US News

Kudos to the alums, faculty, staff and students in the NC State Jenkins MBA community for making this happen!  Our focus on innovation, experiential learning, and value is getting the recognition it has long deserved.