Archive for July, 2009

The Integration of Micro and Macroeconomics from a Historical Perspective

| Peter Klein |

That’s the title of a conference next week at the University of São Paulo featuring eminent economists and historians of economic thought such as Robert Gordon, Kevin Hoover, Wade Hands, and Phil Mirowski. According to the conference website the proceedings will be streamed live, so you can participate even if you can’t make it to São Paulo.

31 July 2009 at 1:16 pm 2 comments

Attack of the Public Finance Utility Monsters

| Dick Langlois |

I just saw this amusing abstract from Greg Mankiw. I think it will be far too subtle for most people.

The Optimal Taxation of Height: A Case Study of Utilitarian Income Redistribution

Should the income tax include a credit for short taxpayers and a surcharge for tall ones? The standard Utilitarian framework for tax analysis answers this question in the affirmative. Moreover, a plausible parameterization using data on height and wages implies a substantial height tax: a tall person earning $50,000 should pay $4,500 more in tax than a short person. One interpretation is that personal attributes correlated with wages should be considered more widely for determining taxes. Alternatively, if policies such as a height tax are rejected, then the standard Utilitarian framework must fail to capture intuitive notions of distributive justice.

Extra credit: how would such a tax affect NBA salaries — like that of UConn’s seven-foot-three Hasheem Thabeet, who was taken number two in the recent draft?

31 July 2009 at 10:19 am 4 comments

Special Issue of HRM on “HRM and Knowledge Processes”

| Nicolai Foss |

With Scott Snell (Darden Graduate School of Business) and my SMG colleague Dana Minbaeva, I have edited this just-published special issue of Human Resource Management on the intersection of knowledge management and HRM. One of this highlights of the special issue is an excellent paper by Teppo Felin, Todd Zenger, and Joshua Tomsik that takes issue with some influential ideas on how “knowledge” prompts the emergence of “communal” forms of organizing.

31 July 2009 at 1:44 am Leave a comment

Organizations, Markets, and Health Care Reform

| Russ Coff |

Amidst the fierce debate about the U.S. health care system is a raving lack of clarity. At the core, is whether organizations and markets fail to produce an optimal solution. Even the most neoclassical of economists these days acknowledge that market externalities exist and that these should be the focus of government intervention. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that the debate has been rigorous or well-informed in defining the market failure or why a government run system would be superior.

Liberal Economist Paul Krugman explains why markets fail summarizing Kenneth Arrow’s arguments (here). Basically, the third-party payee system and the information asymmetries render comparison shopping ineffective (and hence competition fails to yield an optimal solution).

Indeed, there is a good bit of inefficiency in the current U.S. system. A recent NY Times article notes that health care costs the average U.S. household $6,500 more each year than other comparable wealthy nations. Unfortunately, looking at many of the important outcomes, it appears that consumers are not getting much for their money on many dimensions (e.g., chronic disease outcomes). So it should be possible to lower costs and improve outcomes. Of course, this ignores the question of whether costs are higher to subsidize R&D that ultimately spills over into other countries.

Unfortunately, the article continues to point out how the reform efforts seem to ignore this low-hanging fruit. (more…)

30 July 2009 at 10:54 pm 7 comments

Introducing Guest Blogger Russ Coff

| Peter Klein |

We’re delighted  to introduce Russell Coff as our newest guest blogger. Russ is Associate Professor of Organization and Management at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. He has published widely on the knowledge- and resource-based foundations of competitive advantage, with a particular focus on human capital and its role in M&A, compensation policy, and other aspects of organizational design. Russ is past Chair of the Academy of Management’s BPS Division and will be pretty busy leading up to and during the AoM meeting, but he’s promised to carve out some blogging time now and between sessions. We’re really looking forward to his insights. Welcome, Russ!

30 July 2009 at 10:16 pm 2 comments

Plus ça change. . .

| Peter Klein |

Another quip from 1215:

pole_starsThe politician’s need to peer at least a short distance into the future, in the hope of getting the timing of difficult choices right, meant that few rulers could afford to dismiss astrology. Non-astronomical methods were tried too: Henry II’s chancellor, Thomas Becket, consulted a palm-reader before embarking on an expedition against the Welsh in 1157. But the transfer of Arabic science made astrology the most impressively academic of all methods for telling the future in the twelfth-century West and many rulers turned to astrologers much as politicians today turn to economists.

Danzinger and Gillingham go on to discuss some twelfth-century critics of astrology: “Evidently then, as now, different people held varying opinions about the science of forecasting.”

30 July 2009 at 9:36 am Leave a comment

IBM Buys SPSS for $1.2 billion

| Peter Klein |

Wow. “In acquiring SPSS, IBM said it was expanding its focus on business-analytics technology and services to meet a growing client need to cut costs. According to IDC estimates, the world-wide market for business analytics software will grow by 4% to $25 billion this year.” SPSS must be the most valuable product ever created by a political science professor. (I may or may not mean just monetary value.) HT: Cliff.

28 July 2009 at 11:05 am 12 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).