Archive for December, 2007

Most Popular Posts of 2007

| Peter Klein |

Our most popular posts of 2007:

  1. Physics Envy and All That
  2. Design Puzzles
  3. Contronymns
  4. Taxes al Carbon
  5. The University of Phoenix and the Economic Organization of Higher Education
  6. How Does Management Affect Capabilities?
  7. Market-Based Management
  8. Agency Theory in Management
  9. Has Corporate Corruption Increased?
  10. The SWOT Model May Be Wrong
  11. Management Journal Impact Factors 2005
  12. PhD Candidate Shortage in Accounting
  13. Things You Shouldn’t Say at Your Dissertation Defense
  14. Do We Need a Project Project?
  15. The Legacy of Max Weber
  16. The Language of Economists (and Sociologists)
  17. Accounting: A Brief History
  18. Is Entrepreneurship a Factor of Production?
  19. The Galileo Legend
  20. The New Bashing of Economics: The Case of Management Theory

What makes a popular post? The main determinant seems to be an incoming link from a high-traffic site; items 1-4, 6, and 13-15 above were all linked from sites like Instapundit, the Dynamist Blog, Greg Mankiw, and Marginal Revolution. Items 5, 9, 12, and 17 come up often in search -engine results. My guess that items 7, 8, 10, 16, 18, and 20 were the most popular among our regular readers.

31 December 2007 at 1:50 pm 3 comments

Sociology Quote of the Day

| Peter Klein |

Jeremy Freese, trolling the comment threads at our good twin site:

As for sociology, it’s been more a cloud/confederacy than a discipline for more than 30 years anyway, bound together by a determined resolution to ignore the wild number of pairwise combinations of self-described sociologists who have nothing whatsoever in common intellectually except leftward politics.

Now, you can bet that if I’d written that I’d be hearing from the boys over at orgtheory.

29 December 2007 at 10:21 am 1 comment

My Pet Peeve

| Steve Phelan |

One of my pet peeves is when academics assume that people in industry are a little “dim.” For instance,

It would be churlish to point out that the fact that one should be extremely leery of arguments that diversification radically improves the safety of bond investments was well known back by Edgar L. Smith and others back in 1923.

This quote from Brad De Long here

I’m not picking on Brad because it happens quite a bit in my experience. The “oh my gosh, we academics have known since 1923 that diversification of bonds does not reduce systematic risk that much, you dumbasses.”

Contrast this view with the fact that the brightest minds in a generation have been taking jobs on Wall Street. So the smartest people are the biggest dumbasses???

In these matters, I prefer to assume plausible deniability. Reducing systematic risk by combining geographically diversified BBB bonds sounds just plausible enough to avoid litigation for fraud and/or negligence. Now that’s smart!

28 December 2007 at 11:54 pm 5 comments

Starbucks Is Good for Mom and Pop

| Peter Klein |

The WSJ ran a piece a few years back showing that independently owned coffeehouses do better after Starbucks moved to town. Taylor Clark (of Starbucked fame) provides similar figures in today’s Slate:

In its predatory store placement strategy, Starbucks has been about as lethal a killer as a fluffy bunny rabbit. . . . According to recent figures from the Specialty Coffee Association of America, 57 percent of the nation’s coffeehouses are still mom and pops. Just over the five-year period from 2000 to 2005 — long after Starbucks supposedly obliterated indie cafes — the number of mom and pops grew 40 percent, from 9,800 to nearly 14,000 coffeehouses. (Starbucks, I might add, tripled in size over that same time period. Good times all around.)

The theory is that Starbucks’s rapid growth (maybe not this rapid) has boosted the demand among US consumers for premium coffee, a demand that Starbucks alone cannot satisfy. Three cheers for positive spillovers! (Greg Mankiw, how about Pigouvian subsidies for poor old Howard Schultz?)

28 December 2007 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

Markets in Everything, Gift Card Edition

| Peter Klein |

A new secondary market for gift cards, those ubiquitous plastic goodies that so many of us found in our Christmas stockings this year (via WWD). Lisa Fairfax provides more examples and some discussion. And don’t miss Jennifer Offenberg’s work.

28 December 2007 at 2:38 pm 1 comment

New Videos: Roth, Tirole

| Peter Klein |

Boston University has put the last two Rosenthal Memorial Lectures online. Here’s Alvin Roth on “What Have We Learned From Market Design” (no, it’s not supposed to be self-contradictory) and Jean Tirole on “Economic Incentives, Self Motivation, and Social Pressure.” (HT: Marshall Jevons)

28 December 2007 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

Open Source and Spontaneous Order

| Peter Klein |

Open-source software is often cited as an example of what Hayek termed spontaneous order, the organic, bottom-up, decentralized form of organization that characterizes the market system. Giampaolo Garzarelli, in an explicitly Hayekian analyis, says open-source projects are defined by “no hierarchy, self-organization, self-regulation, and no ownership structure.” Is this an accurate characterization?

Commercial law, manifest in the medieval law merchant or lex mercatoria, is another important example of spontaneous order in the literature (see Harold Berman and Bruce Benson). Fabrizio Marrella and Christopher Yoo use the law merchant as a benchmark, asking “Is Open Source Software the New Lex Mercatoria?”They think not, arguing that focal firms, individuals, and groups play a more important role in guiding the evolution of open-source projects than is usually recognized. As a result, “[o]pen source has not achieved the type of universality or uniformity of principles envisioned by proponents of the lex mercatoria.” (more…)

28 December 2007 at 12:00 pm 3 comments

Older Posts


Nicolai J. Foss | home | posts
Peter G. Klein | home | posts
Richard Langlois | home | posts
Lasse B. Lien | home | posts


Former Guests | posts


Recent Posts



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).