J. Gunnar Trumbull

Philip Caldwell Professor of Business Administration

Gunnar Trumbull is a Professor at the Harvard Business School, where he teaches in the Business, Government, and the International Economy area. Trumbull graduated from Harvard College in 1991 and earned a Ph.D. in political science from M.I.T. in 1999. He joined the Harvard Business School faculty in 2001, where his research focuses on European political economy.

Trumbull's core interest is with consumer politics. He is author of Consumer Capitalism: Politics, Product Markets, and Firm Strategy in France and Germany (Cornell University Press, 2006), which explores the political roots of consumer protection policies that emerged in France and Germany beginning in the 1970s. He is also the author of two new books. Strength in Numbers: The Political Power of Weak Interests (Harvard University Press, 2012) investigates the sources of interest group influence on in public policy. He argues that diffuse groups like consumers are more influential, and industry less influential, than we commonly assume. Consumer Credit in Postwar America and France: The Political Construction of Economic Interest (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming) explores the politics and business of consumer lending over the 20th century. He argues that America came to see credit as a form of welfare policy that could take the place of an expansive welfare state.

Trumbull also conducts research on technology policy. His book Silicon and the State: French Innovation Policy in the Internet Age (2004) traces France's policy response in the late-1990s to the apparent success of the Silicon Valley model of technology innovation.

Featured Work

  1. Strength in Numbers: The Political Power of Weak Interests

    Many consumers feel powerless in the face of big industry’s interests. And the dominant view of economic regulators (influenced by Mancur Olson’s book The Logic of Collective Action, published in 1965) agrees with them. According to this view, diffuse interests like those of consumers are too difficult to organize and too weak to influence public policy, which is determined by the concentrated interests of industrial-strength players. Gunnar Trumbull makes the case that this view represents a misreading of both the historical record and the core logic of interest representation. Weak interests, he reveals, quite often emerge the victors in policy battles.

    Based on a cross-national set of empirical case studies focused on the consumer, retail, credit, pharmaceutical, and agricultural sectors, Strength in Numbers develops an alternative model of interest representation. The central challenge in influencing public policy, Trumbull argues, is not organization but legitimation. How do diffuse consumer groups convince legislators that their aims are more legitimate than industry’s? By forging unlikely alliances among the main actors in the process: activists, industry, and regulators. Trumbull explains how these “legitimacy coalitions” form around narratives that tie their agenda to a broader public interest, such as expanded access to goods or protection against harm. Successful legitimizing tactics explain why industry has been less powerful than is commonly thought in shaping agricultural policy in Europe and pharmaceutical policy in the United States. In both instances, weak interests carried the day.

  2. Consumer Capitalism: Politics, Product Markets, and Firm Strategy in France and Germany

    "The unfettered marketplace, in which uncertainty rules and the admonition caveat emptor ('let the buyer beware') dictates each consumer decision, has today virtually disappeared. Consumers have become the focus of intensive economic policymaking designed to protect them from the risks and disappointments of the market. . . . Today, arguably no other economic actor in the advanced industrial countries—not the investor, not the worker, not the welfare recipient—enjoys a more thorough set of legal and institutional protections than the modern consumer when he or she enters the corner store."—from the Introduction

    Gunnar Trumbull investigates the origins of national systems of consumer protection in France and Germany, where, in the early 1970s, consumer groups and producers organized to advance their own ideas about the identity and interests of the affluent consumer. Through a comparison of eight areas of policy—product liability law, product safety standards and recall, misleading advertising, comparative product tests, product labeling, quality standards, consumer contracts, and pricing—Trumbull shows that different conceptions of the consumer interest emerged in the two countries. The result was the development of distinctive national consumption regimes, which have in turn influenced the market strategies of domestic producers.

    Trumbull's findings help to clarify distinctive national approaches to recent product crises—including cases of BSE and genetically modified foods. His research suggests that, in the age of consumer capitalism, national competitiveness may hinge not only on endowments of labor and capital, but also on the institutional forms of national consumption.

Publications

Books

  1. Consumer Lending in France and America: Credit and Welfare

    Why did America embrace consumer credit over the course of the twentieth century, when most other countries did not? How did American policy makers by the late twentieth century come to believe that more credit would make even poor families better off? This book traces the historical emergence of modern consumer lending in America and France. If Americans were profligate in their borrowing, the French were correspondingly frugal. Comparison of the two countries reveals that America's love affair with credit was not primarily the consequence of its culture of consumption, as many writers have observed, nor directly a consequences of its less generous welfare state. It emerged instead from evolving coalitions between fledgling consumer lenders seeking to make their business socially acceptable and a range of non-governmental groups working to promote public welfare, labor, and minority rights. In France, where a similar coalition did not emerge, consumer credit continued to be perceived as economically regressive and socially risky.

    Keywords: Attitudes; Credit; France; United States;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. Consumer Lending in France and America: Credit and Welfare. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
  2. Strength in Numbers: The Political Power of Weak Interests

    This book investigates the sources of interest group influence on public policy. Trumbull argues that diffuse groups like consumers are more influential, and industry less influential, than we commonly assume.

    Keywords: Government and Politics; Interests; Power and Influence; Demand and Consumers; Policy;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar. Strength in Numbers: The Political Power of Weak Interests. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.
  3. Consumer Capitalism: Politics, Product Markets, and Firm Strategy in France and Germany

    Keywords: Customers; Economic Systems; Product; Markets; Strategy; France; Germany;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar. Consumer Capitalism: Politics, Product Markets, and Firm Strategy in France and Germany. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006.
  4. Silicon and the State: French Innovation Policy in the Internet Age

    Keywords: Innovation and Invention; Policy; Online Technology; France;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar. Silicon and the State: French Innovation Policy in the Internet Age. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2004.

Journal Articles

  1. A Brief Postwar History of U.S. Consumer Finance

    In this brief history of U.S. consumer finance since World War II, the sector is defined based on the functions delivered by firms in the form of payments, savings and investing, borrowing, managing risk, and providing advice. Evidence of major trends in consumption, savings, and borrowing is drawn from time-series studies. An examination of consumer decisions, changes in regulation, and business practices identifies four major themes that characterized the consumer-finance sector: innovation that increased the choices available to consumers; enhanced access in the form of consumers' broadening participation in financial activities; do-it-yourself consumer finance, which both allowed and forced consumers to take greater responsibility for their own financial lives; and a resultant increase in household risk taking.

    Keywords: consumer finance; Consumer credit; u.s. history; Consumer Behavior; Personal Finance; Credit; Trends; United States;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, and Peter Tufano. "A Brief Postwar History of U.S. Consumer Finance." Business History Review 85, no. 3 (Fall 2011): 461–498.
  2. Credit Access and Social Welfare: The Rise of Consumer Lending in the United States and France

    Research into the causes of the 2008 financial crisis has drawn attention to a link between growing income inequality in the United States and high household indebtedness. Most accounts trace the U.S. idea of credit-as-welfare to the period of wage stagnation and welfare retrenchment that began in the early 1970s. Using France as a comparison case, I argue that the link between credit and welfare was not unique to the United States. Indeed, U.S. charitable lending institutions that emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century were modeled in part on older French financial institutions. Three historical factors drove U.S. lenders and policymakers to push for expanded credit access for the working class. First, welfare reformers in the interwar period embraced private credit as an alternative to an expansive welfare state. Second, U.S. organized labor in the wake of World War II embraced credit access as a means to sustain industrial employment and finance strike actions. Third, commercial banks in the 1950s began offering revolving credit accounts as a means to attract new depositors at a time when banking regulation restricted the interest they could offer on deposits.

    Keywords: Credit; Welfare or Wellbeing; Borrowing and Debt; France; United States;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar. "Credit Access and Social Welfare: The Rise of Consumer Lending in the United States and France." Politics & Society 40, no. 1 (2012).
  3. Varieties of Consumerism

    Keywords: Customers;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar. "Varieties of Consumerism." Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte (spring 2006).
  4. Policy Activism in a Globalized Economy: France's 35-hour Work Week

    Keywords: Policy; Globalization; Economy; France;

  5. More Trade, Safer Products

    Keywords: Trade; Product;

Book Chapters

  1. Banking on Consumer Credit: Explaining Patterns of Household Borrowing in the United States and France

    Keywords: Credit; Commercial Banking; Personal Finance; Borrowing and Debt; Financing and Loans; Consumer Behavior; Banking Industry; United States; France;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "Banking on Consumer Credit: Explaining Patterns of Household Borrowing in the United States and France." Chap. 7 in The Development of Consumer Credit in Global Perspective: Business, Regulation, and Culture, edited by Jan Logemann. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
  2. Consumer Policy: Business and the Politics of Consumption

    Keywords: Demand and Consumers; Policy;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "Consumer Policy: Business and the Politics of Consumption." Chap. 26 in The Oxford Handbook of Business and Government, edited by David Coen, Wyn Grant, and Graham Wilson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  3. Between Global and Local: The Invention of Data Privacy in the United States and France

    Keywords: Social Issues; Knowledge Management; Information Management; Rights; United States; France;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "Between Global and Local: The Invention of Data Privacy in the United States and France." In The Voice of the Citizen Consumer, edited by K. Bruckweh. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  4. The Surprise of Collective Action: Consumer Mobilization in France, 1970-1985

    Keywords: History; Demand and Consumers; France;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar. "The Surprise of Collective Action: Consumer Mobilization in France, 1970-1985." In Affluence and Activism: Organized Consumers in the Post-War Era, edited by Even Lange and Iselin Theien. Oslo: Unipub, 2004.
  5. Strategies of Consumer Group Mobilization

    Keywords: Customer Relationship Management; Consumer Behavior; Marketing Strategy; Groups and Teams;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar. "Strategies of Consumer Group Mobilization." In Material Politics: The State and Consumer Society, edited by Martin Daunton and Matthew Hilton. Oxford: Berg, 2000.
  6. Divergent Paths of Product Market Regulation in France and Germany, 1970-1990

    Keywords: Product Marketing; France; Germany;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar. "Divergent Paths of Product Market Regulation in France and Germany, 1970-1990." In Global Political Economy: Among and Within Nations, edited by Stuart S. Nagel. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2000.
  7. Wage Bargaining, Labour Markets and Macroeconomic Performance in the Netherlands

    Keywords: Labor and Management Relations; Macroeconomics; Performance; Netherlands;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar, Anne Wren, Bob Hancke, and David Soskice. "Wage Bargaining, Labour Markets and Macroeconomic Performance in the Netherlands." In The German and Dutch Economies: Who Follows Whom? edited by Lei Delsen and Eelke de Jong. New York: Physica-Verlag, 1998.

Working Papers

  1. A Brief Postwar History of U.S. Consumer Finance

    This article describes the consumer finance sector in the US since World War II. We first define the sector in terms of the functions delivered by firms (payments, savings/investing, borrowing, managing risk, and providing advice.) We provide time series evidence on major trends in consumption, savings, and borrowing. Examining consumer decisions, changes in regulation, and business practices, we identify four major themes that characterize the sector: (a) innovation that increased the choices available to consumer; (b) enhanced access in the form of broadening participation of consumers in financial activities, (c) do-it-yourself consumer finance, which allowed and forced consumers to take greater responsibility for their own financial lives, and (d) the resultant increase in household risk taking.

    Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Borrowing and Debt; Mortgages; Personal Finance; Business History; Innovation and Invention; Risk and Uncertainty; Financial Services Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Ryan, Andrea, Gunnar Trumbull, and Peter Tufano. "A Brief Postwar History of U.S. Consumer Finance." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 11-058, December 2010.
  2. Regulating for Legitimacy: Consumer Credit Access in France and America

    Theories of legitimate regulation have emphasized the role of governments either in fixing market failures to promote greater efficiency or in restricting the efficient functioning of markets in order to pursue public welfare goals. In either case, features of markets serve to justify regulatory intervention. I argue that this causal logic must sometimes be reversed. For certain areas of regulation, its function must be understood as making markets legitimate. Based on a comparative historical analysis of consumer lending in the United States and France, I argue that national differences in the regulation of consumer credit had their roots in the historical conditions by which the small loan sector came to be legitimized. Americans have supported a liberal regulation of credit because they have been taught that access to credit is welfare promoting. This perception emerged from a historical coalition between commercial banks and NGOs that promoted credit as the solution to a range of social ills. The French regulate credit tightly because they came to see credit as both economically risky and a source of reduced purchasing power. This attitude has its roots in the early postwar lending environment, in which loans were seen to be beneficial only if they were accompanied by strong government protections. These cases suggest that national differences in regulation may trace to historically contingent conditions under which markets are constructed as legitimate.

    Keywords: Borrowing and Debt; Credit; Financial Markets; Personal Finance; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Business History; Business and Government Relations; Welfare or Wellbeing; France; United States;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "Regulating for Legitimacy: Consumer Credit Access in France and America." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 11-047, November 2010.
  3. From Rents to Risks: France's New Innovation Policy

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar. "From Rents to Risks: France's New Innovation Policy." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 04-020, October 2003.
  4. The Rise of Consumer Politics: Market Institutions and Product Choice in Postwar France and Germany

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar. "The Rise of Consumer Politics: Market Institutions and Product Choice in Postwar France and Germany." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 03-054, October 2002.

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Europe: An Ever Closer Union?

    In 2010, the European Union faces the challenges of the global financial crisis. With 27 member states, each facing different challenges, can new EU institutions respond effectively? Will its new currency, the euro, survive?

    Keywords: Financial Crisis; Money; Trade; Currency; Policy; Government and Politics; European Union;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, Gunnar, Jonathan Schlefer, and Diane Choi. "Europe: An Ever Closer Union?" Harvard Business School Case 713-085, April 2013.
  2. Note on the Arab Spring

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, and Jonathan Schlefer. "Note on the Arab Spring." Harvard Business School Background Note 712-055, April 2012.
  3. Fraunhofer: Innovation in Germany (TN)

    Teaching Note for 711022.

    Keywords: Innovation and Invention; Germany;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., and J. Gunnar Trumbull. "Fraunhofer: Innovation in Germany (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-063, March 2011. (Revised March 2012.)
  4. Fraunhofer: Innovation in Germany

    Fraunhofer is one of the largest applied research organizations in the world. With 17,000 employees and a 1.6 billion euros budget, Fraunhofer has 60 institutes in Germany that cover most fields of science. The case examines the consequences that Fraunhofer has for the competitiveness of the German economy. It also explores whether the organization of R&D is affected by the size distribution of firms as well as by institutions in labor and financial markets.

    Keywords: Economy; Entrepreneurship; Financial Markets; Government and Politics; Labor; Markets; Outcome or Result; Research and Development; Competitive Strategy; Germany;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., J. Gunnar Trumbull, and Kerry Yang. "Fraunhofer: Innovation in Germany." Harvard Business School Case 711-022, March 2011. (Revised March 2012.)
  5. The Political Economy of Carbon Trading

    Global climate change is an increasingly prominent political and business problem. Design of market-based systems to reduce carbon emissions has proven difficult. More broadly, national attempts to comply with the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol present both governments and firms with significant challenges. The design of international institutions that will be useful for managing change after the Kyoto period is a challenge both for Kyoto ratifiers and for countries like the United States that have not ratified the agreement. Creation of a post-Kyoto treaty on climate change requires agreement by China and the United States, the world's largest carbon emitters. The case summarizes the science and economics of climate change and encourages readers to contemplate the strategic and risk management problems that it presents to government officials and to business leaders in developed countries and in the developing world.

    Keywords: Policy; International Relations; Risk Management; Agreements and Arrangements; Business and Government Relations; Natural Environment; Pollution and Pollutants; Weather and Climate Change; Environmental Sustainability; Public Administration Industry;

    Citation:

    Reinhardt, Forest L., J. Gunnar Trumbull, Mikell Hyman, Patia McGrath, and Nazli Zeynep Uludere. "The Political Economy of Carbon Trading." Harvard Business School Case 710-056, February 2010. (Revised April 2011.)
  6. Santander Consumer Finance (TN)

    Teaching Note for 711015.

    Keywords: Organizational Structure; Expansion; Decisions; Economic Slowdown and Stagnation; Credit; Growth and Development; Personal Finance; Management Practices and Processes; Banking Industry; Spain;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "Santander Consumer Finance (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-093, April 2011.
  7. ABB: 'In China, for China'

    ABB, a power and automation Swiss engineering company had to decide if they wanted to be even more integrated into the Chinese economy, ABB's biggest market, or if they should instead increase their presence in other emerging markets such as India and Brazil.

    Keywords: History; Multinational Firms and Management; Engineering; Problems and Challenges; Competitive Strategy; Emerging Markets; Global Strategy; Growth and Development Strategy; Industrial Products Industry; China; India; Brazil;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, Elena Corsi, and Elisa Farri. "ABB: 'In China, for China'." Harvard Business School Case 711-044, November 2010. (Revised December 2012.)
  8. European Union: The Road to Lisbon (TN)

    Teaching Note for 711032.

    Keywords: Currency; Financial Crisis; Problems and Challenges; Performance Effectiveness; Portugal;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, and Diane Choi. "European Union: The Road to Lisbon (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-091, April 2011.
  9. The Euro in Crisis: Decision Time at the European Central Bank (TN)

    Teaching Note for 711049.

    Keywords: Currency; Central Banking; Borrowing and Debt; Decisions; Banking Industry;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, Dante Roscini, and Diane Choi. "The Euro in Crisis: Decision Time at the European Central Bank (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-094, April 2011.
  10. Common Agricultural Policy and the Future of French Farming (TN)

    Teaching Note for 707027.

    Keywords: Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; France; European Union;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, and Diane Choi. "Common Agricultural Policy and the Future of French Farming (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-101, April 2011.
  11. The Financial Crisis of 2008 (TN)

    Teaching Note for 709036.

    Keywords: Financial Crisis;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "The Financial Crisis of 2008 (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-092, April 2011.
  12. Consumer Lending in Japan: Citi CFJ (TN) (A) & (B)

    Teaching Note for 709017 and 710018.

    Keywords: Profit; Saving; Situation or Environment; Mergers and Acquisitions; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Japan;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "Consumer Lending in Japan: Citi CFJ (TN) (A) & (B)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-102, April 2011.
  13. The International Monetary Fund

    How the International Monetary Fund (IMF) defined and carried out its mandate has evolved considerably since 1944, when it was founded to serve a vital but narrow function in maintaining the global foreign exchange system and thus enabling international trade. This note gives an overview of the IMF's evolution by describing key phases in its history, including the Bretton Woods system and its collapse, the international debt crisis of the 1980s, the Washington Consensus era, and reform efforts in the 2000s.

    Keywords: History; International Finance; Globalized Economies and Regions; Trade; Financial Institutions; Macroeconomics; Financial Services Industry;

    Citation:

    Di Tella, Rafael M., J. Gunnar Trumbull, and Natalie Kindred. "The International Monetary Fund." Harvard Business School Background Note 711-040, March 2011.
  14. Fraunhofer: Five Significant Innovations

    Keywords: Innovation and Invention;

    Citation:

    Comin, Diego A., J. Gunnar Trumbull, and Kerry Yang. "Fraunhofer: Five Significant Innovations." Harvard Business School Supplement 711-058, March 2011.
  15. ABB: 'In China, for China' (TN)

    Teaching Note for 711044.

    Keywords: Industrial Products Industry; China; India; Brazil;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "ABB: 'In China, for China' (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-095, March 2011.
  16. Varieties of Capitalism

    This module, part of the second year HBS course MITI, introduces a political economy approach to analyzing national economic strategies, with a primary focus on German economic policy.

    Keywords: Economy; Markets; Curriculum and Courses; Policy; Competitive Advantage; Goals and Objectives; Geographic Location; Strategy; Germany;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "Varieties of Capitalism." Harvard Business School Module Note 711-096, March 2011.
  17. The Political Economy of Carbon Trading (TN)

    Teaching Note for 710056.

    Keywords: Weather and Climate Change; Globalization; International Relations; Problems and Challenges; Agreements and Arrangements; Risk Management; Developing Countries and Economies; System; United States; China;

    Citation:

    Reinhardt, Forest L., and J. Gunnar Trumbull. "The Political Economy of Carbon Trading (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 711-098, March 2011.
  18. The Euro in Crisis: Decision Time at the European Central Bank

    This case traces the origins and evolution of the European Central Bank, with attention to its 2010 decision concerning the purchase of Greek sovereign debt.

    Keywords: Financial Crisis; Borrowing and Debt; Currency; Central Banking; Financial Management; Sovereign Finance; Policy; Crisis Management; Europe; Greece;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, Dante Roscini, and Diane Choi. "The Euro in Crisis: Decision Time at the European Central Bank." Harvard Business School Case 711-049, December 2010. (Revised March 2011.)
  19. Santander Consumer Finance

    A Spanish company has to decide if they should expand into the fragmented European consumer finance market and has to make important organizational strategy decisions in the midst of the world economic downturn that followed the 2007 U.S. credit crunch. Since 2002, the consumer finance branch of the Spanish banking Grupo Santander, Santander Consumer Finance (SCF), had grown into one of the largest European consumer finance companies capturing the recent growth in Europe of the consumer finance market. Against a background of growing concern about the sustainability of household debt levels in Europe and the United States, in 2008 the new CEO, Magda Salarich Fernández de Valderrama, had to decide if this was the right time to expand or, if instead, she should focus on consolidation. She was also facing important organizational strategy decisions. Which functions should be left to national affiliates to decide, and which should be centralized at headquarters? What processes should be standardized, and which left to local initiatives?

    Keywords: Borrowing and Debt; Financial Markets; International Finance; Personal Finance; Consolidation; Corporate Strategy; Expansion; Financial Services Industry; European Union; Spain;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, Elena Corsi, and Andrew Barron. "Santander Consumer Finance." Harvard Business School Case 711-015, September 2010. (Revised December 2010.)
  20. Afghanistan 2006: Building a Brand New State

    In 2006, Afghanistan remains a country in turmoil. It has a newly elected democratic government, a rebounding economy, and considerable economic potential. But the country is still torn by rival factions and dominated by the opium trade. Explores how Afghanistan has been rebuilt since the U.S. invasion of 2001, and what it means to create a modern state. Can state institutions be imposed from the outside? And what are the prospects for democracy in such a perilous place?

    Keywords: Developing Countries and Economies; Economic Growth; Policy; Government and Politics; Political Elections; Organizations; Outcome or Result; Afghanistan;

    Citation:

    Maurer, Noel, Debora L. Spar, and J. Gunnar Trumbull. "Afghanistan 2006: Building a Brand New State." Harvard Business School Case 707-033, January 2007. (Revised February 2010.)
  21. Consumer Lending in Japan: Citi CFJ (A)

    Despite a tradition of high household savings, Japan has supported a dynamic and technically sophisticated consumer-lending sector. The high profitability of the sector has periodically attracted interest from domestic banks as well as international investors. Most recently, in 1998 and 2000 respectively, GE Capital and Citi Financial both acquired Japanese consumer-lending companies. In 2006, when the Japanese Supreme Court rules that one of the big Japanese consumer lenders must repay a borrower for "excess interest payments," the U.S. firms must decide how to respond.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Financing and Loans; Foreign Direct Investment; Personal Finance; Courts and Trials; Business and Government Relations; Banking Industry; Japan;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, and Akiko Kanno. "Consumer Lending in Japan: Citi CFJ (A)." Harvard Business School Case 709-017, October 2008. (Revised September 2009.)
  22. Consumer Lending in Japan: Citi CFJ (B)

    As the regulatory environment for consumer lending evolves, CFJ has to decide how to respond.

    Keywords: Personal Finance; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Risk Management; Business and Government Relations; Banking Industry; Japan;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, and Akiko Kanno. "Consumer Lending in Japan: Citi CFJ (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 710-018, September 2009.
  23. The Financial Crisis of 2008

    This case presents excerpts from the speeches of observers to the 2008 financial crisis, including former and current central bankers, a private banker, and a Nobel-prize winning economist. They present different interpretations of the causes of the financial crisis and make proposals about how a similar crisis might be stopped in the future. The goal of the case is to provide students with alternative perspectives and broad historical data so that they can evaluate both causes of and responses to the crisis.

    Keywords: Financial Crisis; Financial Management; Policy; History; Perspective;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "The Financial Crisis of 2008." Harvard Business School Case 709-036, December 2008.
  24. The European Union in the 21st Century

    Focuses on the challenges facing the European Union in 2006. Following the French and Dutch referendums in 2005, the fate of the European Constitution is in jeopardy. Ten new accession countries have just joined the EU, with Turkey in the beginning stages of the accession process. New member states and additional future members have provoked widespread debate on financial, political, and social issues. Growth within the EU has been sluggish, with high unemployment and low investment in R&D. The EU has launched a set of reforms to create a "single passport" system of mutual recognition within the EU for capital, services, and people. Still, terrorist attacks, an upsurge in domestic violence, budgetary problems, and foreign policy, enlargement, and immigration issues plague the EU. In light of these problems, what will be the future of the EU and its constitution?

    Keywords: Economic Growth; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Policy; Government Administration; European Union;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "The European Union in the 21st Century." Harvard Business School Case 707-021, December 2006. (Revised March 2008.)
  25. Common Agricultural Policy and the Future of French Farming

    Presents the history and evolution of the EU Common Agricultural Policy, from early price supports to the 2003 decision to "decouple" payments to European farmers. Explores the logic behind agricultural supports, with a focus on the economic, political, and cultural context of French farming. Discusses efforts to reform the CAP in the context of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations against the backdrop of European enlargement.

    Keywords: History; Agreements and Arrangements; Price; Policy; Trade; Agribusiness; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; France; European Union;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, Vincent Marie Dessain, and Elena Corsi. "Common Agricultural Policy and the Future of French Farming." Harvard Business School Case 707-027, December 2006. (Revised March 2007.)
  26. Wal-Mart in Europe (TN)

    Keywords: Retail Industry; Europe;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "Wal-Mart in Europe (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 706-049, June 2006.
  27. Wal-Mart in Europe

    Presents challenges facing Wal-Mart during its move into Germany. Explores the dynamics of the German retail market.

    Keywords: Globalized Markets and Industries; Distribution Channels; Expansion; Trade; Foreign Direct Investment; Retail Industry; Europe; Germany;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar, and Louisa Neissa. "Wal-Mart in Europe." Harvard Business School Case 704-027, April 2004. (Revised July 2004.)
  28. Creation of the European Union, The

    Describes the emergence of the European Union (EU). Focuses on a critical stage in European integration--the period in the early 1990s when member states negotiated the terms of the Maastricht Treaty. This agreement set in motion the project that would eventually lead to the formation of a single currency. Considers the political and economic conditions that led France, Germany, and Britain to undertake this common project.

    Keywords: International Relations; Alliances; System; Negotiation Participants; Government and Politics; Agreements and Arrangements; Money; Cooperation; European Union;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "Creation of the European Union, The." Harvard Business School Case 703-032, April 2003. (Revised November 2003.)

Other Publications and Materials

  1. Europe and Globalization: Report Prepared for the National Intelligence Council

    Keywords: Globalization; Europe;

    Citation:

    Trumbull, J. Gunnar. "Europe and Globalization: Report Prepared for the National Intelligence Council." December 2000.

    Research Summary

  1. The Politics of Consumer Credit

    A combination of factors has dramatically increased consumer access to and reliance upon credit across the OECD. These factors include financial liberalization and deregulation, improvements in consumer credit information and its analysis, and a growth in debt securitization. Yet this period of unprecedented credit access has coincided with a decline in average real wages. National governments have responded by enacting new regulations governing consumer bankruptcy, financial data privacy, consumer advocacy, and interest rate caps. This project traces the politics of consumer credit regulation in France, Germany and Britain during the postwar period.
  2. The Political Power of Weak Interests

    One of the most broadly accepted theoretical claims of public policy is the proposal that interests shared by a large set of actors tend to be under-represented in public policy. From Mancur Olson to George Stigler to James Q. Wilson, our most influential theorists of organization and public policy argue that diffuse interests must therefore be weak interests. The logic of their case is familiar and compelling. Large numbers of individuals are difficult to organize. And when the benefits of organization cannot be excluded from the general public, individuals will have insufficient incentives to support a collective lobbying effort. These coordination problems make organizing diffuse interests a harder job than organizing concentrated interests. Yet everywhere we look, diffuse interests are strongly represented. Consumers have benefited from progressive trade liberalization. Competition policy has broken apart concentrated producers with monopoly pricing power. Modern retailing has given rural consumer access to an extraordinary variety of products at extremely low prices. Small shareholders enjoy powerful legal protections against manipulation by powerful block-holders.

    This book project explores why diffuse interests are so heavily represented in public policy, and why narrow interest groups that subvert more diffuse economic or social interests do so at their peril. Through a study of policies in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, retailing, and consumer credit, I explore how diffuse interest come to be represented, and the strategies that concentrated industry interests employ to achieve their interests.

  3. The Politics of Food

    This project explores the origins and evolution of national food cultures, emphasizing the sources of variation in terms of quality, safety, and 'sophistication'. Comparing food cultures in postwar Italy, France, and America, I argue that distinctive national patterns of food production and consumption have their roots in the differential ability of small producers and distributors to protect themselves against powerful agricultural, industrial and distribution interests. The product will be a book-length manuscript entitled: "Good Food, Bad Food." 

      Awards & Honors

    1. J. Gunnar Trumbull: Received the 2013 HBS Student Association Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Required Curriculum.

    2. J. Gunnar Trumbull: Received the 2013 Charles M. Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching.