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

Current Courses

  • 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: 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. It proceeds 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. These 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. 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. For more information, please contact the instructor: raff@wharton.upenn.edu.

    MGMT225401 ( Syllabus )

  • 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: 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. It proceeds 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. These 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. 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. For more information, please contact the instructor: raff@wharton.upenn.edu.

    MGMT714401 ( Syllabus )

Past Courses

  • EAS 499 - SENIOR CAPSTONE

    The Senior Capstone Project is required for all BAS degree students, in lieu of the senior design course. The Capstone Project provides an opportunity for the student to apply the theoretical ideas and tools learned from other courses. The project is usually applied, rather than theoretical, exercise, and should focus on a real world problem related to the career goals of the student. The one-semester project may be completed in either the fall or sprong term of the senior year, and must be done under the supervision of a sponsoring faculty member. To register for this course, the student must submit a detailed proposal, signed by the supervising professor, and the student's faculty advisor, to the Office of Academic Programs two weeks prior to the start of the term.

  • 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.

  • MGMT101 - INTRO TO MANAGEMENT

    We all spend much of our lives in organizations. Most of us are born in organizations, educated in organizations, and work in organizations. Organizations emerge because individuals can't (or don't want to) accomplish their goals alone. Management is the art and science of helping individuals achieve their goals together. Managers in an organization determine where their organization is going and how it gets there. More formally, managers formulate strategies and implement those strategies. This course provides a framework for understanding the opportunities and challenges involved in formulating and implementing strategies by taking a "system" view of organizations,which means that we examine multiple aspects of how managers address their environments, strategy, structure, culture, tasks, people, and outputs, and how managerial decisions made in these various domains interrelate. The course will help you to understand and analyze how managers can formulate and implement strategies effectively. It will be particularly valuable if you are interested in management consulting, investment analysis, or entrepreneurship - but it will help you to better understand and be a more effective contributor to any organizations you join, whether they are large, established firms or startups. This course must be taken for a grade.

  • 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: 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. It proceeds 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. These 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. 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. For more information, please contact the instructor: raff@wharton.upenn.edu.

  • MGMT653 - FIELD APPLICATION PROJ

    FAP is an experiential-based course where learning is done outside of the classroom. It is unique in its lack of a classroom setting all meetings take place in a professor's office in small teams of 4 to 6 students. Teams are faced withreal-time issues of outside organizations and work with faculty and host managers to construct innovative solutions. Solutions are integrative and cross-functional in nature. We encourage creative thinking giving students wide access towhat we call "area of expertise" faculty. Depending on the project scope we help students arrange meetings with professors who are experts in their field. Host organizations range from large multinational firms to start-ups. A significant percentage of the projects are with non-profits and organizations focused on social causes. Format: Teams (4-6 members) meet with faculty on a weekly basis (30-45 minutes). There are also 3-5 meetings with host managers. In addition to meeting with aFaculty Head, students are given access to "area of expertise" faculty. These faculty members are chosen based on their specific expertise. The final deliverable consists of an oral presentation and a written document. Requirements: Weekly team meetings with faculty project head and a final PowerPoint report and presentation.

  • 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: 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. It proceeds 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. These 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. 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. For more information, please contact the instructor: raff@wharton.upenn.edu.

  • 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 long first half of the course is devoted to analyzing impediments to transacting, including asymmetric information, difficulties intrinsic to contracting over time, enforceability, various forms of strategic behavior, exogenous risk, 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. In the second part of the course, student teams apply the conceptual tools and techniques developed in the first half to analyzing the fine detail of a series of recently completed and interestingly complex transactions. Each team is given access to the original documents implementing their deal. A week of class time is devoted to each transaction. In the first (Monday) session, the student teams present their deal to the class, laying out strategic motivations, analyzing key structuring moves, and exploring the advantages and disadvantages of proceeding in the way the participants did. In the second, on the Wednesday, one or (usually) more of the professionals who worked on it will present the deal from the participant perspective, address the always interesting process questions, and take questions from the class. The requirements for the class are regular attendance, active participation in class discussions, a series of homework assignments and a short individual paper in Part I, the group presentation project and a group memorandum from each deal team on what there was to be learned from the Wednesday presentation their week in Part II, and a six-hour take-home exam. 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. For more information, please contact the instructor: raff@wharton.upenn.edu.

  • MGMT891 - ADVANCED STUDY-SMGT

In the News

Knowledge @ Wharton

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

In the News

Amazon Under Fire: Is Antitrust Action Likely?

Although Amazon has faced a series of accusations by President Trump about its business practices recently, the company would likely survive any attempts to bring antitrust action against it, experts say.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2018/04/9
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