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Earlier this year, one of China’s biggest real estate developers, China Vanke Co., announced its entry into the U.S. housing market -- a partnership with New York-based Tishman Speyer Properties to build luxury condos in San Francisco. What do developers from China -- and elsewhere -- see in the U.S. market, which has experienced considerable volatility? According to speakers at a Wharton real estate forum, produced in collaboration with Chinese real estate firm E-House, changing demographics, pent-up demand and limited supply suggest that more housing is needed in the U.S., and consumers are looking for new options in housing and lifestyle.
Just what exactly should we make of Bitcoin? The once-obscure digital currency has had quite a ride, with the value of a single Bitcoin soaring from $13 in January to a peak of $237 by mid-April before collapsing to $83 in a day and then recovering to around $134. The roller-coaster ride has raised many questions. Is Bitcoin a legitimate alternative currency -- an online replacement for dollars and euros, as backers claim? Or are we witnessing a giant bubble waiting to burst?
Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie once said that he who dies leaving behind many millions will "pass away unwept, unhonored and unsung." That philosophy took root in much of the last century, with major philanthropists giving vast fortunes in their later years to institutions devoted to the public good. But donors today aren't taking any chances. They are integrating the practice of philanthropy into their education and flexing philanthropic muscle at a younger age than their predecessors.
Facebook's launch of Facebook Home, a user interface that can replace the existing home screen on select smartphones with features related to the social network, may give the company a solid mobile strategy while potentially causing a headache for rival Google, Wharton experts say. It may also usher in a wave of new, innovative user interfaces for mobile devices.
Everyone pays a price for road congestion, whether it's the tangible frustration felt by motorists or the substantial economic costs due to lost productivity. In a new working paper, Wharton real estate professor Gilles Duranton and his co-authors say that building more roads or expanding mass transit are not effective solutions to combating traffic. Instead, they suggest that cities need to take steps to adjust driver demand for travel to congested areas.
Is microfinance an effective tool for bringing people out of poverty? Despite initial success, microfinance institutions have been criticized by many studies for not delivering on their earlier promise. David Roodman, keynote speaker at the 2013 Penn Microfinance Conference, took a rigorous look at some of these studies, and concluded that the yardsticks for measuring success in the microfinance sector are more complex than people realize.
On April 10, President Barack Obama released his budget proposal for fiscal 2014, which included a controversial plan to change how Social Security benefits are calculated. Rather than using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security, the President proposed switching to "chained CPI," which would take into account the possibility that when prices rise for certain goods and services, consumers buy cheaper products instead. Experts from Wharton and elsewhere weigh in on what this change -- and others -- could mean for retirees and the Social Security system.
Knowledge@Wharton, is the online research and business analysis journal of the Wharton School. By free registration, you could view and search all the articles on the website and receive our free newsletters every other week on the new issue.