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University of St. Gallen : Press review 30th of Agust 2013

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08/30/2013 | 05:11pm CEST
A new approach to climate treaties, looking at Russia's first year in the WTO, Brazil looks for a trade partner and a study looking into the success of atypical cars - a glance of HSG experts in the media

More than 20 years after serious international negotiations began on Climate Change, there has been little political movement on legally-binding agreements. A path that could lead to progress likely lies in the way that these agreements are designed, according to a new study authored by HSG Political Science Professor Michael M. Bechtel.

The study, co-authored by Stanford University Professor Kenneth Scheve, found that those designing global climate treaties can significantly increase public support - even among those who generally oppose international climate cooperation - by adopting specific features that resonate with norms of reciprocity and distributional fairness. The study's results were published by National Academy of Sciences.

To trade or not to trade
It has been one year since Russia gained membership into the World Trade Organisation and by all accounts, it has not been a graceful transition. "For years, Russia's political elite had no consensus on the WTO, with views varying widely," said Simon Evenett in Deutsche Welle, HSG's economics professor.

Shortly after joining the WTO, Russia implemented an extremely high recycling fee on imported cars - regarded by many as a hidden tariff - which is clearly against WTO rules. In the article Evenett points out that WTO member countries expect Russia to play by WTO rules, which could lead to long-term consequences.

Since introducing the recycling fee in the fall of 2012, EU exports have dropped by seven percent while the Russian car market is experiencing growth.

Brazil looking for a partner
In a front-page story in the Financial Times, Evenett was quoted on his views as news broke that Brazil was making efforts to negotiate a trade deal with the European Union. This deal could signal that Brazil is moving away from the weakening deal it currently has with neighbouring countries. Evenett stated that he believed that a trade agreement makes commercial sense for Brazil especially due to the fact that Argentina is participating in hidden protectionism.

So different, they are the same
Professor Andreas Herrmann's study looking into buying trends in the automotive industry received international attention as blogsjournals from around the globe covered the results of his recent study, which was originally published in the American Marketing Association's Journal of Marketing.

Aesthetic designs assist companies in establishing a point of differentiation for their products. An important facet of a product's design is its typicality - the extent to which the design is typical of the entire product category. A new set of studies suggests that the extent to which consumers prefer typical or atypical product designs depends on how many times they have viewed these designs prior to making a purchase decision.

In one study, consumers were exposed to fictitious car designs that varied in terms of their design typicality either five or fifteen times. When consumers saw the car designs five times, they found the typical designs more appealing than the atypical ones. When, however, consumers viewed the designs fifteen times, the typical designs became less attractive, while the atypical designs tended to become more attractive.

Another study shows that these findings also have real-world implications by analysing sales patterns for 28 different car models in the German market. While cars with typical designs are more successful than cars with atypical designs shortly after they are launched, they rapidly lose in appeal after a few years and are eventually outsold by atypical cars.

Collaborating on this study with Herrmann was Professor Landwehr at the Goethe University in Frankfurt and Professor Daniel Wentzel at the RWTH Aachen University.

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