Even the most open of market economies accepts professional monopolies. Clients hand over decision-making to doctors and lawyers based on reputations for expert knowledge and reliable practice. And governments protect professionals against competition from frauds as well as unlicensed practitioners. All of this stands in contrast to, say, the market for widgets, where the customer is always right and […]
The conventional image of an entrepreneur in Victorian Britain is a captain of industry, heading an engineering or steel factory employing hundreds of workers, and generally pictured with an impressive moustache. But men like that were only the tip of a very large, and much more diverse entrepreneurial iceberg. My research shows that close to 30 per cent of […]
The role of rail transport in shaping the geography of economic development by integrating markets and fostering trade is widely recognised. But such infrastructure also enables the movement of individuals and the ideas they carry. What is the effect of increased individual mobility on the spatial diffusion of socially and politically salient ideas?
Recent events have sparked great interest in […]
The recent controversy over Canada’s ‘supply management system’ of agricultural protection during the regional US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) negotiations was a timely reminder of the entrenched protectionism in nations that retain a theoretical commitment to international ‘free trade’. It also indicates that deviations from free trade in many guises thrive in market economies where benefits are concentrated, and costs […]
Modern metropolitan areas include vast concentrations of economic activity, with Greater London and New York City today accounting for around 8.4 and 8.5 million people, respectively. These intense concentrations of population involve the transport of millions of people each day between their home and work, as surveyed in Redding and Turner (2015). Today, the London Underground alone handles around […]
In a recent survey paper, Goldberg and Pavcnik (2016) note that trade economists have moved away from studying the impact of trade policy. Concluding that this may reflect the fact that trade policy has become so liberal, they ask a straightforward question: “Does trade policy matter?”, Indeed did it ever matter?
With Brexit looming, and protectionist pressures mounting elsewhere in […]
Scientific Management, Human Relations, and Strategy-and-Structure are well-known management models in the history of business, but we still understand little about why a given model succeeds in competition with other models. This lack of understanding is troublesome. Practitioners would benefit if they could assess more reliably the potential value of the various competing models they read about. Our analysis […]
During the 1930s, the grocery industry was in the midst of several transformations. Presaging the development of the supermarket in the 1950s, “combination” grocery stores for the first time sold both meat and dry goods such as flour, oil, and coffee. Stores were beginning to adopt the self-service format, first introduced in 1916, which allowed customers to shop without […]
How did the Middle East become both a new geographical base-point for petroleum transactions and the hub of the global pricing system?
Several giant Middle East oilfields were discovered between 1943 and 1947. Before that, the United States and the Gulf of Mexico region produced the bulk of the oil consumed in the world. Maintaining a global price equilibrium was essential for […]
Looking for an explanation of Silicon Valley’s high-tech? A key factor is hiding in plain sight: The significance of the Valley’s location in the 20th century United States. Not the latter 20th century of personal computers, video games, and a young Internet—that’s no secret. Rather, the early 20th century, when American imperial ambition fuelled technological advance and entrepreneurial activity.
The cities of Hamburg and Lübeck have an interwoven and eventful history. Whereas Lübeck offers an example of how dominant cities may become unattractive and decline when they end up serving the interests of a privileged few and refuse to change, Hamburg serves as a tale of how cities can reinvent themselves by changing with the times. The cities, in the […]
Market liberals assume that people can look after themselves. But much of the time they cannot. Dependency on others is inevitable during motherhood, infancy and childhood, education, illness, disability, unemployment, and old age. There may be no agency, no two feet to stand on, nothing to sell, no bargaining power and limited cognitive capacity. The welfare challenge is not […]
Large American international retailers have been defining global consumers’ in-store experiences for decades. Firms such as Woolworths, and concepts such as the supermarket, have changed how we use stores and what we expect from them. American innovation in retailing in the twentieth century was synonymous with the notion of “big is beautiful”.
However, the origins of American international retailing lie […]
Social scientists have always been concerned about the role of religion for society. In the early twentieth century, there were concerns about the compatibility of Catholicism and liberal democracy; in the post-Cold War period, there were concerns that international relations might be marked by a ‘Clash of Civilizations’; and today there are concerns about the compatibility of Islam and […]
How do economic growth and technological change affect inequality? The skill premium (the wage of skilled labour relative to that of unskilled labour) is one good reflection of the interrelation between growth, technological change and inequality. Existing studies show that skill-biased technological change (SBTC) contributes to the rising skill premium in modern days. But few studies have been made […]
Contemporary businesses are frequently challenged to invest the profits from their commercial successes into projects that benefit society. Yet the idea that the pursuit of international competitiveness should also promote the common good is not a new one. It began as early as the medieval period!
England in the late thirteenth century had a dynamic economy. Legal advances created a […]