Author Archive

Thanks to the O&M Proprietors . . .

| Scott Masten |

. . . for the opportunity to post a few thoughts on O&M over the last few months. (Errors and, especially, omissions are the sole responsibility of the author.) As I told Peter, it was nice to have a location from which to broadcast items from time to time that wouldn’t otherwise make it beyond lunch partners and the unlucky panhandler. As I discovered, even occasional musings take time, and participating, even sporadically, has given me a greater appreciation for the benefits that Peter, Nicolai, Dick, and Lasse provide us O&M consumers. It’s worth every penny!

And so, with gratitude, I take my leave.

6 July 2011 at 2:23 pm 5 comments

An Early Example of a Hold-up. . .

| Scott Masten |

. . . in which two Irishman sweep fifteen or thirty Italians into an open ditch.

The context is a dispute over a contract for the supply of water to Bayonne, NJ., circa 1896, as reported in The First History of Bayonne, NJ (1904: 92):

At the mayoralty election in the spring of 1895, Egbert Seymour, on the Democratic ticket, was elected Mayor. Several of the Councilmen who were elected at this election, and two or three city officials, were opposed to the new water contract, and attempted a “hold-up.” The trouble reached its height one day during the first year of Seymour’s administration. While employees of the water company were tapping the old mains to make the necessary water connection, some city officials arrived on the scene. Immediately there was trouble.

The New York Times article (Nov. 24, 1896) on the right (click to enlarge) elaborates, amusingly, on the manner in which the holdup was executed.

I have not yet been able to verify it but, according the previous source, “The matter was taken before the Supreme Court of the United States by the water company, and an injunction was obtained against the city. United States marshals were stationed at the scene until the work was completed, to arrest any city official who interfered.” The city eventually bought out the company in 1918.

(Wish that I had found that quotation before completing this.)

25 March 2011 at 8:56 pm Leave a comment

ISNIE Annual Conference, Stanford University, June 16–18

| Scott Masten |

The 15th Annual Conference of the International Society for New Institutional Economics will be held this year at Stanford University on June 16-18. The conference is being organized by President-Elect Barry Weingast, and my inside, not-yet-public information is that the conference will have two very interesting keynotes. The ISNIE website has the just-released Call for Papers.


21 January 2011 at 10:46 am Leave a comment

Famous Figure Omission

| Scott Masten |

My inbox today contained an advertisement for a new Elgar publication: Famous Figures and Diagrams in Economics:

I’m sure that everyone in the O&M-isphere will agree that such a volume is incomplete without (more…)

19 January 2011 at 2:57 pm 3 comments

Remediableness Quote* of the Day

| Scott Masten |

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

— G.K. Chesterton, The Thing (1929)

*Shouldn’t it be quotation of the day?

14 January 2011 at 8:31 am 2 comments

Entrepreneurship Lives!

| Scott Masten |

At the ASSA meetings in Denver this weekend, O&M impresario Peter Klein gave a typically (for him) enlightening and entertaining presentation on “Institutions and Entrepreneurial Opportunities: A New Approach.” (An audience member gushed afterward that it was one of the best presentations she had ever seen. Perhaps Peter can provide a link to the paper.) To illustrate one of his points, Peter used images of ruins from once-glorious buildings in Detroit such as this one:

Peter’s point was that, though on its face, such abandoned structures would appear to present unrealized entrepreneurial opportunities, such opportunities were probably illusory in light of Detroit’s decline.

In fact, Peter, in a rare lapse, simply failed to look deeply enough into the question. Entrepreneurship is alive and well even in Detroit! (more…)

9 January 2011 at 7:59 pm 6 comments

Palgrave Entry on Oliver Williamson

| Scott Masten |

If you have access to The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Online Edition, my entry on Oliver Williamson is now available: Oliver E. Williamson.

3 December 2010 at 7:57 am 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).