Archive for February, 2011

John Nye on the New Institutional Economics and Economic Development

| Peter Klein |

The always-thoughtful and interesting John Nye, speaking last December on the New Institutional Economics and economic development.

BTW, for your convenience, a copy of the hard-to-find 1989 Nabli and Nugent paper, “The New Institutional Economics and Its Applicability to Development,” is available here.

3 February 2011 at 12:39 pm Leave a comment

Sociologists on IRBs

| Peter Klein |

According to sociologists Carol A. Heimer and JuLeigh Petty (via Zachary), the basic problem is that IRBs “substitute bureaucratic ethics for professional ethics.”

Much of the literature on human subject regulation asserts that Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) have failed at the task of regulating human subjects research. These critiques of IRB law can be grouped into three loose categories: critiques of IRB law as law, critiques of IRBs as regulation, and critiques of IRBs as a system of norm creation. Moving beyond critique, we rethink the literature on IRBs drawing on the tools and scholarship of the social sciences. In particular, we examine human subjects regulation as an insufficient remedy to inequalities between weak and powerful actors, as a site of professional claims- and career-making, and as an occasion for institutionalization. Finally, distinguishing between the regulation of science and the regulation of ethics, we observe that the latter is far more difficult because ethics are contextual and subject to social construction. For these reasons, IRBs often substitute bureaucratic ethics for professional ethics.

They raise several interesting points, and to show my appreciation I’ll refrain from attaching the pomo periscope tag.

3 February 2011 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

Too Cool to Update …

| Nicolai Foss |

We generally think of setting up a webpage (or a blog or a CV) as great fun, and maintaining it as less fun. But not maintaining your webpage (in terms of design and content) may be a signalling device. For example,

And your examples?

2 February 2011 at 4:44 pm 2 comments

Snow Days

| Dick Langlois |

The University canceled classes yesterday and today because of the snow, for the third and fourth times already this semester. I had to email my large lecture class with rearranged assignments. Apparently, some of my colleagues were even more upset at this than I was. (If it’s not obvious: Jay Hickey is the functionary in Human Resources who sends out the emails canceling classes.)

2 February 2011 at 2:26 pm Leave a comment

Three New Review Papers

| Nicolai Foss |

Although they are in general not highly regarded, I love writing review papers. Writing such a paper is an excellent opportunity to revisit classic papers. Sometimes you get a new idea while reflecting on the current research frontier. They are great for establishing research contacts, for although review papers may not be cited a lot, they are read a lot. And they can usually be put quickly together. Here are three new review papers/chapters written over the last month or so:

2 February 2011 at 7:37 am 2 comments

Pomo Periscope XXI: Trashing Sociology

| Nicolai Foss |

The boys over at think that our Pomo Periscope series is “lame” and are upset that we ”routinely [trash] these people” (meaning Foucault et al.). Which is what you would expect, as the PP “routinely” pokes fun at sociologists. However, if you want real, heavy-hitting sociology-trashing, rather than the fundamentally kind-hearted approach of the PP, take a close look at Russell Jacoby’s review of Erik Olin Wright’s Envisioning Real Utopias. 

2 February 2011 at 3:24 am 4 comments

Transaction Cost Regulation

| Peter Klein |

At last year’s ISNIE conference in Stirling Pablo Spiller gave an excellent presidential address on “Transaction Cost Regulation,” the application of transaction cost economics to regulatory issues. The text of the address has now been released as an NBER Working Paper with the same name:

This paper discusses the fundamental underpinnings and some implications of transaction cost regulation (TCR), a framework to analyze the interaction between governments and investors fundamentally, but not exclusively, in utility industries. TCR sees regulation as the governance structure of these interactions, and thus, as in standard transaction cost economics, it places emphasis in understanding the nature of the hazards inherent to these interactions. The emphasis on transactional hazards requires a microanalytical perspective, where performance assessment is undertaken within the realm of possible institutional alternative. In that sense, politics becomes fundamental to understanding regulation as the governance of public / private interactions. The paper discusses two fundamental hazards and their organizational implications: governmental and third party opportunism. Both interact to make regulatory processes and outcomes more rigid, formalistic, and prone to conflict than envisioned by relational contracting.

You can see the slides from the ISNIE version here.

1 February 2011 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment

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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).

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