Archive for August, 2006

General-Purpose Technologies and Long-Term Economic Growth

| Peter Klein |

Another interesting book review from EH.Net, this time by Joel Mokyr on Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long-Term Economic Growth by Richard G. Lipsey, Kenneth I. Carlaw, and Clifford T. Bekar.

The book is hard to summarize because it is unusually rich and diverse. It contains long discussions of technological change, its nature, sources, and consequences. Lipsey maintains that technology is at the heart of modern economic growth and asks — once again — what the sources of Western success are. Among other things, the book also treats at length the economics of technological change, the history of science, and population dynamics. It is part grand synthesis, part textbook, part statement of the author’s idiosyncratic views, and throughout an excellent read — informed, curious, unafraid of being unconventional or politically incorrect.


Lipsey joins a large number of economists who, when thinking about the long run, feel that evolutionary models are more appropriate than standard neoclassical ones.

Hopefully, as if responding to Nicolai’s plea, Lipsey et al. also discuss some policy implications of their evolutionary perspective.

28 August 2006 at 10:06 am Leave a comment

Editors, Reviewers, and Academic Judgment

| Peter Klein |

Further to Nicolai’s remarks below:

1. Marginal Revolution had a thread a while back about the best economics journal editors. Don’t know of a similar discussion for other disciplines.

2. The suggestion that editors may defer too heavily to reviewers, rather than forming their own, independent judgments of quality, brings to mind a recent exchange between Leland Yeager and David Laband and Robert Tollison on what Yeager called “secondhandism.” Yeager decried the practice of hiring, promoting, and tenuring faculty based only on quantitative measures of output such as journal rankings, citations, and similar metrics. Laband (who specializes in ranking economics journals) and Tollison replied that hiring and promotion committees should rely, not on their own idiosyncratic opinions, but on the “market test.” Here is Yeager, followed by Laband and Tollison, and Yeager again.

27 August 2006 at 2:52 pm Leave a comment

Are Reviewers Too Powerful?

| Nicolai Foss|

Reviewers certainly are powerful. Are they too powerful?

When I served as Departmental Editor of the Journal of International Business Studies it occassionally happened that I issued invitations to revise and resubmit , against the advice of the reviewers. I often accepted papers for publication that at least one and sometimes two reviewers hated. Once it happened that after I had accepted such a paper, a very dissatisfied reviewer — a prominent Wharton scholar — wrote to the chief editor, complaining that I was undermining the refereeing institution. Well, I thought the reviewer was wrong and that I (and the author) was right. And I thought I had no obligation to slavishly follow his advice, which was just that, a piece of advice, and not a verdict. (more…)

27 August 2006 at 10:50 am 12 comments

Who Killed the History of Economics?

| Peter Klein |

As discussed here before, economists are not generally familiar with the history of economic thought. Roy Weintraub offers this explanation: Heterodox economists often specialize in the history of economic thought, so mainstream economists come to associate doctrinal history with heterodoxy, thus turning them off to the history of economics itself. (Thanks to Mark Thornton for the cite.)

This explanation strikes me as misguided, for two reasons. First, many heterodox economists publish in history-of-thought journals, attend history-of-thought conferences, and the like not by choice, but because they cannot get their work published in mainstream journals. The perceived link between heterodoxy and the history of economic thought is thus endogenous, begging the question of why mainstream economists are willing to tolerate heterodoxy as history but not otherwise.

Second, and more important, mainstream economists’ lack of interest in doctrinal history is more likely due to the general Whiggishness pervading modern social science. (more…)

26 August 2006 at 5:30 pm 1 comment

More Interesting Links

| Peter Klein |

More links for O&M readers to enjoy. (Celebrity readers, you too!)

26 August 2006 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

The O&M Readership is Expanding

| Nicolai Foss |

We have been suspecting it for a long time, but now it is an established fact: We have an expanding celebrity readership. Here is a series of nice pics of an O&M celebrity reader preparing to post a comment on a Nicolai Foss strategic management post. Now we only need to get Salma to live up to that surname …

26 August 2006 at 1:18 pm Leave a comment

Readings on Structural Equations Modeling

| Peter Klein |

I posted a while back on the increasing interest in structural equations modeling (SEM) among economists and management scholars. My PhD student Frayne Olson, an SEM enthusiast (and, incidentally, the nephew of Mancur), sent me some introductory references, which I hereby pass along:

  • Rex B. Kline, Principles and Practice of Structural Equation Modeling, 2nd ed. (Guilford Press, 2005). (“A very easy to understand presentation of the SEM concepts and applications.”)
  • Ralph O. Mueller, Basic Principles of Structural Equation Modeling: An Introduction to LISREL and EQS (Springer, 1996). (“Uses basic matrix algebra to explain how SEM coefficients are estimated. I have found this to be closer to the typical teaching format used within econometrics textbooks. It may be easier to make the transitions and linkages to traditional regression analysis by reading this book.”)

Addendum: Every good SEM analysis includes a path diagram (like the boxes-and-arrows models filling the pages of the Academy of Management Review). This paper tells you all you could ever want to know, and more, about the theory underlying such diagrams. (Via Technology Ideas for Teachers.) And wouldn’t you much rather see path diagrams like these?

25 August 2006 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

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Our Recent Books

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).