Wednesday, April 30, 2008

After Stepping Down...

Freakonomist Steven Levitt stepped down as the editor of one of the most prestigious academic journals in economics, Journal of Political Economy, a few weeks ago. Here is his earlier message to economists and here is a story describing how he was treated after stepping down...

Three Podcasts from Science & the City

Science & the City has three interesting podcasts:

The first one is Future of the Stockmarket, in which investors, economists, and quantitative finance experts discuss how technological innovations have hastened the growth of the markets.

The second piece is Physics of the Impossible. The cofounder of string field theory offers a scientific exploration of the world of phasers, force fields, teleportation, and time travel.

In Distortions of Memory, experts in language, literature, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychoanalysis discuss what is known about how we store and subsequently recall the past.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Henderson on Strategy and Sustainability

MIT Sloan School Professor Rebecca Henderson had a nice talk on what firms should do to implement strategy around sustainability, and why it is so hard to do new things in old organizations.

"...companies looking to act in fundamentally different ways, says Henderson, must prepare for overload, accepting and managing the fact that the business will be 'worse before better.' Becoming unstuck, says Henderson, means, measuring capacity, tracking resources, finding time to step back and make decisions, demonstrating a commitment at all levels of the company, and having serious conversations, from the mind and from the heart. In sustainability, concludes Henderson, we 'need to break the logjam between overload and strategy,' and we 'need to be very precise about what we want to do.'"

Monday, April 7, 2008

Another Empirical Review on the Boundary of the Firm

We had this post last September. Francine Lafontaine and Margaret Slade had a superb review paper on vertical integration titled "Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries: The Evidence", which appeared in the Journal of Economic Literature (Non-gated version here).

A few months later, Kellogg professor Thomas Hubbard also published a paper on the same topic. "Viewpoint: Empirical research on firms' boundaries" appears in the current issue of the Canadian Journal of Economics. Instead of going through and summarizing all the major empirical work in the fields, like Lafontaine and Slade did last year, most of Hubbard's discussion concerns empirical work that is related to three key theoretical insights that build from each other, i.e. , relationship-specific investments, residual control rights and correlated organizational variables. Worth a read.

Hat tip to Organizations and Markets.

Evidence on The Future of Economics

...via Marginal Revolution. Here is the paper.

In a nutshell: This short paper collects and studies the CVs of 112 assistant professors in the top-ten American departments of economics. The paper treats these as a glimpse of the future. We find evidence of a strong brain drain. We find also a predominance of empirical work.

Olin School: My Next Trip

I am going to join Olin School, Washington University this August to pursue my doctorate in Business Strategy there! The possibility that I would work with Professors Jackson Nickerson, Todd Zenger and Nicholas Argyres in the near future really makes me feel excited!

Any suggestions?