Daniel Raff

Daniel Raff
  • Associate Professor of Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    3113 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: business history and strategy

Links: Personal Website, Penn Economic History Forum

Overview

Education

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

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Research

  • Daniel Raff and Philip Scranton, “Silences, and Beginning to Fill Them”. In The Emergence of Routines, edited by Daniel M. G. Raff and Philip Scranton, (2017)

  • Daniel Raff, “Learning from History”. In The Emergence of Routines, edited by Daniel M. G. Raff and Philip Scranton, (2017)

  • Daniel Raff, “The Book-of-the-Month Club as a New Enterprise”. In The Emergence of Routines, edited by Daniel M.G. Raff and Philip Scranton, (2016)

  • Daniel Raff (2013), How to Do Things with Time, Enterprise & Society.

  • Daniel Raff (2013), The Business of the Press, Oxford University Press, Chapter 5, pp. 190-216.

  • Daniel Raff (2013), Worldwide Expansion and Influence, Oxford University Press, Chapter 19, pp. 583-617.

  • Daniel Raff, Susan Wachter, Se Yan (2013), Real estate prices in Beijing, 1644 to 1840, Explorations in Economic History, 50, pp. 368-386.

    Abstract: This paper provides the first estimates of housing price movements for Beijing in late pre-modern China. We hand-collect from archival sources transaction prices and other house attribute information from the 498 surviving house sale contracts for Beijing during the first two centuries of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1840), a long period without major wars, political turmoil, or significant institutional change in the Chinese capital. We use hedonic methods to construct a real estate price index for Beijing for the period. The regression analysis explains a major proportion of the variance of housing prices. We find that house prices grew steadily for the first half-century of the Qing Dynasty and declined afterwards in both nominal and real terms through the late eighteenth century. Nominal prices grew starting in the late eighteenth century and declined from the early nineteenth century through 1840. But these price changes occurred with contemporaneous price changes in basic measures of the cost of living: there was little change in real terms to the end of our period. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  • Daniel Raff, Naomi R Lamoreaux, Peter Temin (Working), Beyond Markets and Hierarchies: Towards a New Synthesis of American Business History.

    Abstract: We sketch a new synthesis of American business history to replace (and subsume) that putforward by Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., most famously in his book The Visible Hand (1977). We see the broader subject as the history of the institutions of coordination in the economy, with the management of information and the addressing of problems of informational asymmetries representing central problems for firm- and relationship design. Our analysis emphasizes the endogenous adoption of coordination mechanisms in the context of evolving but specific operating conditions and opportunities.  This naturally gives rise both to change and to heterogeneity in the population of coordination mechanisms to be observed in use at any moment in time. In discussing the changes in the population of mechanisms over time, we seek to avoid the tendency, exemplified by Chandler’s work but characteristic of the field, to see history of adoption in teleological rather than evolutionary perspective.  We see a richer set of mechanisms in play than is conventional and a more complex historical process at work, in particular a process in which hierarchical institutions have both risen and, more recently, declined in significance.

    Description: Reginald H. Jones Center for Management Policy, Strategy and Organization working paper.

  • Daniel Raff (2001), Risk Management in an Age of Change, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Global Financial Services Practice.

    Abstract: The environment in which banks and other financial services industry firms operate was once very stable. It is now increasingly permeated with change. Enhanced performance demands make this change salient to high-level decision-makers. Many of the opportunities firms now face are path-dependent and this will continue to be so. For firms to make effective choices in such an environment, both competitive strategy and the strategy-making process must come to terms with opportunities which evolve over time. Old decision-making systems and attitudes are unhelpful in this and may even be impediments to good outcomes. Risk inevitably features in getting these decisions right. All strategic decisions induce and impose constraints on the types of risk banks traditionally monitor and manage. This needs to be explicitly considered and is generally not. Strategic decisions also impose a new type of risk, detailed here, which also needs to be analyzed, monitored, and controlled. All these activities require changes, discussed in detail, both in decision-making protocols and in the organizational structures and routines supporting decision-making.

  • Daniel Raff and C. H. Fine, Internet-Driven Innovation and Economic Performance in the American Automobile Industry (2001)

Teaching

Past Courses

  • ECON199 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

    Individual study and research under the direction of a member of the Economics Department faculty. At a minimum, the student must write a major paper summarizing, unifying, and interpreting the results of the study. This is a one semester, one c.u. course. Please see the department for permission.

  • LAW 999 - ISP

  • MGMT225 - VALUE CREATION & VAL CAP

    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. But history, considered thoughtfully and critically, is never just description and a narrative and the course's deeper purpose is to give students some idea of how to think about the future evolution of firms and industries. In this the course is as much an applied strategy course as it is a historical survey. The course considers the development of the business enterprise as an economic institution. It also covers the evolution of competition and strategy, marketing institutions, some aspects of the history of operations management, and corporate finance. Issues arising in these different management disciplines are considered in part for the purpose of showing off their interrelationships. Questions of how value can be created and captured at the enterprise level form the core of the perspective. The course's focus is on American developments, since many of the innovations took place here, but there is scope for comparison with Japan and the leading European economies if there is student interest. Chronologically the course runs from Franklin's days through the early twenty-first century. The

  • MGMT2250 - Value Creation & Val Cap

    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. But history, considered thoughtfully and critically, is never just description and a narrative and the course's deeper purpose is to give students some idea of how to think about the future evolution of firms and industries. In this the course is as much an applied strategy course as it is a historical survey. The course considers the development of the business enterprise as an economic institution. It also covers the evolution of competition and strategy, marketing institutions, some aspects of the history of operations management, and corporate finance. Issues arising in these different management disciplines are considered in part for the purpose of showing off their interrelationships. Questions of how value can be created and captured at the enterprise level form the core of the perspective. The course's focus is on American developments, since many of the innovations took place here, but there is scope for comparison with Japan and the leading European economies if there is student interest. Chronologically the course runs from Franklin's days through the early twenty-first century. The individual classes proceed through discussion 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 not just often case-like but wherever possible draw on documents contemporary to the decisions such as correspondence, internal memoranda, minutes of meetings, old newspaper and magazine stories, and eyewitness accounts. The objective in this is to give students as minimally mediated access as is feasible to what the embedded actors knew and thought. The materials require thoughtful preparation. Weekly short writing assignments during the first twelve weeks of the term develop students' skill in turning such preparation into crisp analytical prose. (This will be valuable to most ex-students in the early phases of their post-Wharton careers.) The course as a process is much more focused on the students than many and the most productive experience of it demands that the students both engage with the materials when they prepare and then 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. (To everyone's surprise, the lack of easy access

  • MGMT714 - VALUE CREATION & VAL CAP

    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. But history, considered thoughtfully and critically, is never just description and a narrative and the course's deeper purpose is to give students some idea of how to think about the future evolution of firms and industries. In this the course is as much an applied strategy course as it is a historical survey. The course considers the development of the business enterprise as an economic institution. It also covers the evolution of competition and strategy, marketing institutions, some aspects of the history of operations management, and corporate finance. Issues arising in these different management disciplines are considered in part for the purpose of showing off their interrelationships. Questions of how value can be created and captured at the enterprise level form the core of the perspective. The course's focus is on American developments, since many of the innovations took place here, but there is scope for comparison with Japan and the leading European economies if there is student interest. Chronologically the course runs from Franklin's days through the early twenty-first century. The

  • MGMT7140 - Value Creation & Val Cap

    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. But history, considered thoughtfully and critically, is never just description and a narrative and the course's deeper purpose is to give students some idea of how to think about the future evolution of firms and industries. In this the course is as much an applied strategy course as it is a historical survey. The course considers the development of the business enterprise as an economic institution. It also covers the evolution of competition and strategy, marketing institutions, some aspects of the history of operations management, and corporate finance. Issues arising in these different management disciplines are considered in part for the purpose of showing off their interrelationships. Questions of how value can be created and captured at the enterprise level form the core of the perspective. The course's focus is on American developments, since many of the innovations took place here, but there is scope for comparison with Japan and the leading European economies if there is student interest. Chronologically the course runs from Franklin's days through the early twenty-first century. The individual classes proceed through discussion 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 not just often case-like but wherever possible draw on documents contemporary to the decisions such as correspondence, internal memoranda, minutes of meetings, old newspaper and magazine stories, and eyewitness accounts. The objective in this is to give students as minimally mediated access as is feasible to what the embedded actors knew and thought. The materials require thoughtful preparation. Weekly short writing assignments during the first twelve weeks of the term develop students' skill in turning such preparation into crisp analytical prose. (This will be valuable to most ex-students in the early phases of their post-Wharton careers.) The course as a process is much more focused on the students than many and the most productive experience of it demands that the students both engage with the materials when they prepare and then 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. (To everyone's surprise, the lack of easy access

  • MGMT717 - DEALS: ECON STRUC TRANS

    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 explore how private parties could 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 course is offered in springtime terms only. The long first half of the course is devoted to analyzing impediments to transacting, including asymmetric information, exogenous risk and uncertainty, difficulties intrinsic to contracting over time, enforceability, and various forms of strategic behavior, all with a view to understanding the logic of the variety of techniques used to ameliorate them and more broadly to create distributable value through transaction structuring. These Part I classes are accompanied by exercises of various sorts.

Activity

Latest Research

Daniel Raff and Philip Scranton, “Silences, and Beginning to Fill Them”. In The Emergence of Routines, edited by Daniel M. G. Raff and Philip Scranton, (2017)
All Research

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