Photo of Daniel Raff

Daniel Raff

Associate Professor of Management

Research Interests: business history and strategy

Links: Personal Website, Penn Economic History Forum

Contact Information

Address: 3113 SH-DH, 3620 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 898-3804
Office Fax: (215) 898-0401



PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987; BPhil, Oxford University, 1978; MPA, Princeton University, 1976; BA, New College, 1973

Recent Consulting

Competitive strategy in manufacturing and services (including financial services); deal design

Academic Positions Held

Wharton: 1994-present. Previous appointments: Harvard University; Oxford University. Visiting appointments: Columbia University Schools of Business and Law

Other Positions

Faculty Research Fellow and Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1988-present; Sloan Senior Research Fellow, Wharton Financial Institutions Center, 2000-present

Professional Leadership

Trustee, Business History Conference, 1998-2001; Chair, Investment Committee, 2001-present; Chair, Audit and Budget Committee and Trustee ex officio, Economic History Association, 2001-present


  • Daniel Raff (2013), How to Do Things with Time, Oxford Journals    Related Materials
  • Daniel Raff (2013), The Business of the Press, Oxford University Press, Chapter 5, 190 - 216.  
  • Daniel Raff (2013), Worldwide Expansion and Influence, Oxford University Press, Chapter 19, 583 - 617.  
  • Susan M Wachter, Daniel Raff, Se Yan (2013), Real Estate Prices in Beijing, 1644 to 1840, Explorations in Economic History, Volume 50, 335 - 462.  Abstract
  • Daniel Raff, Susan Wachter, Se Yan (2013), Real estate prices in Beijing, 1644 to 1840, Explorations in Economic History, 50, 368 - 386.    Abstract
  • Daniel Raff, Naomi R Lamoreaux, Peter Temin (Working), Beyond Markets and Hierarchies: Towards a New Synthesis of American Business History.  Abstract  Description
  • Daniel Raff (2001), Risk Management in an Age of Change, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Global Financial Services Practice  Abstract
  • Daniel Raff, C. H. Fine, Internet-Driven Innovation and Economic Performance in the American Automobile Industry (2001).
  • Daniel Raff (2000), Superstores and the Evolution of Firm Capabilities in American Bookselling, Strategic Management Journal  Abstract
  • Daniel Raff, Sears Roebuck in the Twentieth Century:Competition, Complementarities, and the Problem of Wasting Assets (1999).

In The News

Knowledge @ Wharton



  • MGMT714 - Value Creation and Value Capture in American Business History

    This course concerns the history of capitalism in America viewed from the perspective of the people who operated (and in some cases owned) the firms. Its focus is on the activities of value creation and value capture and on how evolving opportunities and selection pressures have conditioned the historic development of competition, strategic analysis and initiatives, organizational structures, merger-and-acquisition activity, entrepreneurship, and the like. Accounting and control are also part of the story: the course in fact considers issues arising in a variety of different management disciplines and shows off their interrelationships. The maintenance (or otherwise) of value capture over the cycle and over time is a running theme.

  • MGMT717 - Deals: The Economic Structure of Transacting and Contracting

    This course focuses on the role of professionals, including lawyers of all types (corporate, tax, securities, etc.), direct private equity investors, corporate business development officers, and investment bankers, in creating value through transaction engineering. The overall goal of the course is to explain how private parties order their commercial interactions, to develop a theory of how they ought to do this, and to gain a thorough understanding of how business deals are actually done.

    The first half of the course will be devoted to impediments to transacting, including asymmetric information, difficulties intrinsic to contracting over time, enforceability, and various forms of strategic behavior, and to a variety of possible responses rooted in decision theory, option theory, risk management, and incentive alignment. In this first part, student teams also will follow the development of some current deals and give brief in-class presentations about them. In the second half of the course, (differently composed) student teams will apply the tools developed in the first half to the fine details of a series of real transactions. Each team will be assigned to a recently completed transaction and given access to the original documents implementing their deal. Each deal will get three classes. In the first, the instructors will present some background. In the second, the student teams will present their transaction to the class, focusing on how the transaction was structured and the advantages and disadvantages of that structure. In the third session, one or more of the parties who worked on the transaction will present the deal from the participant perspective and take questions from the class.

    The requirements for the class are regular attendance, active participation in class discussions, and completion of some homework assignments, the two group projects, and an individual paper. The course meets jointly with an upper-class Law School and LLM course. Wharton enrollment will be restricted this year to 25 MBA students. In the event that the course is oversubscribed, students will be admitted from the waiting list only if other students drop the course. If this happens, it usually happens fairly early on. Priority for admission in these circumstances will go to students who have attended the class from the beginning.