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Book part
Publication date: 8 April 2015

Malcolm Rutherford

This paper is an initial attempt to discuss the American institutionalist movement as it changed and developed after 1945. Institutionalism in the inter-war period was a…

Abstract

This paper is an initial attempt to discuss the American institutionalist movement as it changed and developed after 1945. Institutionalism in the inter-war period was a relatively coherent movement held together by a set of general methodological, theoretical, and ideological commitments (Rutherford, 2011). Although institutionalism always had its critics, it came under increased attack in the 1940s, and faced challenges from Keynesian economics, a revived neoclassicism, econometrics, and from new methodological approaches derived from various versions of positivism. The institutionalist response to these criticisms, and particularly the criticism that institutionalism “lacked theory,” is to be found in a variety of attempts to redefine institutionalism in new theoretical or methodological terms. Perhaps the most important of these is to be found in Clarence Ayres’ The Theory of Economic Progress (1944), although there were many others. These developments were accompanied by a significant amount of debate, disagreement, and uncertainty over future directions. Some of this is reflected in the early history of The Association for Evolutionary Economics.

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Documents on Modern History of Economic Thought: Part C
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76230-998-6

Book part
Publication date: 18 February 2004

Ronnie J Phillips and Douglas Kinnear

In 1978, Philip Klein wrote about institutional economists of the Veblen-Commons-Mitchell-Ayres variety:Whatever we call ourselves, we are not given much credit generally…

Abstract

In 1978, Philip Klein wrote about institutional economists of the Veblen-Commons-Mitchell-Ayres variety: Whatever we call ourselves, we are not given much credit generally among our fellow economists, but I think there is evidence that an ever-wider group of economists has begun to hear what we are saying and to accept a number of our premises…institutionalism must be viewed as either never having died or as being in the process of a resurrection which I suggest will endure (Klein, 1978, p. 252).Klein’s optimism seems justified by the following quote from Joseph Stiglitz’s new book, Globalization and its Discontents: Old-fashioned economics textbooks often talk about market economics as if it had three essential ingredients: prices, private property, and profits. Together with competition, these provide incentives, coordinate economic decision making, ensuring that firms produce what individuals want at the lowest possible cost. But there has also long been a recognition of the importance of institutions (Stiglitz, 2002, p. 139; emphasis in original).Klein and other original institutionalists should be buoyed when they hear such a statement from a recent Nobel Prize winner. One problem, however, is that the “old-fashioned textbooks” are still being published in 2003. The quote also raises a question: just who recognized the importance of institutions and when did they recognize it? Statements such as the above by Stiglitz irk original institutionalists, but why? Is it because he underestimates the prominence of perfect competition in current texts, because he is understating original institutionalists’ positions as “keepers of the faith,” or both? In any case, we may not be able to hoist the V(eblen)-C(ommons) banner and claim total victory but, increasingly, more of economics today is institutional economics. A recent article by Allan Schmid demonstrates that indeed though everyone is not an institutionalist in the Veblen-Commons mold, “good economists find it useful to embrace some of its various elements” (Schmid, 2001, p. 281).

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Wisconsin "Government and Business" and the History of Heterodox Economic Thought
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-090-6

Book part
Publication date: 10 June 2011

Charles J. Whalen

This chapter presents an institutional analysis of two organizations established by union members to give labor a voice in regional economic development in western New…

Abstract

This chapter presents an institutional analysis of two organizations established by union members to give labor a voice in regional economic development in western New York (WNY), one that emerged in the 1970s another created in the 1990s. Employing the institutionalist comparative case method, the analysis highlights the organizations' similarities and differences. Then, drawing attention to key “limiting” factors, a theory is outlined, offering three scenarios for future labor involvement in WNY economic development. Central to those scenarios is the finding that labor needs not only a voice but also a suitable message.

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Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-907-4

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1979

J. Ron Stanfield

This article attempts to provide an institutionalist analysis and diagnosis of the current crisis of orthodox economics. We shall, first, characterise the predominant…

Abstract

This article attempts to provide an institutionalist analysis and diagnosis of the current crisis of orthodox economics. We shall, first, characterise the predominant opinion in economics—the neoclassical synthesis. Next, we examine the anomalies which are currently vexing orthodox opinion and their power to provoke a period of crisis and extraordinary science. In the final section, we diagnose the source of the anomalies of the neoclassical synthesis.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Book part
Publication date: 18 February 2004

A.Allan Schmid

The first Wisconsin Ph.D.s who came to MSU with an institutional bent were agricultural economists and included Henry Larzalere (Ph.D. 1938) whose major professor was…

Abstract

The first Wisconsin Ph.D.s who came to MSU with an institutional bent were agricultural economists and included Henry Larzalere (Ph.D. 1938) whose major professor was Asher Hobson. Larzalere recalls the influence of Commons who retired in 1933. Upon graduation, Larzalere worked a short time for Wisconsin Governor Phillip Fox LaFollette who won passage of the nation’s first unemployment compensation act. Commons had earlier helped LaFollette’s father, Robert, to a number of institutional innovations.4 Larzalere continued the Commons’ tradition of contributing to the development of new institutions rather than being content to provide an efficiency apologia for existing private governance structures. He helped Michigan farmers form cooperatives. He taught land economics prior to Barlowe’s arrival in 1948, but primarily taught agricultural marketing. One of his Master’s degree students was Glenn Johnson (see below). Larzalere retired in 1977.

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Wisconsin "Government and Business" and the History of Heterodox Economic Thought
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-090-6

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1984

John Conway O’Brien

It is suggested that the approach of the social economist to social problems, if followed, would lead to The Good Society, one in which the lot of our “human resources”…

Abstract

It is suggested that the approach of the social economist to social problems, if followed, would lead to The Good Society, one in which the lot of our “human resources” would be considerably ameliorated. For the social economist the goal of the economy is not private profit nor is it improvement in the fertility of the soil nor capital accumulation for their own sakes and that of their owners, but the material, moral and spiritual well‐being of homo sapiens. The social economist is concerned with the efficiency of the capitalist system relative to the broad goals of society, rather than the maximisation of private property.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1985

GERALD ALONZO SMITH and STEVEN HICKERSON

When E. F. Schumacher first wrote Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, the initial reaction was mixed. For the first year or so, the book sold slowly. Then…

Abstract

When E. F. Schumacher first wrote Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, the initial reaction was mixed. For the first year or so, the book sold slowly. Then in 1974, the sales exploded. In a very short time, E. F. Schumacher became widely acclaimed as his book sold more than a million copies. On both sides of the Atlantic, the common person, as well as the scholar, realized that this was a new voice, a fresh and wholesome breath of wind that was blowing in the stodgy halls of economics.

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Studies in Economics and Finance, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1086-7376

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1995

Rick Tilman and John H. Brown

Discusses the theories of Thorstein Veblen and C. Wright Mills onstatus emulation and craftsmanship. Applies these theories to thebusiness situataion, especially public…

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Abstract

Discusses the theories of Thorstein Veblen and C. Wright Mills on status emulation and craftsmanship. Applies these theories to the business situataion, especially public administration. Concludes that, if contamination by emulatory values and behaviours can be limited, the ideal of authentic public administration emphasizing organizational humanism and craftsmanship is still possible.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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