Archive for May, 2009

A Second Act for the CAFE Standards

| Peter Klein |

From former guest blogger David Gerard:

As you have no doubt learned, President Obama and Governor Schwarzenegger have teamed up for a healthy bump in the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, forcing automakers to boost their fleet averages to 35 miles per gallon by 2016. The announcement will dismay many economists, who for many, many reasons have advocated steeper gasoline taxes instead. Lester Lave and I argued that that there were some solid reasons to support some form of CAFE standards in conjunction with higher gasoline taxes. On pragmatic grounds, the CAFE standards have enjoyed public support and gas taxes decidedly have not, so CAFE has carried the day.

The original CAFE measures did not do much in terms of pushing the envelope of vehicle technology, as a change in consumer tastes toward more fuel efficient vehicles in the late 1970s. As a result, the standards were met by altering the mix of vehicles sold, not by any radical improvements in technology. It wasn’t until the early 1980s when oil prices tanked that the CAFE became a serious binding constraint. In contrast, the CAFE standards announced Monday are very aggressive. However, setting the standard is only the first part of the story. The real action takes place during the second act. What happens as the deadline approaches if firms are unable to meet the stricter standards? (more…)

21 May 2009 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Tweeting Too Hard

| Peter Klein |

Do these people remind you of any of your favorite bloggers — or academic seminar participants? (Via Cliff.)

21 May 2009 at 9:54 am 2 comments

Plowing Under Rural Sociology

| Peter Klein |

From Randy Westgren:

The aggie world, and to a lesser extent, the sociology world, is reacting to a decision by Washington State University to dissolve its Department of Community and Rural Sociology. There is a great deal of rancor developing about this type of budget-cutting strategy, as opposed to making everyone suffer equally. If one looks closely at the budget documents made public by WSU, the ag school is getting a smaller cut (5% teaching + 8% research) than many colleges, including the B-school (13%, 12 vacant positions). The budget plan can be found here. It looks like the Dean’s decision, rather than the CEO’s (The Dean is an agricultural economist).

I was stunned to see a comment to a piece written in Inside Higher Education on this battle from an engineering prof — well, not actually stunned, more like chagrined.

“As for the rural sociology department, while I can sympathize with their plight in Pullman I do not see the loss as intellectually serious. As a member of an engineering faculty at a major university for more than 25 years, I’ve known quite a few sociologists. Most of them publish little stories that are not much sounder empirically, and usually less interesting substantively, that a good fiction writer. With very few exceptions, sociologists I know and have known are mathophobes! The few who have some ability in math use it on their omnibus snapshots of human populations taken at widely spaced intervals and then try to figure out from those “data” what happened and why. Ridiculous! Continuous observation is probably not possible, but you need closely spaced observations that focus on the specific processes that are the point of your investigation! If you have continuous-time observations, you need calculus in order to analyze your data. If you have closely spaced discrete-time observations, you need something more than shotgun regressions to analyze your data. Most of what sociologists publish is a waste of time and money.”

Obviously, this scholar has not followed the closely reasoned defense of fuzzy, ill-defined concepts at

Teppo and Brayden, if you are watching, ask Dave Whetten about his take on the Chancellor of SUNY Albany who undertook a similar department-cutting strategy during the New York State budget difficulties of the late 1970s.

20 May 2009 at 8:13 am 3 comments

More on Adam Smith’s Metaphor

| Peter Klein |

slapped-by-the-invisible-handIf you enjoyed our earlier discussion of social science’s most famous metaphor — come on, guys, is “iron cage” even in the same ballpark? — see the current issue of EconJournalWatch, which features essays on the invisible hand by Gavin Kennedy and Dan Klein.

19 May 2009 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

New Editorial Team at the EMR

| Nicolai Foss |

Not long ago after the start of O&M I blogged on the change of editor at the European Management Review, paraphrasing Keynes’s examination of Lloyd George’s pledge on unemployment policy. While EMR is not yet ISI listed and has not surpassed the Journal of Management Studies as the leading Euro management journal, Kogut has most certainly “done it” in terms of boosting the general reputation of the journal. This is another demonstration that an editor with a clear mission, a strong network, and well-defined objectives can rather quickly do wonders for a journal (think Arie Lewin with Organization Science or Joel Baum (et al.) with Strategic Organization).

Kogut has now stepped down as editor, and Professors Maurizio Zollo and Alfonso Gambardella, both of Bocconi University in Milan, carry the mantle. While Zollo is a fullblown management scholar, Gambardella is much more an economist. They share a basic evolutionary outlook. Needless to say, both a very well connected to the US research context in management and economics. The new team’s inaugural issue with a handful of invited paper is available here. Everything is downloadable for free.

18 May 2009 at 2:28 pm Leave a comment

ACAC Schedule

| Peter Klein |

ACAC1The Atlanta Competitive Advantage Conference begins tomorrow. The updated schedule, along with other logistical information, is here. You can also download many of the papers. Emory, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State Universities have co-hosted this event the past five years and it’s become one of the main events for research in strategy, organizational economics, entrepreneurship, and related fields.

18 May 2009 at 9:55 am 2 comments

The Geography of Sin

| Lasse Lien |

I used to think geography was a dry and slightly boring subject, but then I found this. Peter, where is your house again?

18 May 2009 at 4:58 am 10 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).