Events About History and/or Memory at the Academy of Management Conference

22 07 2015

PDWs on History and/or Memory at the Academy of Management Conference in Vancouver

As readers of this blog know, recent years have seen a “historic turn” that has witnessed the integration of historical themes into management research and teaching. Additional evidence of the historic turn can be seen in the programme of the upcoming Academy of Management Conference in Vancouver.

This year there are a number of PDWs at the AoM directly related to history and/or memory. Several of them offer opportunities to discuss abstracts of work in progress. So if you are going to the AoM, consider attending these PDWs. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dan Wadhwani (dwadhwani at

  1. The Uses of the Past: History and Memory in Organizations. Saturday, August 8th. 11:15-1:15p. Presenters include Majken Schultz, Bill Foster, Tor Hernes, Natalya Vinokurova, Gabie Durepos, Mads Mordhorst, and Alan Meyer. UBC Robson Square, Room C180. Contact Dan Wadhwani if you’d like to have your “research in progress” discussed as part of the workshop.
  1. When History Meets Theory: Historically Oriented Research in Strategy and Organization Theory. Friday, August, 7th. 2p-4:30pm. Presenters include Mary Tripsas, Dan Wadhwani, Giovanni Gavetti, Andy Hargadon, Marcelo Bucheli, and Zur Shapira. Vancouver Convention Centre, Room 8. Contact Dan Wadhwani if you’d like to have your “research in progress” discussed as part of the workshop.
  1. History Matters! Path Dependence, Imprinting, Process. Friday, August 7th, 2:45-5:15pm. Vancouver Convention Center, Room 220. Presenters include Matthias Kipping, Chris Marquis, Georg Schreyogg, and Behlul Usdiken. Contact Matthias Kipping or Behlul Üsdiken if you’re interested in finding out more.
  1. Connections between Organizational Identity and Memory. Presenters include Bill Foster, Michael Heller, Mick Rowlinson, and Roy Suddaby. Friday, August 7th, 1pm-4pm. Fairmount Hotel, Vancouver.
  1. Entrepreneurship and/in Context. Vancouver Convention Centre. Saturday, August 8, 9:45am-12:15am. Rooms 217-219.

The Role of Conferences on the Pathway to Academic Impact: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

22 10 2014

AS: Who benefits the most from presenting at conferences? It looks like junior researchers and those at less prestigious institutions get a greater conference bump.

The Role of Conferences on the Pathway to Academic Impact: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Fernanda L. L. de Leon by University of Kent, Canterbury and Ben McQuillin, University of East Anglia (UEA)

October 9, 2014


This paper provides evidence for the role of conferences in generating visibility for academic work, using a ‘natural experiment’: the last-minute cancellation — due to ‘Hurricane Isaac’ — of the 2012 American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting. We assembled a dataset containing outcomes of 15,624 articles scheduled to be presented between 2009 and 2012 at the APSA meetings or at a comparator annual conference (that of the Midwest Political Science Association). Our estimates are quantified in difference-in-differences analyses: first using the comparator meetings as a control, then exploiting heterogeneity in a measure of session attendance, within the APSA meetings. We observe significant ‘conference effects’: on average, articles gain 17-26 downloads in the 15 months after being presented in a conference. The effects are larger for papers authored by scholars affiliated to lower tier universities and scholars in the early stages of their career. Our findings are robust to several tests.
Read the whole thing here.

Rethinking the Glorious Revolution and Rethinking the Relative Value of Different Publication Formats

9 12 2013

In the last couple of decades, most historians who think about the institutional underpinnings of economic activity have come to view the Glorious Revolution as one of the causes of the Industrial Revolution. More precisely, they refer to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in the course of explaining why the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth century took place in Britain rather than in France or, say, China. This question is clearly connected to the wider debates about the reasons for the Great Divergence.

The standard view is that the Glorious Revolution put in place a package of institutions that promoted economic growth. The post-1688 constitutional system alleged did a better job of restraining the growth of the state, preventing rent-seeking, and securing property rights than either the pre-1688 English constitution or the constitutions of the absolutist monarchies of continental Europe. As a result, British people had a stronger incentive to save, invest, and invent. This interpretation has been disseminated by the New Institutional Economics, a school of thought that shares many of the assumptions of neo-liberals and the 1990s Washington Consensus.  Needless to say, how we interpret the causes of the British Industrial Revolution has tremendous policy relevance for developing countries in the present, so getting our understanding of the Glorious Revolution right is very important. Until last year, I taught the standard view to my undergraduates.

A new book challenges the traditional view of the relationship between the Glorious and Industrial Revolutions. It’s Questioning Credible Commitment: Perspectives on the Rise of Financial Capitalism (edited by D’Marris Coffman, Adrian Leonard and  Larry Neal). (Cambridge University Press, 2013) (ISBN: 9781107039018).    D’Marris Coffman is at the Centre for Financial History at Cambridge. Adrian Leonard is also at the University of Cambridge and Larry Neal is at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Here is the Table of Contents:

1. Introduction D’Maris Coffman and Larry Neal

2. Could the crown credibly commit to respecting its charters? England, 1558–1640 Ron Harris

3. Contingent commitment: the development of English marine insurance in the context of New Institutional Economics, 1577–1720 Adrian Leonard

4. Credibility, transparency, accountability and the public credit under the Long Parliament and Commonwealth, 1643–53 D’Maris Coffman

5. Jurisdictional controversy and the credibility of common law Julia Rudolph

6. The importance of not defaulting: the significance of the election of 1710 James Macdonald

7. Financing and refinancing the War of the Spanish Succession, then refinancing the South Sea Company Ann M. Carlos, Erin K. Fletcher, Larry Neal and Kirsten Wandschneider

8. Sovereign debts, political structure, and institutional commitments in Italy, 1350–1700 Luciano Pezzolo

9. Bounded leviathan: fiscal constraints and financial development in the Early Modern Hispanic world Alejandra Irigoin and Regina Grafe

10. Court capitalism, illicit markets, and political legitimacy in eighteenth century France: the example of the salt and tobacco monopolies Michael Kwass

11. Institutions, deficits, and wars: the determinants of British government borrowing costs from the end of the seventeenth century to 1850 Nathan Sussman and Yishay Yafeh

The essays in this collection show that the Glorious Revolution did few of the things with which it has traditionally been credited. In the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution, taxes went up and onerous new regulations were imposed on trade, yet Britain nevertheless emerged as the world’s first industrial nation.  The book suggests that we need to go back to the drawing board in coming up with an explanation of the institutional preconditions of industrialisation.

The book has received considerable attention outside of the academic bubble. For instance, it was discussed a few days ago on The Economist’s blog. I’m certain this exposure is music to the ears of the contributors and editors, since academics are encouraged by their employers to do research that is relevant to non-academics.

The book is interesting to me for two reasons. First, the subject matter is intrinsically important. Moreover, the publication format is significant: although it is an edited collection, this publication has made a very big splash. For several years, the conventional wisdom has been that edited collections have a very limited impact. It has been said that edited collections contain papers that weren’t quite good enough to be in journals. Many people feel that publishing research in edited collections a recipe for burying their work: few people will read and cite a paper if it is in an edited collection. Relative to articles in highly-ranked journals and monographs, edited collections are “low status” publications in the academic world: investing a unit of time in producing an edited collection is said to generate a lower ROI in terms of promotion, employability, and prestige than working on an article. The problem with this view is that many non-academics still gravitate towards books rather than gated articles, which means that books remain one of the best ways of disseminating knowledge to journalists, policymakers, and other non-academics.

I suspect that this important edited collection may encourage university research managers to rethink the relative value of different publication formats.

David Willetts and the Global Intellectual Commons

3 05 2012

David Willetts, the UK’s Science Minister, had endorsed the open-access movement in academic publishing.  See here, here, and here. Indeed, he did so in a speech to the Publishers Association, the lobby group that represents some of the companies that are currently in the business of academic publishing. Willetts has enlisted the services of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who will help with the details of a system that will make all taxpayer-funded academic research in Britain available online to anyone who wants to read or use it. The theory is that taxpayers have a right to read the research their money has paid for.

One of the issues that Willetts is confronting is the free-rider problem: if one research-producing country, in this case the UK, makes academic research a public good by putting it on the internet for everyone to see, citizens of other countries will be able to take advantage of their generosity will continue to charge people in the UK to read their research.

Willetts said:

“There are clear trade-offs. If those funding research pay open-access journals in advance, where will this leave individual researchers who can’t cover the cost? If we improve the world’s access to British research, what might we get in response?”

I understand why Willetts would say this, but I think that his concerns are misplaced. First, making it easier for foreigners to read and cite British research will increase the collective global impact factor of British academics. Second, Britain may build up goodwill in the world by putting its research online for free.  The BBC World Service and the BBC website add immensely to Britain’s soft power in the world. Third, showcasing academic research online would be great advertising for British universities, which crave the income that foreign students bring. (Higher education is one of Britain’s leading exports). Lastly and most importantly, the world of intellectual inquiry is not a zero-sum game. If, say, a British biologist puts some information online that helps a researcher in India to do something that contributes to the finding a cure for cancer, British taxypayers, at least those who have cancer, will benefit.

David Willetts also said

“Giving people the right to roam freely over publicly funded research will usher in a new era of academic discovery and collaboration, and will put the UK at the forefront of openresearch. The challenge is how we get there without ruining the value added by academic publishers.”

This is absolutely correct. The employees of Elsevier and the other much-vilified companies that publish academic research behind paywalls do add value beyond that supplied by the authors of articles on the unpaid volunteers who do peer review. For one thing, the copyediting done by these corporations makes research look more presentable.  It is entirely right and proper that these firms be compensated for this service. The question is whether they should be compensated via the people who read academic articles or by the taxpayer. The UK is a net exporter of academic research, which adds tens of millions to the UK’s current account each year.

What we have right now with the academic journals hidden behind Jstor and other paywalls is a tragedy of the anti-commons. I’ve always looked at the Academic Spring (and the whole issue of IP more generally) through the lens of the literature on the tragedy of the anti-commons. A great book on this issue is Michael Heller’s The Gridlock Economy  How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Live.

Collectively, we would all be better off if we turned this anti-commons into a global commons.  However, it is also fair that we compensate existing stakeholders, including the academic publishing industry, as we move from one regime to another. In fact, doing so is politically expedient, for without the promise of compensation, the stakeholders will fight hard to preserve the status quo.

One hopes that the Finch Working Group  comes up with a model that is both fair and efficient.

You can read more here.

Trailer for Academic Book

17 06 2009

The major academic presses in the US are using video to market books. Take a look at the rather creative trailer for  The Invisible Hook:
The Hidden Economics of Pirates
by Peter T. Leeson (Princeton University Press, 2009)  $24.95 / £14.95.