Faculty publication

Professor Langlois and “The Corporation and the Twentieth Century in UConn Today

Photo of Richard Langlois, Economics Department Head
Professor and Head of Economics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Richard Langlois (UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences)

Professor Langlois and his book “The Corporation and the Twentieth Century: The History of American Business Enterpriseare featured in the most recent UConn Today:

An Alternate View of The American Corporation: Economist Reassesses Twentieth-Century Business

Economist Richard Langlois presents a sweeping new take on so-called managerialism in his acclaimed book

Americans have in recent years become fascinated with the 1950’s and 60’s, as seen in the fascination with hit TV series like “Mad Men,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Call the Midwife,”and so many others. The mid-to-late-twentieth century has acquired a sheen of romance, becoming in people’s imaginations an era of social connection, “good” jobs and prosperity. 

But according to one UConn economist, these so-called golden years, which relied on the success of the modern American corporation, were far from what they seem in hindsight.

In “The Corporation and the Twentieth Century: The History of American Business Enterprise,” Richard Langlois, Professor and Head of Economics, explains how the American corporation rose to prominence, prospered, and eventually died a dismal death.

The book, which was favorably reviewed in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times and was picked as a Foreign Affairs best book of 2023, argues that although the corporation as an institution remains crucial to economic growth and prosperity, the large and extensive corporate structures that dominated much of the twentieth century were something of an aberration rather than a norm.  

He writes that extensive managerial corporations were creatures of the mid–twentieth century’s economic and political events – the Depression, the New Deal, and World War II.  

The full article is online at:

An Alternate View of The American Corporation: Economist Reassesses Twentieth-Century Business

Professor Langlois Reviewed by the Wall Street Journal

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.”

The full review is available online at The Wall Street Journal

Professor Langlois’s book can be purchased online from Princeton Press: The Corporation and the Twentieth Century: The History of American Business Enterprise

Professor Langlois publishes The Corporation and the Twentieth Century: The History of American Business Enterprise

The Corporation and the Twentieth Century book coverProfessor 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’s The Corporation and the Twentieth Century is 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 of The 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 Agüero to be Published in AEA Papers and Proceedings

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.

The paper was presented as part of the “Field and Lab Experiments on Discrimination” session at the 2023 ASSA Annual Meeting.

Details of the paper are online at: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/pandp.20201046

(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%.

Professor Sung Hoon Choi to be published in Journal of Econometrics

Professor Sung Hoon Choi’s recent article titled “Large volatility matrix analysis using global and national factor models” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Econometrics, one of the leading scholarly journals in theoretical econometrics.


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.


Professor Ross has New Working Paper featured by NBER

Professor Steve Ross’s recent working paper with Steve Billings and Andrew Bibler was featured today on the NBER website:


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.

Economic Inquiry Recognizes Research of Prof. Couch as Best Article Published in 2022

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.

The announcement and a link to download the paper can be found here: https://weai.org/news/view/51

Professor Harmon publishes article on Schedule Inequity in the NBA in Journal of Sports Analytics

Professor Oskar Harmon with Alan Bowman (Clarkson University) and Thomas Ashman (Eckerd College) published the article “Schedule Inequity in the National Basketball Association” in the Journal of Sports Analytics.

Journal of Sports Analytics

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.

Link to article.

Paper on Racial Profiling in Police Stops published in the Journal of Human Resources

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.

The paper may be found online at: