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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2020

Derek C. Jones

The main aim of this paper is to provide an assessment of the intellectual impact of the work of Jaroslav Vanek in the related fields of participation and labor management…

Abstract

Purpose

The main aim of this paper is to provide an assessment of the intellectual impact of the work of Jaroslav Vanek in the related fields of participation and labor management (hereafter, PLM) and participation and employee ownership (hereafter, PEO).

Design/methodology/approach

This paper used mixed methods including bibliometric analysis.

Findings

Vanek's work, particularly the General Theory of Labor-Managed Market Economies, (Vanek, 1970) is the building block for the modern scientific study of cooperatives and for helping to establish the fields of PLM and PEO. Vanek (1970) continues to be the highest cited publication each year that investigates the pure case of a labor-managed firm. Arguably his work has played a significant role is setting the stage for the development of adjacent fields in economics such as the new institutional economics. For an economist, his work has had an unusually strong impact on work outside of economics.

Originality/value

No similar assessment has been undertaken before.

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 3 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 October 2020

John Bonin

This essay is a tribute to Jaroslav Vanek who spent 32 years at Cornell University where he founded the Program on Participation and Labor-Managed Systems (PPLMS) in 1970…

Abstract

Purpose

This essay is a tribute to Jaroslav Vanek who spent 32 years at Cornell University where he founded the Program on Participation and Labor-Managed Systems (PPLMS) in 1970, which became the home for economic research on these issues in the US. It is a brief intellectual history of a multi-dimensional scholar.

Design/methodology/approach

Vanek's seminal work in the American Economic Review in 1969 marked the culmination of a decade of work on labor management inspired by his brother Jan's work on Yugoslavia, considered then to be a worker-managed economic system. In two rapidly following tomes, Vanek laid out the landscape for the development of a new subfield in economics by providing precursors to many of the results to follow. In that previous decade, Vanek produced papers in traditional economic theory, e.g. international trade and economic growth.

Findings

Vanek's mindset persists in the interplay between the emerging theory of labor-managed firms and traditional economic literature that takes seriously the role of organizational form. This essay develops that cross-pollination and seeks to identify the remaining questions and issues for future work that the economics profession owes to Jaroslav Vanek.

Originality/value

Connection of strands of literature in the economic theory with the literature on labor-managed firms and worker-managed economies tracing the evolution of the latter to the work of Jaroslav Vanek.

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 3 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 October 2020

Gregory K. Dow

The purpose of this article is to summarize the relationship between the research of Jaroslav Vanek on labor-managed firms (LMFs) and the research of Gregory K. Dow on the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to summarize the relationship between the research of Jaroslav Vanek on labor-managed firms (LMFs) and the research of Gregory K. Dow on the same topic.

Design/methodology/approach

The article reviews the research of Jaroslav Vanek in the 1970s and explains how this influenced the publications of Gregory K. Dow extending from the 1980s to the present. A particular focus involves Dow's book “The Labor-Managed Firm: Theoretical Foundations” published by Cambridge University Press in 2018. The methodology is to present an intellectual history in narrative form. The scope of the paper is the economic theory of the LMF.

Findings

The article finds that Dow's interest in LMFs was stimulated by Vanek's publications from the early 1970s. However, Dow's publications in the 1980s were motivated to a large degree by efforts to overcome the limitations of Vanek's theory of the LMF, a goal that shaped much of Dow's later research in the field.

Originality/value

The paper illuminates the strong intellectual influence Jaroslav Vanek exerted on the economic theory of the LMF. Readers who want information about the influences on Dow's work may also find it useful.

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 3 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 6 December 2011

Jed DeVaro and Adrian Stoian

Jaroslav Vanek argues that the ecological degradation of the planet is more severe in a capitalist system than it would be in a fully democratic one. At the heart of the…

Abstract

Jaroslav Vanek argues that the ecological degradation of the planet is more severe in a capitalist system than it would be in a fully democratic one. At the heart of the ecological preservation question is how the classic public goods problem can be solved, and we are skeptical that a fully democratic system could solve this problem any better than the capitalist system, particularly given that consumer demand for environmental protection appears to be income elastic and that the capitalist system can be expected to generate higher levels of societal wealth than the democratic system. While we disagree with Vanek's conclusion and with many of its underlying arguments, we agree that the ecological well-being of the planet is of great importance, that it is expected that economic activity will have ecological implications, and, therefore, that it is well worth comparing the expected ecological impacts of alternative socio-economic systems.

Details

Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory and Labor-Managed Firms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-760-5

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1983

R.G.B. Fyffe

This book is a policy proposal aimed at the democratic left. It is concerned with gradual but radical reform of the socio‐economic system. An integrated policy of…

Abstract

This book is a policy proposal aimed at the democratic left. It is concerned with gradual but radical reform of the socio‐economic system. An integrated policy of industrial and economic democracy, which centres around the establishment of a new sector of employee‐controlled enterprises, is presented. The proposal would retain the mix‐ed economy, but transform it into a much better “mixture”, with increased employee‐power in all sectors. While there is much of enduring value in our liberal western way of life, gross inequalities of wealth and power persist in our society.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 3 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 4 November 2020

Derek C. Jones

Abstract

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 3 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

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Abstract

Details

Sharing Ownership, Profits, and Decision-Making in the 21st Century
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-750-4

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1983

Frank H. Stephen

Five years ago in a review of Jaroslav Vanek's The Labour‐Managed Economy published in this journal, the present writer ventured, inter alia, two general observations on…

Abstract

Five years ago in a review of Jaroslav Vanek's The Labour‐Managed Economy published in this journal, the present writer ventured, inter alia, two general observations on the economics literature of the labour‐managed firm. First, “Vanek has contributed more words and analysis on this subject than the rest of the economics profession put together”. Secondly, “In spite of the increasing concern shown by the ‘men of deeds’ with participation, income sharing and producers' cooperatives over the last ten years the majority of the ‘men of words’ who have offered any advice have been of the sociological species… This reviewer is optimistic enough to hope that this is not because economists have nothing to contribute”. A review of three new books on the subject provides a timely opportunity to reassess these observations.

Details

Journal of Economic Studies, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3585

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1977

PETER J. LAW

There is now a considerable literature on the Illyrian firm (that is, the firm which is assumed to maximise income per worker), and it has been argued that the analysis…

Abstract

There is now a considerable literature on the Illyrian firm (that is, the firm which is assumed to maximise income per worker), and it has been argued that the analysis may have relevance for the labour‐managed or co‐operative enterprise. Significant contributions to this literature have been made by Domar (1966), Vanek (1970), Meade (1972, 1974) and others but the seminal paper is generally recognised to be that of Ward (1958).

Details

Journal of Economic Studies, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3585

Content available
Article
Publication date: 23 September 2020

David Ellerman

This paper will discuss two problems that have plagued the literature on the Ward-Domar-Vanek labor-managed firm (LMF) model, the perverse supply response problem and the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper will discuss two problems that have plagued the literature on the Ward-Domar-Vanek labor-managed firm (LMF) model, the perverse supply response problem and the horizon problem. The paper also discusses the solution to the horizon problem and the alleged “solution” of a membership market.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper so it analyzes the two problems and shows how they can be resolved. It also shows how one alleged “solution” (membership market) is based on several conceptual mistakes about the structure of rights in a democratic firm.

Findings

The perverse supply response is based on the assumption that the members of a democratic firm can expel for no cause some members when it would benefit the remaining members. It is shown that the same perverse behavior happens conceptually and historically in a conventional firm under the same assumptions. The horizon problem is resolved by the system of internal capital accounts (ICAs) that has been independently invented at least four times.

Research limitations/implications

The idea of a democratic firm is quite often dismissed by conventional economists: “At first it seems like a good idea but unfortunately it is plagued by structural problems such as the perverse supply response and the horizon problem.” Hence it is important to see that the first is not a problem under ordinary assumptions and that the second is a solved problem.

Practical implications

The perverse supply response problem can be reproduced in a conventional firm under similar assumptions, and the horizon problem is real problem for social or common ownership firms but is solved in the Mondragon-type worker cooperatives by the system of ICAs. This has been known and published since the early 1980s, but conventional economists ignore the solution and still cite it as an inherent structure problem of a democratic firm.

Originality/value

It has not been previously shown in the LMF literature that the perverse supply response can be reproduced in a conventional corporation under similar assumptions since the maximand for the conventional firm is not total market value but that value per current shareholder. The solution to the horizon problem using ICAs has long been “known” but never acknowledged in the conventional literature as if it was a necessary feature of workplace democracy. The idea of a membership market is analyzed and criticized.

Details

Journal of Participation and Employee Ownership, vol. 3 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-7641

Keywords

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