A review of Professor Langlois’s recent book, The Corporation and the Twentieth Century: The History of American Business Enterprise was featured in the July 1st edition of The Wall Street Journal. Reviewer Dan Akst describes Professor Langlois’s book as “…a remarkable achievement, not least for its detailed case studies of firms and whole industries that instantiate the author’s points.”
Professor Langlois’s book The Corporation and the Twentieth Century, a “definitive reframing of the economic, institutional, and intellectual history of the managerial era,” has been published and is available through Princeton University Press:
The twentieth century was the managerial century in the United States. An organizational transformation, from entrepreneurial to managerial capitalism, brought forth what became a dominant narrative: that administrative coordination by trained professional managers is essential to the efficient running of organizations both public and private. And yet if managerialism was the apotheosis of administrative efficiency, why did both its practice and the accompanying narrative lie in ruins by the end of the century? In The Corporation and the Twentieth Century, Richard Langlois offers an alternative version: a comprehensive and nuanced reframing and reassessment of the the economic, institutional, and intellectual history of the managerial era.
Langlois argues that managerialism rose to prominence not because of its inherent superiority but because of its contingent value in a young and rapidly developing American economy. The structures of managerialism solidified their dominance only because the century’s great catastrophes of war, depression, and war again superseded markets, scrambled relative prices, and weakened market-supporting institutions. By the end of the twentieth century, Langlois writes, these market-supporting institutions had reemerged to shift advantage toward entrepreneurial and market-driven modes of organization.
This magisterial new account of the rise and fall of managerialism holds significant implications for contemporary debates about industrial and antitrust policies and the role of the corporation in the twenty-first century.
“Sharp analysis. . . . Chock -full of sophisticated economic theory rendered in lucid prose, this adds up to a bracing evaluation of a consequential and once dominant commercial entity.”—Publishers Weekly
“A new and even better Alf Chandler has arisen, a Chandler who does not believe that the visible hand is always and everywhere the way to wealth. Langlois does the scientific job brilliantly, and does wisely, too, the political job of seeing the lessons for our collective lives.”—Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, University of Illinois at Chicago
“Richard Langlois’sThe Corporation and the Twentieth Centuryis a major achievement and stands as the best and most important work on the history of the modern American business corporation.” —Tyler Cowen, George Mason University
“Langlois provides an erudite and wide-ranging reinterpretation of the rise and subsequent decline of large managerial corporations in American business history. His emphasis on the political economy context and contingency is important.”—Geoffrey Jones, Harvard Business School
“Langlois offers a profound, accessible, and essential revision of the economic, institutional, and intellectual history of the managerial era. His book is a magisterial, lively, provocative, and timely read.” —Amar Bhide, author ofThe Venturesome Economy
“In the last half century American high-tech firms and overseas new entrants have eclipsed classic twentieth-century Chandlerian corporations like General Motors and Du Pont. Richard Langlois’s masterpiece—long trailed in thoughtful articles and here distilled and rectified into fine whiskey—pulls no punches where they are necessary for his clinical deconstruction of the Chandlerian paradigm, but is properly respectful of its strengths, carefully weighing the merits of all sides of the argument.”—Leslie Hannah, London School of Economics
“This is a magnificent book. Drawing upon Coase, Williamson, Demsetz, Schumpeter, Hofstadter, and others, Langlois provides an analytical narrative of the development and adaptability of business organizations, their challenges, and responses from the late nineteenth through the early twenty-first centuries. To present this important and complex story of institutional innovation, Langlois combines economic, business, political, and legal history. Langlois’s important analysis of the past 100 years provides optimism for continuation of business enterprise adjustments to promote economic growth and the quality of life.”—Gary D. Libecap, University of California, Santa Barbara, and National Bureau of Economic Research
“Richard Langlois challenges Alfred Chander’s claim that new technologies led large firms inevitably to substitute for markets: the visible hand. Langlois argues that as markets developed more sophistication in the twentieth century, the internal structure of firms changed: the vanishing hand. A combination of markets, firms, and governments explains the rise, decline, and transformation of the corporation in the twentieth-century United States. The book is a rich economic history of the twentieth century from the corporate perspective.”—John Joseph Wallis, University of Maryland and University of Cambridge
“Richard Langlois has written a history of the corporation with three main threads. First, he offers a critique of the Chandler tradition arguing that the Chandler model becomes less applicable after 1972 or so. Second, he offers a critique of U.S. antitrust policy that highlights its liabilities. Third, he offers his own view of the evolution of the corporation, which is a major contribution to understanding the evolution of the corporation in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.”—Louis P. Cain, Northwestern University and Loyola University Chicago
Professor Jorge Agüero’s article “(Incorrect) Perceived Returns and Strategic Behavior among Talented Low-Income College Graduates” has been accepted for publication in the AEA Papers and Proceedings.
(Incorrect) Perceived Returns and Strategic Behavior among Talented Low-Income College Graduates
Jorge M. Agüero, Francisco Galarza, and Gustavo Yamada
Job applicants use resumes to send signals to potential employers. Applicants are free to select the items that go in their resumes and are expected to include signals they perceive will help them achieve their goals and avoid those that they anticipate could hurt them. We show that 92% of beneficiaries of a highly selective scholarship for poor and talented students avoid listing this award when applying for jobs. This is consistent with beneficiaries perceiving a negative labor market return from sending that signal. A correspondence study shows instead that listing the scholarship increases call back rates by 20%.
Several large volatility matrix inference procedures have been developed, based on the latent factor model. They often assumed that there are a few of common factors, which can account for volatility dynamics. However, several studies have demonstrated the presence of local factors. In particular, when analyzing the global stock market, we often observe that nation-specific factors explain their own country’s volatility dynamics. To account for this, we propose the Double Principal Orthogonal complEment Thresholding (Double-POET) method, based on multi-level factor models, and also establish its asymptotic properties. Furthermore, we demonstrate the drawback of using the regular principal orthogonal component thresholding (POET) when the local factor structure exists. We also describe the blessing of dimensionality using Double-POET for local covariance matrix estimation. Finally, we investigate the performance of the Double-POET estimator in an out-of-sample portfolio allocation study using international stocks from 20 financial markets.
In this paper, they examine the effect of losing school mates or peers due to school choice. Specifically, in Charlotte-Mecklenburg county, they find that 5th grade students who have a 5th grade neighbor who applies for and wins a school choice lottery are substantially more likely to be arrested and incarcerated as a young adult. These increases in young adult arrests substantially outweigh the reduction in arrests that occur among the lottery winners, suggesting that school choice in this environment leads to an increase in crime.
The article, “The Evolving Impacts of COVID-19 on Gender Inequality in the U.S. Labor Market: The COVID Motherhood Penalty” co-authored by UConn Economics Professor Kenneth Couch, Robert Fairlie (Cal-Santa Cruz) and Huanan Xu (Indiana University South Bend) was selected as the Best Article published in Economic Inquiry in 2022.
Scheduling factors such as a visiting team playing a game back-to-back against a rested home team can affect the win probability of the teams for that game and potentially affect teams unevenly throughout the season. This study examines schedule inequity in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the seasons 2000–01 through 2018–19. By schedule inequity, we mean the effect of a comprehensive set of schedule factors, other than opponents, on team success and how much these effects differ across teams. We use a logistic regression model and Monte Carlo simulations to identify schedule factor variables that influence the probability of the home team winning in each game (the teams playing are control variables) and construct schedule inequity measures. We evaluate these measures for each NBA season, trends in the measures over time, and the potential effectiveness of broad prescriptive approaches to reduce schedule inequity. We find that, although schedule equity has improved over time, schedule differences disproportionately affect team success measures. Moreover, we find that balancing the frequency of schedule variables across teams is a more effective method of mitigating schedule inequity than reducing the total frequency, although combining both methods is the most effective strategy.
Professor Steve Ross and UConn Ph.D. Graduates Jesse Kalinowski (Quinnipiac) and Matt Ross (Northeastern) recently published a paper in the Journal of Human Resources examining tests for racial profiling in police stops, showing that minority responses to perceived discrimination in stops (driving more slowly and safely) can substantially bias these tests away from finding discrimination.
Professor Oskar Harmon’s paper “Are Online Exams an Invitation to Cheat?”, co-authored with Dr. Lambrinos, is the 2nd most cited article of all time in the Journal of Economic Education, considering all articles published in the journal.
Abstract: In this study, the authors use data from two online courses in principles of economics to estimate a model that predicts exam scores from independent variables of student characteristics. In one course, the final exam was proctored, and in the other course, the final exam was not proctored. In both courses, the first three exams were unproctored. If no cheating took place, the authors expected the prediction model to have the same explanatory power for all exams, and, conversely, if cheating occurred in the unproctored exam, the explanatory power would be lower. Their findings are that both across and within class, variations in the R-squared statistic suggest that cheating was taking place when the exams were not proctored.
In this paper, Professor Zhao and his coauthors construct a unified objective measure of health status: the frailty index. Using this index, they propose and estimate a stochastic process for health dynamics over the life cycle accounting for mortality bias. Their health measure and dynamic process can be used to study the evolution of health over the life cycle and its economic implications.
Building on this work, Professor Zhao and his coauthors are currently working on a project that explores the evolution of health inequality over the life cycle and its implication for lifetime earnings inequality.