Karthik Ramanna

Professor of Business and Public Policy, Director of the Master of Public Policy

Effective September 2016, Karthik Ramanna is Professor of Business & Public Policy and Director of the Master of Public Policy Programme at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.

Karthik joins Oxford after nearly a decade on the faculty of Harvard Business School. At Harvard, he also held the Henry B. Arthur Fellowship in ethics, the Marvin Bower Fellowship recognizing innovative faculty research, and a visiting fellowship at the Kennedy School of Government. Additionally, he is a faculty associate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Karthik’s scholarship explores the role of business leadership in shaping the basic rules that govern capital-market societies. His book Political Standards (University of Chicago Press) studies the political and economic forces that have shaped corporate financial reporting standards over the last 30 years. He argues that accounting rulemaking is an allegory for the “thin political markets” where businesses shape – and sometimes subvert – the essential technical edifices of our economy.

At Harvard, Karthik taught the required MBA course Leadership & Corporate Accountability, where he helped build a curriculum to develop leaders who can confront the 21st century’s most challenging problems, including institutional corruption and income inequality. He has also taught accounting, finance, and general management to graduate students and senior executives.

Karthik has authored over two-dozen HBS case materials and over a dozen original research articles in leading professional outlets such as the Accounting Review, the California Management Review, and the Harvard Business Review. His scholarship has won awards from numerous bodies such as the American Accounting Association. Karthik serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, including as co-editor of the interdisciplinary journal Accounting, Economics & Law and as associate editor of the Journal of Accounting & Economics, the most-cited outlet in that field.

To more directly impact business policy, Karthik occasionally writes for the popular press, including the New York Times and the Economic Times. He has also consulted with the Brookings Institution, the Center for Audit Quality, and several leading auditing and financial firms.  

Karthik received his Ph.D. in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is an American citizen.

Book

  • Political Standards: Corporate Interest, Ideology, and Leadership in the Shaping of Accounting Rules for the Market Economy, The University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Articles and Comments

  • A Moment to Reform Accounting Rulemaking?,” Pro-Market: Blog of the University of Chicago George Stigler Center June 5, 2016.
  • Allen Dreschel and Karthik Ramanna, “The Quiet War on Corporate Accountability,” The New York Times April 26, 2016: A23.
  • “Ruling From the Shadows,” The New York Times November 22, 2015: SR6 (Sunday Review).
  • “Is a Promotion Worth Hiding Who You Are?” Harvard Business Review 93, no. 10, October 2015: 123 - 127.
  • “Book Review of Kunio Ito and Makoto Nakano (eds.), ‘International Perspectives on Accounting and Corporate Behavior’,” The Accounting Review 90, no. 3, May 2015.
  • “Thin Political Markets: The Soft Underbelly of Capitalism,” California Management Review (2015) 57, no. 2: 5 - 19.
  • Rebecca Henderson and Karthik Ramanna, “Do Managers Have a Role to Play in Sustaining the Institutions of Capitalism?,” Brookings Initiative on 21st Century Capitalism (2015) Art. 20: 1 - 20.
  • Karthik Ramanna and Ewa Sletten, “Network Effects in Countries’ Adoption of IFRS,” The Accounting Review (2014) 89, no. 4: 1517 - 1543.
  • S.P. Kothari and Karthik Ramanna, “On Section 377, A Call to Leadership,” Mid Day January 31, 2014:12 (National).
  • “Why ‘Fair Value’ Is the Rule: How a Controversial Accounting Approach Gained Support.” Harvard Business Review 91, no. 3, March 2013: 99 - 101.
  • Paul Healy and Karthik Ramanna, “When the Crowd Fights Corruption.” Harvard Business Review 91, nos. 1/2, January–February 2013: 122 - 129.
  • Abigail Allen and Karthik Ramanna, “Towards an Understanding of the Role of Standard Setters in Standard Setting,” Journal of Accounting & Economics (2013) 55, no. 1:  66 - 90.
    • Journal of Accounting & Economics Editors’ Choice Article.
  • “A Framework for Research on Corporate Accountability Reporting,” Accounting Horizons (2013) 27, no. 2: 409 - 432.
  • “The International Politics of IFRS Harmonization,” Accounting, Economics and Law—A Convivium (2013) 3, no. 2: 1 - 46.
  • Karthik Ramanna and Ross Watts, “Evidence on the Use of Unverifiable Estimates in Required Goodwill Impairment,” Review of Accounting Studies (2012) 17, no. 4: 749 - 780.
  • “Business leaders are more than profiteers, as they deliver growth in an efficient, fair manner,” The Economic Times December 4, 2012: 8 (Career & Business).
  • “The Question of IFRS Adoption: A Very Long Engagement,” The CPA Journal 82, no. 4, April 2012.
  • S.P. Kothari, Karthik Ramanna, and Douglas Skinner, “Implications for GAAP from an Analysis of Positive Research in Accounting,” Journal of Accounting & Economics (2010) 50, nos. 2-3:  246 - 286.
  • Karthik Ramanna and Sugata Roychowdhury, “Elections and Discretionary Accruals:  Evidence from 2004,” Journal of Accounting Research (2010) 48, no. 2:  445 - 475.
  • “The Implications of Unverifiable Fair-value Accounting:  Evidence from the Political Economy of Goodwill Accounting,” Journal of Accounting & Economics (2008) 45, nos. 2-3:  253 - 281.
    • Winner of the Journal of Accounting & Economics Best Paper Prize.
    • Winner of the American Accounting Association FARS Best Dissertation Award.

Teaching Materials

  • “Against the Grain: Jim Teague in Tanzania (A),” Harvard Business School Case 112-069 (March 28, 2012) [Rev. October 2, 2012] [8].
  • “Against the Grain: Jim Teague in Tanzania (B),” Harvard Business School Case 113-042 (October 2, 2012) [1].
  • “Against the Grain: Jim Teague in Tanzania (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 112-112 (June 3, 2012) [6].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Matthew Shaffer, “AIG and the American Taxpayers (A),” Harvard Business School Case 113-124 (April 4, 2013) [Rev. June 18, 2013] [23].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Matthew Shaffer, “AIG and the American Taxpayers (B),” Harvard Business School Case 113-125 (April 4, 2013) [2].
  • Karthik Ramanna, Sandra Sucher, and Ian McKown Cornell, “Business and Government: Campaign Contributions and Lobbying in the United States,” Harvard Business School Technical Note 113-037 (March 21, 2013) [Rev. August 18, 2014] [26].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Sandra Sucher, “Business and Government: Campaign Contributions and Lobbying in the United States (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 113-138 (June 3, 2013) [Rev. March 10, 2015] [9].
  • Karthik Ramanna and G.A. Donovan, “Caijing Magazine (A),” Harvard Business School Case 112-028 (February 24, 2012) [Rev. October 3, 2012] [20].
  • Karthik Ramanna and G.A. Donovan, “Caijing Magazine (B),” Harvard Business School Case 112-049 (February 24, 2012) [Rev. July 30, 2012] [4].
  • “Caijing Magazine: Video Interview with Wang Boming,” Harvard Business School Video Supplement 113-701 (July 27, 2012) [17 minutes].
  • “Caijing Magazine (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 112-111 (June 3, 2012) [12].
  • “Caijing Magazine and Rospil.info Combined Case Discussion (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 113-141 (June 3, 2013) [8].
  • “Cameron Trebbi at Taylor Lowell, LLP,” Harvard Business School Case 115-026 (December 2, 2014) [2].
  • Karthik Ramanna, Gwen Yu, and G.A. Donovan, “China or the World? A Financial Reporting Strategy for Hong Kong’s Capital Markets,” Harvard Business School Case 112-035 (October 4, 2011) [Rev. August 1, 2013] [25].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Gwen Yu, “China or the World? A Financial Reporting Strategy for Hong Kong’s Capital Markets (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 112-113 (June 3, 2012) [8].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Beiting Cheng, “Choosing a GAAP for Canada,” Harvard Business School Case 110-023 (August 26, 2009) [Rev. July 1, 2010] [16].
  • David Hawkins, Karthik Ramanna, Nobuo Sato, and Mayuka Yamazaki, “Deferred Tax Assets in Basel III:  Lessons from Japan,” Harvard Business School Case 111-076 (February 27, 2011) [Rev. July 28, 2011] [25].
  • David Hawkins and Karthik Ramanna, “Deferred Tax Assets in Basel III:  Lessons from Japan (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 112-114 (June 9, 2012) [9].
  • “Dylan Pierce at Hanguk Industries,” Harvard Business School Case 115-024 (December 1, 2014) [10].
  • “Dylan Pierce at Hanguk Industries (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 115-053 (April 27, 2015) [8].
  • “The Future of Financial Reporting,” Harvard Business School Multimedia/Video Case 110-701 (January 1, 2010) [90 minutes].
  • “The Future of Financial Reporting (CW),” Harvard Business School Case Courseware 109-704 (February 18, 2009) [10]. 
  • “The Future of Financial Reporting (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 110-006 (January 21, 2010) [10].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Rachna Tahilyani, “I Paid a Bribe (Dot) Com,” Harvard Business School Case 112-078 (June 29, 2012) [Rev. March 28, 2014] [30].
  • Karthik Ramanna, Karol Misztal, and Daniela Beyersdorfer, “The IASB at a Crossroads:  The Future of International Financial Reporting Standards (A),” Harvard Business School Case 111-084 (March 11, 2011) [Rev. March 27, 2014] [32].
  • Karthik Ramanna, Karol Misztal, and Daniela Beyersdorfer, “The IASB at a Crossroads:  The Future of International Financial Reporting Standards (B),” Harvard Business School Case 113-089 (January 16, 2013) [Rev. March 27, 2014] [10].
  • “The IASB at a Crossroads:  The Future of International Financial Reporting Standards (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 111-095 (March 16, 2011) [Rev. January 23, 2015] [14].
  • Karthik Ramanna, G.A. Donovan, and Nancy Hua Dai, “IFRS in China,” Harvard Business School Case 110-037 (November 9, 2009) [Rev. August 1, 2013] [16].
  • “IFRS in China (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 110-039 (January 29, 2010) [7].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Jérôme Lenhardt, “IKEA in Saudi Arabia (A),” Harvard Business School Case 116-015 (January 2016) [24].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Jérôme Lenhardt, “IKEA in Saudi Arabia (B),” Harvard Business School Case 116-016 (January 2016) [2].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Jérôme Lenhardt, “IKEA in Saudi Arabia (C),” Harvard Business School Case 116-017 (January 2016) [4].
  • “IKEA in Saudi Arabia (A), (B), and (C) (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 116-062 (June 2016) [7].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Rachna Tahilyani, “Leadership in Corporate Reporting Policy at Tata Steel,” Harvard Business School Case 111-028 (September 23, 2010) [Rev. May 27, 2011] [22].
  • “Leadership in Corporate Reporting Policy at Tata Steel (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 111-096 (March 18, 2011) [8].
  • “Lobbying at eCab,” Harvard Business School Case 115-025 (November 13, 2014) [2].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Radhika Kak, “The Maggi Noodle Safety Crisis in India (A),” Harvard Business School Case 116-013 (February 2016) [24].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Radhika Kak, “The Maggi Noodle Safety Crisis in India (B),” Harvard Business School Case 116-014 (February 2016) [3].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Radhika Kak, “The Maggi Noodle Safety Crisis in India (C),” Harvard Business School Case 116-038 (February 2016) [5].
  • “The Maggi Noodle Safety Crisis in India (A), (B), and (C) (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 116-049 (March 2016) [15].
  • Rebecca Henderson and Karthik Ramanna, “Managers and Market Capitalism,” Harvard Business School Module Note 112-043 (January 21, 2012) [Rev. March 31, 2014] [15].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Matthew Shaffer, “A Politician in a Leather Suit and the Paradox of Japanese Capitalism,” Harvard Business School Case 113-026 (October 3, 2012) [Rev. August 1, 2013] [25].
  • “A Politician in a Leather Suit and the Paradox of Japanese Capitalism (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 113-139 (June 2, 2013) [8].
  • “The Politics and Economics of Accounting for Goodwill at Cisco Systems (A),” Harvard Business School Case 109-002 (July 1, 2008) [10].
  • “The Politics and Economics of Accounting for Goodwill at Cisco Systems (B),” Harvard Business School Case 109-003 (July 1, 2008) [2].
  • “The Politics and Economics of Accounting for Goodwill at Cisco Systems (A) and (B) (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 109-004 (July 1, 2008) [13].
  • “The Politics and Economics of Accounting for Goodwill at Cisco Systems (A) and (B) (CW),” Harvard Business School Spreadsheet Supplement 109-702 (July 1, 2008).
  • “The Politics and Economics of Accounting for Goodwill at Cisco Systems (A) and (B) Teaching Note (CW),” Harvard Business School Spreadsheet Supplement 109-703.
  • Karthik Ramanna and Luis Viceira, “The Private Company Council,” Harvard Business School Case 113-045 (January 7, 2013) [20].
  • “Responsibilities to Society: The Capitalist’s Contract,” Harvard Business School Module Note 115-012 (July 20, 2014) [Rev. November 26, 2014] [11].
  • Paul Healy, Karthik Ramanna, and Matthew Shaffer, “Rospil.info,” Harvard Business School Case 112-033 (February 14, 2012) [Rev. June 4, 2012] [22].
  • Karthik Ramanna and Matthew Shaffer, “Tapestry Networks,” Harvard Business School Case 114-051 (April 11, 2014) [24].
  • Karthik Ramanna, George Serafeim, and Aldo Sesia, “Urban Water Partners (A),” Harvard Business School Case 111-016 (August 13, 2010) [Rev. January 28, 2013] [11].
  • Karthik Ramanna, George Serafeim, and Aldo Sesia, “Urban Water Partners (B),” Harvard Business School Case 111-029 (August 13, 2010) [Rev. January 24, 2013] [2].
  • Karthik Ramanna and George Serafeim, “Urban Water Partners (A) and (B) (TN),” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 111-067 (December 9, 2010) [10].
  • Karthik Ramanna and George Serafeim, “Urban Water Partners (A) (CW),” Harvard Business School Spreadsheet Supplement 111-701 (August 25, 2010) [Rev. December 13, 2010].
  • Karthik Ramanna and George Serafeim, “Urban Water Partners (B) (CW),” Harvard Business School Spreadsheet Supplement 111-704 (December 13, 2010).
  • Karthik Ramanna and George Serafeim, “Urban Water Partners (A) Spreadsheet Solutions (CW),” Harvard Business School Spreadsheet Supplement 111-705.
  • Karthik Ramanna and George Serafeim, “Urban Water Partners (B) Spreadsheet Solutions (CW),” Harvard Business School Spreadsheet Supplement 111-706.
  • Karthik Ramanna and Vidhya Muthuram, “Wal-Mart Lobbying in India?” Harvard Business School Case 114-023 (September 6, 2013) [Rev. January 16, 2015] [24].
  • “Wal-Mart Lobbying in India? (TN)” Harvard Business School Teaching Note 114-091 (May 2, 2014) [10].

Current Working Papers

  • Sudarshan Jayaraman, S.P. Kothari, and Karthik Ramanna, “Capture and Competition.”
  • Abigail Allen, Karthik Ramanna, and Sugata Roychowdhury, “Auditor Lobbying and Accounting Standards.”
  • Winner of the American Accounting Association Western Conference Best Paper Award.
  • “The Fall of ‘Reliability’ in the FASB’s Conceptual Framework: Towards an Understanding of Ideological Capture in Accounting Regulation.”
  • Jonas Heese, Mozaffar Khan, and Karthik Ramanna, “Politically Connected Firms and SEC Comment Letters.”
  • Hui Chen, Katherine Gunny, and Karthik Ramanna, “Return on Political Investment in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.”
  • Herman “Dutch” Leonard and Karthik Ramanna, “What is Corruption?”
  • Paul Healy, Rebecca Henderson, David Moss, and Karthik Ramanna, “A Crisis in the Theory of the Firm?”

For diary, meeting and other general enquiries email: Ramanna.pa@bsg.ox.ac.uk