Archive for October, 2009

Victory for New Institutionalism
October 17, 2009

Much of the ‘blogosphere’ erupted with praise at the announcement of this year’s Nobel Laureates for economics, & rightly so! Elinor Ostrom & Oliver Williamson are much-deserving recipients. From the excitement, outstanding commentary has emerged, shining new light on the subdiscipline of new institutional economics. Mario Rizzo appropriately stated earlier this week:

In this case the Nobel Committee has brought extraordinary work to the attention of an economics discipline that has become excessively specialized and, perhaps increasingly irrelevant to the real world.

As for explanations regarding the new laureates’ distinct works, Organization and Markets has, in essence, devoted the week to blogging on such affairs, & Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution added an especially thoughtful post on Williamson’s contributions.

Here’s Ostrom, via Free Exchange, delivering a short lecture on the power of institutions & economic governance:

On the future of new institutionalism, Josh Wright noted that there are still others entitled to honorary recognition. I am hopeful their moments will come, & for the time being, delighted for the ambition acknowledgment of Ostrom & Williamson might inspire.

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A Stunning Paradox
October 9, 2009

Five days ago, Roger Koppl shared his Politics in One Lesson:

It is better to signal goodness than to do good. That’s it. That’s the lesson. Democratic politics is mostly about signals not substance.

Barack Obama, a dedicated student, has executed this lesson masterfully–proving himself to be “temperamentally but not substantively different from his predecessor.” It’s a stunning paradox that obtaining a monopoly on violence can merit an award for peace.

The pronouncement is also ironic given that, in 1986, James Buchanan received the Nobel Prize in economics for “his development of the contractual & constitutional bases for the theory of economic & political decision making,” work which he considered “Politics without romance.”