Archive for June, 2009

Does Macroeconomic Theory Influence Macroeconomic Policy?

| Peter Klein |

Not really, according to John Wood’s History of Macroeconomic Policy in the United States (Routledge, 2008). As David Wheelock notes in his EH.Net review:

Wood argues that U.S. fiscal and monetary policy have been remarkably consistent over the decades and largely uninfluenced by macroeconomic theory. Economists have rationalized more than influenced policy, Wood contends, and the direction of influence between economic theory and practice is primarily from the latter to the former.

This is of course the classic explanation for the spread of Keynesianism after 1936: rather than proposing a new approach to macroeconomic policy, the General Theory simply rationalized the massive deficit-spending and easy-money policies already in place (and long desired by disreputable economists such as Foster and Catchings).

30 June 2009 at 3:53 pm 2 comments

Organizations or Markets in Morality?

| Benito Arruñada |

Moral codes can be produced and enforced through markets or through organizations. In particular, Catholic theology can be interpreted as a paradigm of the organizational production of morality. In contrast, the dominant moral codes are now produced in something resembling more a market.

The organizational character of Catholicism comes from its centralized production and enforcement of the moral code by theologians and priests and the mediation role played by the Church between God and believers. The epitome of both features is the old institution of confession of sins, a cultural universal that reaches full sophistication — for good and for bad — within Catholicism. My forthcoming JSSR paper argues that confession was a strikingly organizational solution to the production and enforcement of morality, something that Western societies now do mostly through markets. (more…)

30 June 2009 at 4:19 am 3 comments

Pioneers of Law and Economics

| Peter Klein |

Profiles of the leading scholars in contemporary law and economics, now out from Edward Elgar. Congratulations to Josh Wright and Lloyd Cohen for putting this together. Table of contents below the fold. (more…)

29 June 2009 at 2:09 am Leave a comment

Gloves Are Definitively Off Now

| Lasse Lien |

Here is a pretty remarkable story about four elderly German pensioners who kidnapped and tortured their financial adviser.

Who should we feel sorry for, that’s what I want to know.

27 June 2009 at 4:35 pm 4 comments

Journalists Duped Again

| Peter Klein |

From Walter Duranty to Judith Miller to recent reporting on the financial crisis (1, 2), the mainstream press continues to do what it has always done: print what it wants to be true, rather than investigate what’s actually going on. I got a chuckle out of the latest example: a French magazine that gave its student photojournalism award to a series of dramatic pictures of French youth living in poverty, only to learn the pictures were fakes. Oops! Not quite in the same class as the Sokal affair, but in the same spirit. (HT: Mario Rizzo.)

27 June 2009 at 2:07 pm 1 comment

Why “Doing Business” Leads to Bad Policy

| Benito Arruñada |

In a post at the PSD blog, David Kaplan sees little difference between the “Doing Business” position and my own. He writes:

Part of Professor Arruñada’s argument is that the Doing Business indicators do not capture all the relevant components of the business environment. The writers of the Doing Business 2009 report agree. . . .

I believe that the debate is not mainly about what Doing Business measures. Really, the debate is about how these measures are used in shaping public policy. Critics of Doing Business are concerned that countries will ignore the above warnings and only reform in areas that are measured in Doing Business.

I doubt that one can separate what DB measures and how it does it from how DB measures are used in the field. My main complaint, however, is different, namely that the DB method has often led to bad policy. (more…)

26 June 2009 at 8:16 am 3 comments

Slides from Foss-Klein PhD Course

| Peter Klein |

Slides from the PhD course, “The Theory of the Firm and Its Applications in Management Research I,” are now available on the course webpage (scroll down to the bottom).

PS: Did you notice the course title ends with “I,” implying there will be a II and maybe a III? Gotta love that precommitment device. It’s as if Stallone had named his first film “Rocky I.”

26 June 2009 at 8:02 am 3 comments

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Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment: A New Approach to the Firm (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
Peter G. Klein and Micheal E. Sykuta, eds., The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics (Edward Elgar, 2010).
Peter G. Klein, The Capitalist and the Entrepreneur: Essays on Organizations and Markets (Mises Institute, 2010).
Richard N. Langlois, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy (Routledge, 2007).
Nicolai J. Foss, Strategy, Economic Organization, and the Knowledge Economy: The Coordination of Firms and Resources (Oxford University Press, 2005).
Raghu Garud, Arun Kumaraswamy, and Richard N. Langlois, eds., Managing in the Modular Age: Architectures, Networks and Organizations (Blackwell, 2003).
Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein, eds., Entrepreneurship and the Firm: Austrian Perspectives on Economic Organization (Elgar, 2002).
Nicolai J. Foss and Volker Mahnke, eds., Competence, Governance, and Entrepreneurship: Advances in Economic Strategy Research (Oxford, 2000).
Nicolai J. Foss and Paul L. Robertson, eds., Resources, Technology, and Strategy: Explorations in the Resource-based Perspective (Routledge, 2000).

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