Photo of Daniel Raff

Daniel Raff

Associate Professor of Management

Research Interests: business history and strategy

Links: Personal Website, Penn Economic History Forum

  • MGMT225 - 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.

    The course has a narrative element (running from Franklin's days through the early twenty-first century) but its deeper purpose is to give students some idea of how to think about the future evolution of firms and industries. It proceeds through a consideration of actual business decisions and performance in a series of challenging and otherwise interesting moments in the evolution of the American business environment. The materials are unusual for the Wharton School--they are often case-like and when possible draw on documents contemporary to the decisions such as correspondence, memoranda, minutes of meetings, old newspaper and magazine stories, and eyewitness accounts. They require thoughtful preparation. This course is much more focused on the students than many and a successful experience of its demands that the students both engage with the materials and take an active role in the class discussion. The largest single element in the grading is a substantial term paper on a topic agreeable to both the student and the instructor. For more information, please contact the instructor:


  • MGMT714 - American Business History

    This course examines how the kind of firms in which most Wharton students will spend the next stage of their careers came to be as they are today. At a superficial level, the course's objectives are descriptive and narrative. Its deeper purpose is to give students some idea of how to think about the future evolution of firms and industries. The course will discuss the historical development of the business enterprise as an institution. It will also cover the evolution of competition and strategy and of corporate finance. The focus will be on American developments, since many of the innovations took place here, but there is scope for comparison with institutions in Japan and the leading European economies if there is student interest. The course considers issues arising in anumber of different management disciplines and shows off their interrelationships. In terms of the Wharton curriculum and of recent research, strategy issues,and in particular the set of issues concerning how value can be created and captured at the enterprise level, are a running theme.

    Format: There will be occasional lecturing but this is principally a discussioncourse. The readings are predominantly primary source documents, supplanted when helpful by background notes from the instructor, with occasional readings from secondary sources. Evaluation is based on class participation, weekly brief written responses to the readings, and a term paper, with the great bulk of thegrade weight on the last of these.