Archive for September, 2007

More Fun with Names

| Peter Klein |

Our silly posts (1, 2) are among our most popular, so let’s have more fun.

Whatever she does lies within her Kor competence.

His writings are all Peer reviewed.

Their paper covers everything from A to Z.

29 September 2007 at 7:53 pm Leave a comment

Pomo Periscope XIV: Queer Economics

| Nicolai Foss |

Here. I am speechless.

28 September 2007 at 10:09 am 21 comments

Blogfest at Sundance

| Peter Klein |

The BYU Conference on Comparative Organizations at Sundance begins today. Your humble correspondent is here, along with Teppo, Brayden, Fabio, and Omar of, Gordon Smith of Conglomerate, and luminaries from throughout the world of organization studies. I haven’t yet seen Robert Redford (but if he shows up I’ll ask him to clarify his views on property rights).

This is an interdisciplinary conference, though the participants are primarily sociologists (with a few outsiders, like yours truly, thrown in for comic relief). The purpose is to develop better frameworks for making comparisons across organizational types. From the conference blurb: “[C]ontemporary organizational scholarship can not provide a coherent answer to questions regarding how one might translate corporate data on the predictors of employee motivation into a hospital or military setting, or to what extent conclusions regarding the relationship between financial performance and socially responsible business practices based on studies of small, young, private firms hold for large, old, public firms.”

I think there is actually a fair amount of empirical literature in organizational economics and strategy making these kinds of cross-sectional comparisons (public versus private firms, venture-backed versus non-venture-backed startups, M-form versus H-form conglomerates, etc.). The analysis is not particularly “deep,” however; it relies generally on reduced-form models with performance as the only dependent variable. I’m looking forward to learning about more nuanced approaches.

28 September 2007 at 1:11 am Leave a comment

Blogs versus Department Meetings

| Peter Klein |

A friend recently became economics department head at his university. He created a blog as a partial substitute for, and potential complement to, meetings.

I hate department meetings, which inevitably are scheduled at some time when most people are tired or distracted. Once there, much time is wasted by people who are slow in expressing themselves, or in discussing issues about which we haven’t had time to think or gather the information necessary to decide something. For any individual, some of the discussions are boring or irrelevant and a waste of time.

I have been trying to use the blog to handle most issues that do not require a quick decision or a real, face-to-face dialog. . . .

I am having at best moderate success because some of my colleagues refuse to visit the blog on anything like a regular basis. I am trying to make things easier for them. A successful change was to introduce a “recent posts” sidebar like you have on O&M, so my colleagues can quickly see what, if anything, is new since they last visited the blog.

I suggested setting up a “favorite posts” or “critical posts” section of the sidebar (somewhat like our “Most Popular” section). Of course, some departmental issues — personnel matters, for example — are too sensitive to discuss even on a private blog. But many of the usual items can perhaps be handled easily.

What suggestions would you offer? More generally, how can blogs, wikis, and similar tools increase office productivity by substituting for meetings? (Of course, some people will always prefer meetings.)

26 September 2007 at 11:25 am 5 comments

The Political Economy of Entrepreneurship

| Peter Klein |

Entrepreneurship and political economy are two of the fastest-growing fields in applied economics, so it is only natural that they come together. Magnus Henrekson and Robin Douhan have a new volume coming out in the International Library of Entrepreneurship Series, The Political Economy of Entrepreneurship (Elgar, 2007). It contains reprints of classic and contemporary papers by Schumpeter, Kirzner, Baumol, Stigler, de Soto, Acemoglu, Lerner, and many others.

Henrekson and Douhan identify in their introduction (which you can read here) three key aspects of entrepreneurship as it relates to political economy: (more…)

25 September 2007 at 10:33 pm 7 comments

Columbia Dean Considers a Discussion With Hitler

| David Hoopes |

In today’s WSJ, Bret Stephens observes, “John Coatsworth, acting dean of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, made the remark that “if Hitler were in the United States and . . . if he were willing to engage in a debate and a discussion to be challenged by Columbia students and faculty, we would certainly invite him.” This was by way of defending the university’s decision to host a speech yesterday by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.” My own alma mater, Grinnell College, had Angela Davis speak at last year’s commencement to the chagrin of a few alumni. Granted A. D. is pretty small change compared to Ahmadinejad. Twenty years ago, students at Grinnell shouted down Jack Kemp because they disagreed with his perspective. I doubt A.D. got shouted down. I find it disturbing that it is considered progressive to listen to Dr. Davis but to shout down Mr. Kemp. Ahmadinejad got a rude welcome outside the U.N. But, it’s strange to think that Columbia’s faculty would probably treat George W. (hardly a perfect president) a lot worse than they treated this man who has called for and spent a great deal of money on the destruction of Israel (among other things).

25 September 2007 at 2:43 pm 2 comments

Innovation Without Patents

| Nicolai Foss |

While public policy-makers (and students) exalt patents, scholars in strategic management and innovation studies tend to take a much more balanced view. They know that the use of patents tend to concentrate in relatively few industries, and that in many cases alternative mechanisms are superior means of appropriating rent streams from innovations (e.g., this paper). Of course, libertarians, including libertarian economists, have long harbored skepticism towards the patent system, including skepticism based on efficiency arguments. Now economic historians seem to add to patenting skepticism.  (more…)

25 September 2007 at 12:50 pm 3 comments

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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).