Saturday, September 27, 2008

Still on GM and Fisher???

Organizations and Markets just has another post (see the first one here) on yet another round of debate over the acquisition of Fisher Body by General Motors. It's a classic case, particularly in the analysis of vertical integration when parties face high asset specificity.

The new issue of Industrial and Corporate Change has two more papers, “Lawyers Asleep at the Wheel? The GM–Fisher Body Contract” by Victor Goldberg and “The Enforceability of the GM–Fisher Body Contract: Comment on Goldberg” by Ben Klein. Apparently, the debate will still go on.

I think this case and the idea of asset specificity have already become a standard in Transaction Cost Economics and even in the recent advancement of Incomplete Contract Framework. When I ask him to make some comments on these recent debates, Harvard Prof. Oliver Hart just replied, "I wish that we could get beyond this case! Relationship specific investments have got to be an important factor in determining the costs and benefits of vertical integration, even though there may be many others!"

Map of Scientific Paradigms

See here. (Transaction cost, firm size, innovation etc. are somewhere in the 9 o'clock area.)

This map "was constructed by sorting roughly 800,000 scientific papers into 776 different scientific paradigms (shown as red and blue circular nodes) based on how often the papers were cited together by authors of other papers. Links (curved lines) were made between the paradigms that shared common members, then treated as rubber bands, holding similar paradigms closer to one another when a physical simulation forced them all apart: thus the layout derives directly from the data. Larger paradigms have more papers. Labels list common words unique to each paradigm"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Time to dump Word??

Microsoft Word is pervasively used to write ordinary documents and academic papers, because it is easy to operate and you will see what you will get. But if you are going to deal with much more sophisticated mathematical equations, LaTex may become a better choice. But with LaTex, you cannot simply get what you see (maybe sometimes if you want to insert, say, a table, it would be difficult for you to define the specific attributes of the table unless you become very experienced).

What if we combine the merits of Word and LaTex? Then here comes Lyx (also see here). Most of the time, the quasiconcavity of preference relations will hold.

So is it the time to dump Word??

Hat tip to a friend of mine.

A little bit diverting...but interesting posts

From NewScientist:

1. Why preschool is more than just child's play?
2. Do we need help making sensible decisions?
3. Eight facts about Cold; and
4. Are happy kids dumb kids?

Shiller on housing and bubbles

Robert Shiller of Yale University had a conversation with Econtalk host Russ Roberts, in which he argues that the current housing and related financial market problems are much due to speculative fervor in the past (here for audio). He also had an interview with Princeton University Press, talking about his new book, The Subprime Solution (see here and here).

Friday, September 19, 2008

What's new in econometrics?

See the 2007 Summer Institute mini-course organized by NBER and all the related video files.

Nobel Symposium on Foundations of Organization

Stockholm School of Economics hosted the Nobel Symposium on Foundations of Organization on August 28 and 29. Many prominent figures in economics, business administration and sociology have taken part in this symposium. Papers, slides and discussions can be found on this page. Interestingly, MIT prof. Robert Gibbons presented a SEVENTY-EIGHT page long paper on Economic Theories of Internal Organization, in which he tries to present an integrated framework on the internal structures and processes of an organization by combining insights from economics, sociology, politics and business strategy. Although it's huge, it is worth a read!

Update (Dec. 16, 2009): the former links to this program were broken, and now they are all fixed. Thanks to James Yen for the pointer!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008