Commercial airliner on tarmac

¿Están obsoletos los viajes de negocios?

COLOMBO – Consideremos lo siguiente: hoy día uno puede contactar a su contraparte por teléfono o por correo electrónico e incluso verla por Facetime, Skype o GoToMeeting. Entonces, ¿por qué las empresas gastan US$1.200 billones al año – lo que significa el 1,5% del PIB mundial – en viajes de trabajo internacionales?

Este gasto no solamente es enorme, sino que también está aumentando a la tasa de 6,5% al año, un ritmo que es el doble del crecimiento económico mundial y casi tan rápido como el de los servicios de información y telecomunicaciones. La capacidad de cómputo se ha trasladado desde nuestras computadoras portátiles y teléfonos celulares hacia la nube, y gracias a ello todos nos encontramos mejor. Por lo tanto, ¿por qué tenemos que movilizar mentes en lugar de dejarlas en su lugar y simplemente enviarles bytes? ¿Por qué desperdiciar el preciado tiempo de trabajo volando, pasando por controles de seguridad y esperando el equipaje?

Antes de que alguien se ponga a reducir drásticamente el presupuesto para viajes, tratemos de comprender por qué es más ventajoso trasladar personas que información. Este misterio está empezando a ser dilucidado gracias a una donación de datos anonimizados al Center for International Development de la Universidad de Harvard, en el contexto de una investigación sobre el crecimiento inclusivo. Los estudios en curso con Dany Bahar, Michele Coscia y Frank Neffke, han podido establecer algunos hechos estilizados interesantes.

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