Wharton News: September 2007
Thomas S. Robertson
Thomas S. Robertson Named Dean of Wharton School
Thomas S. Robertson has been named dean of the Wharton School. Previously, he was executive faculty director of the Institute for Developing Nations at Emory University, the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Marketing at Emory, and former dean of Emory's Goizueta Business School. 1971 to 1994. Robertson was a faculty member at Wharton; he was the Pomerantz Professor of Marketing, chair of the Marketing Department, and associate dean for executive education. His appointment was effective August 1. We will be proud to welcome Dean Robertson as our speaker at our Fall Members' Meeting on Friday, October 19.
Wharton Student Recipient of ULI Kenneth M. Good Fellowship
Eulalia Massague, the Wharton MBA Real Estate Club co-president will receive $5,000 from the ULI Kenneth M. Good Graduate Student Fellowship. The fellowship program is funded from an endowment by the Good Texas Foundation and is part of ULI's ongoing efforts to build interest among young people in pursuing careers in the real estate and land use industry. Recipients were chosen based on their academic history and current standing, related work experience, career plans and goals.
Professor Gyourko in Hyderabad
The Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and the Real Estate Club at the Indian School of Business, and Indu Projects Real Estate Research Chair recently co-hosted a Real Estate and Urban Studies panel discussion in Hyderabad on "The Indian Real Estate Scenario." The highlight of the event was a special address by Joseph Gyourko, who delivered an insightful presentation on "Re-evaluating Residential and Commercial Property Markets: Implications of the On-going Re-pricing of Risks." Professor Gyourko noted, "Markets are highly idiosyncratic; however capital markets are global and so a lot of fundamentals and impacts translate across international borders."
Gyourko and Sinai on Sub-prime Crisis
Joseph Gyourko, director of the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center, and Todd Sinai, professor of real estate, spoke to Knowledge@Wharton (Sept. 5) about the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the credit crunch that has followed in its aftermath. In "Home Truths about the Housing Market," they addressed issues such as: As sales have fallen, many home builders have seen their stock prices drop by more than 60% during the past year. How serious is this situation? Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
"Predictions and Perceptions: Downloading Wisdom from Online Crowds" in the August 8, 2007 Knowledge@Wharton, concerns the work of real estate professor Albert Saiz's with Uri Simonsohn, on "prediction markets, where people bet on everything from the likelihood that a movie will be a hit to . . . whether the stock market will go up or down." By searching on the Internet, the two Wharton professors found that the more a topic (in this case, how corrupt various city governments are) is discussed online , the greater its "relative prevalence" in the real world. They wrote, "Assuming that, all else constant, the more often a phenomenon occurs, the more likely somebody is to write about it, aggregate measures of what large numbers of people write about should be correlated with the relative frequency with which the discussed phenomena have occurred."
Why Your Flight is Delayed Again!
In "Feel Free to Move About the Airport: Turbulence Continues to Roil the Airline Industry" (Knowledge@Wharton, July 25, 2007), real estate professor Todd Sinai says the industry's current problems stem, in part, from the current hub-and-spoke strategy, in which airlines collect large numbers of passengers and baggage into a single airport, collate them and send them off on connecting flights. As a result, he says, the system is "very sensitive to hiccups" such as bad weather. Sinai recommends operating fewer flights with bigger planes at lower frequency and doing away with low-demand destinations. His paper, "Network Effects, Congestion Externalities, and Air Traffic Delays: Or Why All Delays Are Not Evil" (with Christopher J. Mayer of Columbia Business School and the National Bureau of Economic Research) was sourced for the discussion, "Hubs, spokes and flight delays," in the website econweekly.com on Sept 7.
Rybczynski Reaps Praise for "Last Harvest"
Witold Rybczynski's new book, "Last Harvest: How a Cornfield Became New Daleville," was published in the spring. He was interviewed by Business Week, CBS's Sunday Morning, and the Portland Oregonian. The book has enjoyed great reviews in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. Rybczynski spoke about the subject of real estate development at Alumni Weekend, and has lectured at Town Hall in Seattle, the Margaret Mitchell Museum in Atlanta, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in Wilmington, and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard. Rybczynski and Laurie Olin lectured on their book, "Vizcaya" at the Institute for Classical Architecture in New York. Rybczynski was invited to serve on the jury for ULI's J.C. Nichols Prize. This year he was made an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and received Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement from the AIA. Prof.
At the University of Pennsylvania, Rybczynski delivered the semester's first City Planning lecture on September 6 along with New Daleville developer Joseph Duckworth, president of Arcadia Land Company.
Wachter Comments on Subprime Lending Mess
Real Estate Professor Susan Wachter commented in the September 19, 2007 Knowledge@Wharton, on "How We Got into the Subprime Lending Mess." The meltdown is "the realization of my worst nightmares, the extent of the negative impacts on the rest of the economy. The degree and the extent of the harm done were not expected. It surprised me. But the fact that this would end badly was not surprising." The article continued, "Downturns in the mortgage and housing markets have caused economic problems before, but the current situation is the first of its kind, underscoring the profound changes in these markets, she said. 'In the past, these kinds of events have led to downturns in the overall economy through a credit crunch in the banking sector. This will be the first time it is through a credit crunch in the non-banking sector of finance, if it happens.'"
Her views on the subprime meltdown and other topics were also cited in the following (among others): Reuters; CNN Outlook; International Herald Tribune; The New York Times; CNBC; Chicago Tribune; All Things Considered NPR; Los Angeles Times; The Philadelphia Inquirer; International Business Times; The Christian Science Monitor; Bloomberg Radio; Financial Times Deutschland; Financial Post; SouthCoastToday.com; Providence Business News; The Daily Start; Pittsburg Post-Gazette; Korean Mail Business Daily; and Inman News, and in "Subprime Mortgage Meltdown", The Analyst, Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) University Press, forthcoming.
Wachter addressed the Federal Reserve's Jackson Hole (Wyo.) Symposium on Housing, Housing Finance and Monetary Policy in early September, on the opening panel with chairman Bernanke. Dr. Wachter's address was covered in more than twenty media outlets, including Bloomberg TV. She was quoted three times in The New York Times recently for subprime mortgage research, on commercial real estate trends and for her work with real estate professor Grace Wong on greening in Philadelphia.
Banc of America's Homebuilder conference on current housing market and mortgage trends (June 1).