Covaleski, Mark A.; Dirsmith, Mark W. and Samuel, Sajay
A Strategic Deconstruction of John R. Commons's Regulatory Discourse
Within the institutional economics literature, increasing research attention has been directed toward understanding the rhetorical constitution of economics. This article contributes to this understanding through a strategic deconstruction of the discourse of John R. Commons in which he sought to establish an approach to regulation of electric utilities in the State of Wisconsin. Two rhetorical strategies are used: the "formalist voice" and the "expertise voice," to deal with the necessary, though arbitrary inclusion of both objectivity and subjectivity within the regulatory milieu. Commons' "reflective voice," wherein he recognizes the paradoxes inherent in regulation, is examined. J. Econ. Issues March, 1997, pp. 1-27, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.; Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.; Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Haight, Alan Day
Padded Prowess: A Veblenian Interpretation of the Long Hours of Salaried Workers
Veblen emphasized the influence of early hunting on our modern notions
of status. This paper adds a distinction between hunters who return
bearing game and hunters who return without a visible product: the
former can enhance status by understating work effort, while the
latter must adopt a posture of conspicuous exhaustion. Such status
ploys may contribute to the male-female wage gap. Illustrations are
drawn from Arthur Miller's classic drama Death of a Salesman, and from
athletic contests. Veblenian status ploys rooted in barbarian
traditions often conflict with the Protestant work ethic and the
American disdain for aristocracy. J. Econ. Issues, March, 1997, pp. 29-38, Bowling Green State University, Bowling
Green, Ohio, U.S.A.
The Role of Opportunism in Transaction Cost Economics
Examines critically the
nature of, and the pervasive influence exercised by, opportunism
within transaction cost economics (TCE). It attempts to show that a
TCE failure to account for diversity in human motivation coupled with
theoretical inconsistencies in the use of opportunism leads to biases
in organizational design which can render hierarchical structures
inefficient. Inefficiencies may result from a failure to recognize
that institutional design can affect behavior, and from the lack of
mechanisms safeguarding against subordinate exploitation. The
analysis lends support to the view that imputing a transactions cost
efficiency rationale to observed organizational structures may lack
credibility. J. Econ. Issues, March, 1997, pp. 39-57, Middlesex University, London, England.
Hunt, Shelby D.
Resource-Advantage Theory: An evolutionary Theory of Competitive Firm Behavior?
A new resource-advantage theory, formulated in the
marketing, management, and socioeconomics literatures, fuses
marketing's heterogeneous demand theory with management's
resource-based theory of the firm. This article argues that
resource-advantage theory is an evolutionary account of rivalrous firm
behavior in that it is a phylogenetic, non-consummatory theory of
competitive firm behavior. Both firms and resources are heritable,
durable units of selection, and competition among firms is the
selection process that results in the survival of the "locally
fitter," not the "universally fittest." Resource-advantage theory
conceptualizes resources and resource creation in ways that are
congruent with current institutional theory. J. Econ. Issues, March, 1997, pp. 59-77, Texas Tech University,
Lubbock, Texas, U.S.A.
Jin, Dengjian and Haynes, Kingsley E.
Economic Transition at the Edge of Order and Chaos: China's Dualist and Leading Sectoral Approach
China's experiences in economic
transition from a planned to a market economy are summarized, compared
to those of Russia, and re-examined through the perspective of
complexity theory of evolutionary (institutional) economics. In
contrast to the conventional "big bang"/"gradualist" dichotomy, a
dualist and leading sectoral approach is proposed to interpret China's
break through the gridlock of interconnectedness of the old planning
system. This approach overcomes the problem of discrepancy in the
pace of transition among components of the socio-economic system. The
paper also addresses the importance of positive feedback and
positive-sum principles for successful economic transition. J.
Econ. Issues, March, 1997, pp. 79-101, George Mason
University, Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.A.
O-Hara, Phillip Anthony
A New Measure of Macroeconomic Performance and Institutional Change: The Index of Community, Warranted Knowledge and Participation
Develops a new measure called the Index of Community, Warranted Knowledge, and
Participation (ICWP). The first section explores the relevant theory.
The second examines P.D. Bush's micro-model as applied to the system
of production. The third extends the Bush model to the macroeconomy
to examine capitalist reproduction over time. J. Econ. Issues, March, 1997, pp. 103-128, Curtin University of
Technology, Perth, Australia.
Birecree, Adrienne M. and Konzelmann, Suzanne
A Comparative Analysis of Cases of Conflictual Labor Relations in the Corn Processing, Steel, Paper and Coal Industries
In recent decades firms in a number of major U.S.
industries have pursued relatively aggressive and adversarial
strategies that precipitate labor-management conflict. This has
happened even as labor-management cooperation has received widespread
attention as a strategy for promoting organizational economic
performance. This paper examines the determinants of aggressive
approaches to labor relations at the industry level, by comparing case
studies of notably aggressive firms in the corn processing, steel,
paper, and bituminous coal industries. It also evaluates the effects
of such strategies on firm performance in both the short and
long-term. J. Econ Issues, March, 1997, pp. 129-144, Radford University, Radford, Virginia, U.S.A. ; Indiana
University at South Bend, South Bend, Indiana, U.S.A.
Stern, David I.
Polarities The Capital Theory Approach to Sustainability: A Critical Appraisal
Among the most prominent
approaches to sustainability theory is the capital theory approach
(CTA) which is based on maintenance of a capital stock. CTA concepts
are now informing policy even though there are a number of
difficulties of application in a theoretically valid manner.
Internal difficulties with the CTA are reviewed as are criticisms
from outside the neoclassical normative framework. The compatibility
of sustainability, as originally conceived, the institutionalist
instrumental valuation and the clash between CTA and the latter
approach are discussed and alternative approaches examined. These
approaches accept the open-ended and multi-dimensional nature of
sustainability that reduces the coherence and applicability of CTA. J. Econ. Issues, March, 1997, pp. 145-173, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Financial Instability Reconsidered: Orthodox Theories versus Historical Facts
Histories of three high-profile
episodes of financial crisis: the 1720 French "Mississippi Bubble,"
the 1825 British episode and the 1929 American debacle are
summarized. The paper concludes that orthodox theories fail to
explain critical turning points. The stylized facts that emerge from
the historic episodes appear to be consistent with the institutional
assumptions of earlier theorists--namely, John Maynard Keynes, Joseph
Schumpeter and Irving Fisher--and with the modern heterodox theorists
who have continued in their tradition. J. Econ. Issues, March,
1997, pp. 175-195, York University-Atkinson College,
North York, Ontario, Canada
Brooks, Arthur C.
Toward a Demand-Side Cure for Cost Disease in the Performing Arts
inability of the performing arts sector to enjoy increases in labor
productivity exposes it to the possibility of cost
disease--continuously rising costs relative to revenues. While many
economic studies of this problem have centered on the supply side,
very little work has been done on the demand side. This paper seeks
to begin this task. First, it separates a "Veblenian" approach to
increasing demand, in which the luxury status of the performing arts
is enhanced, from a "Marshallian" one, in which the number of people
exposed to the performing arts is maximized. Which approach is
currently most widely used, and which might be better, are the
concluding questions. J. Econ. Issues March, 1997, pp. 197-207, The Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, California,
Gedeon, Shirley J.
The Modern Free Banking School: A Review
The modern free banking school (MFB) argues that a central
bank is not an economic necessity, but a political creation that
weakens the discipline that competition imposes on banks.
Competition limits the total issue of inside money (notes, demand
deposits, possibly electronic money) to just the amount that the
public wants to hold. This article shows that the MFB argument is
flawed because it fails to distinguish between liquidity preference
and money demand, thereby leaving itself without an adequate theory
of how the market attend to financial fragility and respond to
economic crisis. J. Econ. Issues, March, 1997, pp.
209-222, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, U.S.A.
Boyd, David W.
From "Mom and Pop" to Wal-Mart: The Impact of the Consumer Goods Pricing Act of 1975 on the Retail Sector in the United States
In the retail sector in the United States over the
past 40 years there has been a shift away from smaller,
higher-service "mom and pop" retail proprietorships towards larger,
warehouse-like, mass merchandisers. This retail migration is in part
due to the passage of the Consumer Goods Pricing Act of 1975, which
effectively outlawed the manufacturer practice of resale price
maintenance. The legislation encouraged retail free-riding and
eroded property rights in retail services, leading to the demise of
many small, service-oriented retailers, thus paving the way for
growth of mass-merchandisers. J. Econ. Issues, March, 1997, pp. 223-232, Denison University, Granville, Ohio,
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Last Updated on: Monday, May 5, 1997