Richard N. Langlois


Subject Areas: Economics of organizations and institutions, business and economic history.

Richard N. Langlois was born and raised in eastern Connecticut. Before coming to UConn in 1983, he was affiliated with the Center for Science and Technology Policy and the C. V. Starr Center for Applied Economics at New York University. Professor Langlois’s principal research areas are the economics of organization, the economics of institutions, and business history. He is the author (with Paul L. Robertson) of Firms, Markets, and Economic Change: A Dynamic Theory of Business Institutions (London: Routledge, 1995), which articulates (among other things) the theory of dynamic transaction costs and the theory of modular technological systems. Another focus of Professor Langlois’s work has been the economic history of technology. He has written on such industries as computers, semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and software. His history of the microcomputer industry won the Newcomen Award as the best article in Business History Review in 1992. Recently, Professor Langlois has turned his attention to explaining the changes in corporate organization in the late twentieth century, a set of phenomena he refers to as the Vanishing Hand. His latest book, The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy (Routledge, 2007), received the 2006 Schumpeter Prize of the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society.  His newest book, called The Corporation and the Twentieth Century (Princeton University Press, 2023), has been named a Foreign Affairs best book of 2023 and has been reviewed in the Wall Street Journal and the Finanical Times.  He is now at work on an Advanced Introduction to the Economics of Organization, which will be part of the Advanced Introductions series of Edward Elgar Publishing.


Ph.D., Engineering-Economic Systems, Stanford University, 1981
M.S., Engineering-Economic Systems, Stanford University, 1976
M.S., Astronomy, Yale University, 1975
B.A., Physics and English, Williams College, 1974

Honors and Appointments:

  • Goodstein-Langer Award for Honors Advising, 2023.
  • Distinguished Professor, School of Economic and Business Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2016-2018.
  • Faculty Excellence in Research Award (Social Sciences), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Connecticut, April 2015.
  • University of Connecticut Alumni Association 2007 Faculty Excellence Award in Research (Humanities/Social Sciences).
  • Recipient of the 2006 Schumpeter Prize of the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society.
  • Provost’s Research Excellence Award, University of Connecticut, 2006.
  • Adjunct (Honorary) Professor, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2005-2015.
  • Grillo Family Faculty Award for Research (2004) and Teaching (2011).
  • Most Appreciated Faculty Member, Association of Graduate Economics Students, 1997-98 and 2000-01.
  • Newcomen Award for the best paper in Business History Review, 1992.

Courses Taught:

Economics through Film
Economic History of Europe
Honors Core: Rights and Harms
History of Economic Thought
Economics of Organization

Research Interests: Twentieth-century Business History, Modular Systems

Selected Publications:

The Corporation and the Twentieth Century: the History of American Business Enterprise.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2023.

The Corporation and the Twentieth Century

Modularity, Identity, and the Constitutional Diagonal,” Industrial and Corporate Change, paper for the special issue “The Power of Modularity Today: 20 Years of ‘Design Rules,’” in press.



Contact Information
Phone+1 860 486-3472
Mailing AddressUnit 1063
Office Location309D Herbst Hall
Office HoursTuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:30, or by appointment