Becker and Posner on Williamson and Organizational Economics

7 December 2009 at 5:38 pm 1 comment

| Peter Klein |

Ruminations on the field of organizational economics from Becker and Posner. Both are inspired by Williamson’s Nobel but neither discusses his contributions very directly. Posner’s comment, the longer of the two, describes some of his own work (with Luis Garicano) on public organizations.

PS: I’ve been looking for some time for an electronic copy of the 1993 Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics exchange between Posner, Coase, and Williamson. If anyone has it, can you email me a copy?

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Management Theory, Strategic Management, Theory of the Firm.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. fabiorojas  |  10 December 2009 at 12:24 am

    “Both are inspired by Williamson’s Nobel but neither discusses his contributions very directly.”

    As the Nobels sink in, I’ve begun to understand why this is. Williamson’s work – and Ostrom’s – are very different in spirit than what is found in contemporary economics. From what I’ve seen in journals and seminar presentations, modern economics is really about narrow puzzle solving. Not all of it of course, but the modal economist is trying to answer a relatively straight forward question with some very sophisticated applications of very specific ideas.

    Williamson and Ostrom are the opposite. Both are fairly low tech scholars, but their work is highly conceptual and multi-disciplinary. Rather than nail down a narrow result with massive data analysis or formal model, their work really builds on a whole mess of insights drawn from deep reading, thick description, ideas borrowed from adjacent disciplines, etc. Both styles of work are valuable, of course, but I think that these two folks are simply out of phase with the econ profession and that’s why people were kind of scratching their heads when the awards were announced.

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