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Research Informing Policy

Research Informing Policy

Professor Hyo Kang’s research cited in FTC-recommended policy change.

Research Informing Policy

Hyo Kang, Assistant Professor of Management and Organization

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Many scholars hope to ultimately effect change in some way through their research. Not too many are directly informed about the fact.

Early in 2023, HYO KANG, an assistant professor of management and organization, received an email from Elizabeth Wilkins, the director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Policy Planning. She told him that the agency’s January 5th recommendation to change rulings on noncompete clauses was reached in part due to his exhaustive research on the topic, and in particular, a research paper he published in the JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC AND MANAGEMENT STRATEGY (JEMS) in 2020.

“Today, we published a NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING (NPRM) ON NONCOMPETE CLAUSES. The rule would provide that noncompete clauses are an unfair method of competition, and would prohibit employers from entering noncompete clauses with their workers, including independent contractors,” she wrote Kang.

“Your work is cited in the NPRM, and I am writing to thank you for the work you’ve done that’s helped shape this proposal.”

Kang expressed his gratitude.

“I am glad my research on noncompete clauses and business dynamism, along with scholarly works by other scholars, helped design a new policy proposal that could reshape the American work environment,” said Kang. “I will continue to study competition in the product and labor market and its implications for entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Noncompete clauses, which stipulate that employees can’t work for competitors after they leave the company, are controversial and are deemed by some to be ultimately DISCRIMINATORY against employees. Approximately one in five American workers, or approximately 30 million people, are bound by a noncompete clause.

The proposed FTC rule would enact a nationwide prohibition on noncompete clauses, among other actions.

“It is great to see Hyo’s work recognized in this way,” said KYLE MAYER, chair and professor of management and organization. “Faculty research that appears in top academic journals can also have a significant impact on the business community. It is good to see policy being grounded in rigorous research and I hope to see this move spur innovation in a number of industries.”