Archive for September, 2011

2011 Ig Nobel Laureates

| Peter Klein |

The 2011 Ig Nobel Prizes were announced yesterday. No economics prize this year, but several awards recognize work with profound social-science implications. For instance:

MEDICINE PRIZEMirjam Tuk (of THE NETHERLANDS and the UK), Debra Trampe (of THE NETHERLANDS) and Luk Warlop (of BELGIUM). and jointly to Matthew Lewis, Peter Snyder andRobert Feldman (of the USA), Robert PietrzakDavid Darby, and Paul Maruff (of AUSTRALIA) for demonstrating that people make better decisions about some kinds of things — but worse decisions about other kinds of things‚ when they have a strong urge to urinate.

REFERENCE: “Inhibitory Spillover: Increased Urination Urgency Facilitates Impulse Control in Unrelated Domains,” Mirjam A. Tuk, Debra Trampe and Luk Warlop, Psychological Science, vol. 22, no. 5, May 2011, pp. 627-633.

REFERENCE: “The Effect of Acute Increase in Urge to Void on Cognitive Function in Healthy Adults,” Matthew S. Lewis, Peter J. Snyder, Robert H. Pietrzak, David Darby, Robert A. Feldman, Paul T. Maruff, Neurology and Urodynamics, vol. 30, no. 1, January 2011, pp. 183-7.

[ . . . ]

LITERATURE PRIZEJohn Perry of Stanford University, USA, for his Theory of Structured Procrastination, which says: To be a high achiever, always work on something important, using it as a way to avoid doing something that’s even more important.

REFERENCE: “How to Procrastinate and Still Get Things Done,” John Perry, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 23, 1996. Later republished elsewhere under the title “Structured Procrastination.”

[ . . . ]

PEACE PRIZEArturas Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, LITHUANIA, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running them over with an armored tank.


30 September 2011 at 10:57 pm 1 comment


| Peter Klein |

A new group blog by Erik Brynjolfsson, Joshua Gans, and Shane Greenstein. Should be interesting and informative. The authors

noticed that there were many blogs devoted to digital developments and consumer products but the selection focussing on economic and business aspects of the digital world was very limited. Digitopoly’s mission is to provide an economic and strategic management perspective on digital opportunities, trends, limits, trade-offs and platforms; expanding commentary in this important space.

The blog’s name — Digitopoly — reflects our broad interests in the impact of digital technology on competition. While, in some cases, our concern is the preservation of competition in the face of pressures toward monopoly, in others we see opportunities for greater competition and welfare benefits.

Our logo is deliberately iconic. The heavy set line in the graph could represent Moore’s Law (for processing power as time progresses) or Metcalfe’s Law (for the value of networks as more join).  It overtakes the simple linear trend represented by thin, broken line. This reflects the idea that linear ways of thinking rarely serve us well in the digital economy.

28 September 2011 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

Returning to Our Austrian Roots

| Peter Klein |

Here’s me lecturing last week at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, in the very room where Carl Menger and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk defended their Habilitation theses. It was a pretty amazing experience.

The room is a bit fancier than your average lecture hall:

My co-bloggers couldn’t make it but, on a tour of Austrian economics sites of interest, I snapped this picture of the former Green Anchor restaurant, where Mises and his students repaired after Mises’s university seminar. Notice the street name!

26 September 2011 at 4:28 pm 7 comments

EGOS 2012, “Self-reinforcing Processes in Organizations, Networks and Professions”

| Peter Klein |

The European Group of Organizational Studies (EGOS) is having the 2012 annual conference in Helsinki, July 2-7. The overall theme is design, and one of the subthemes is “Self-reinforcing Processes in Organizations, Networks and Professions,” a subject sure to interest many O&Mers. See the links above for details. Blurb after the fold: (more…)

24 September 2011 at 5:03 pm 3 comments

What We’re Really Doing

| Lasse Lien |

I’m often at pains to describe to my family what happens at academic conferences, and why its important that I attend them. But not any longer.

For further study, check out the associated paper.

HT: Eirik S. Knudsen

21 September 2011 at 7:33 am 2 comments

My First Publication

| Peter Klein |

A colleague recently sent me a copy of his first publication, a letter to the editor in Sports Illustrated magazine. This inspired me to search for my own first publication, which was exactly the same thing. It turns out SI has made its entire archive available online, so here it is:

If it’s nostalgia Fimrite wants, I suggest he pop a few new tubes in his radio, load it into his Model T, ride to Tiger Stadium and listen to a game in the parking lot. Then he can go home, write the game up on his manual typewriter and wire his article in over the telegraph.

Funny how it often turns out that those Luddite whiners who despise large, multipurpose modern stadiums also happen to be the people with the money or the connections to get good seats in the small, cramped “traditional” parks. The rest of us will gladly give up a little tradition just to get tickets.

Chapel Hill, N.C.
May 2, 1988

I was writing in reaction to this piece by SI’s Ron Fimrite. I’m still looking for an opportunity to work the term “Luddite whiners” into an academic article.

I was particularly sensitive to this issue because, during my undergraduate days at North Carolina, the school replaced the old Carmichael Auditorium with the new Dean E. Smith Center (better known as the “Dean Dome”). I appreciated the hot, poorly lit, intimate, and idiosyncratic Carmichael as much as anybody, but was tired of the two-day campouts to get student tickets, and welcomed the Dean Dome’s larger student section. Even in those days, I was sensitive to the idea of trade-offs at the margin.

The sad thing is that this letter probably had more readers than all my subsequent publications combined.

21 September 2011 at 3:26 am 3 comments

Of Categories and Killers

| Peter Lewin |

A recent issue of the Review of Austrian Economics (edited by Virgil Storr) honors the contributions of Don Lavoie who died at a very young age in 2001. It contains contributions by Storr, Boettke and Prychitko, Klamer, Chamlee-Wright, Horwitz, Lewis, and High. In addition, published for the first time is a seminal article by Lavoie on the interpretive turn in economics.

Lavoie was an audacious pioneer. Like many such pioneers he was ahead of his time. The newly re-emergent Austrian school was not ready for him — did not understand what he was about. Most of them either ignored Lavoie’s products (and those of his collaborators at the Program on Social and Organizational Learning — a center he co-founded with Jack High), or else marginalized him. To the latter his preoccupation with late Continental Philosophy and hermeneutics was seen as a real threat to doing social science. His young, loyal and creative collaborators were caught in the crossfire. After his death the furor simply died down.

With the publication of this issue it is possible to gain a fresh perspective (something Lavoie’s hermeneutics might have predicted). For me it is a case of “distance lends enchantment to the view.” I confess I was in the group who neglected his work for lack of sufficient understanding of its significance.

For management and industrial organization types Lavoie’s work is highly relevant. There is a growing appreciation of the connection between language, communication, meaning, action, purpose and organization — about which Lavoie’s approach has much to say, not to mention his prescient contributions on culture, modularity, and computer science. For those wishing to benefit from his work, unless you have an interest in the epistemology of Continental philosophers, I would suggest concentrating on the contributions that have to do with information, knowledge, computing, and organization. (more…)

19 September 2011 at 11:34 am 1 comment

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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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