nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2010‒04‒24
five papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
University of Leicester

  1. Trade Unions and Industrial Relations in Switzerland By Oesch, Daniel
  2. Indian Fisheries-A Historical Alternative By Rohan Dominic Mathews
  3. The rise and demise of Lucent Technologies By Lazonick, William; March, Edward
  4. Harnessing the 'essential tension' of design: The complex relationship between the firm and designer consultants By Filippetti, Andrea
  5. The Demand for Military Spending in Egypt By Aamer S. Abu-Qarn; J Paul Dunne; Yasmine M. Abdelfattah; Shadwa Zaher

  1. By: Oesch, Daniel
    Abstract: Switzerland's system of industrial relations was for a long time synonymous for stability. Once the system of collective bargaining had been put into place at the beginning of the 1950s, Swiss trade unions settled into their role as subordinate partners in decentralized and consensual industrial relations. Stability came to an abrupt end in the 1990s, a decade that confronted trade unions with three major challenges. The first and foremost challenge arose from the unusually long recession of the early 1990s, which dealt a severe blow to membership in the traditional union strongholds. A second challenge was raised by the neoliberal turn in business organizations, which caught trade unions on the wrong foot. Thirdly, trade unions were challenged, at the end of the 1990s, by the imminent opening up of Switzerland’s labour market to the European Union. The liberalization of labour migration was threatening to undermine unions’ influence on wage-setting. These challenges – notably declining membership and the questioning of collective bargaining – put unions under pressure to initiate revitalization efforts. They took place on three different fronts. First, Swiss unions responded to the harsher economic context by investing more resources into political action, using direct democratic instruments to block neoliberal reforms. In parallel, they began to adopt new means of recruitment, targeting hitherto almost union-free private services, and resorted more frequently to strikes. Finally, the European wave of union mergers also seized the Swiss labour movement. Starting in the mid-1990s and gaining pace after 2000, a series of union mergers led to a profound restructuring of organized labour in Switzerland.
    Keywords: trade unions; collective bargaining; corporatism; strike; Switzerland; minimum wages; union density; union merger
    JEL: J51 J21 J5
    Date: 2010
  2. By: Rohan Dominic Mathews
    Abstract: This paper aims at touching on the main divisions of fisheries management, with an insight into the state mechanism and the extra legal systems in place. The principal focus is the history of Indian marine management systems and the need for a new sustainable model. [Intern WP].
    Keywords: history, Indian, fisheries, management, marine, legal systems, management, historical,
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Lazonick, William; March, Edward
    Abstract: We analyze the rise and demise of Lucent Technologies from the time that it was spun off from AT&T in April 1996 to its merger with Alcatel in December 2006. The analysis, contained in the three sections that form the body of this paper, considers three questions concerning Lucent’s performance over the decade of its existence. 1.How was Lucent, with over $20 billion in sales in 1995 as a division of AT&T, able to almost double its size by achieving a compound growth rate of over 17 percent per year from 1995 to 1999? 2.What was the relationship between Lucent’s growth strategy during the Internet boom and the company’s financial difficulties in the Internet crash of 2001-2003 when the Lucent was on the brink of bankruptcy? 3.After extensive restructuring during the telecommunications industry downturn of 2001-2003, why was Lucent unable to re-emerge as an innovative competitor in the communications equipment industry when the industry recovered?
    Keywords: Communications equipment; innovation; global competition; financialization
    JEL: L25 D21 O32 L63
    Date: 2010–04–09
  4. By: Filippetti, Andrea
    Abstract: A central factor which characterizes design-related innovative activities is that a major source of knowledge – that is designers – is very often located outside the firm. This raises a central management issue for the firm and unavoidably generates a tension between designer consultants and the firm which I name the essential tension. The aim of this paper is to shed some light on this complex relationship on the ground of the evidence provided by a multiple case study. The findings confirm that designer consultants can make a substantial contribution in enhancing firms’ innovation capabilities. We show that a better understanding of the types of knowledge that designers need for their activity is key. This affects the way designer consultants are integrated within the organizational structure of the firm, and it also impinges on the strategies put forward by firms to manage this relationship in order to gain a competitive advantage driven by innovation. Implications include the crucial role played by the product manager, the strategies to foster trust and to coordinate designers.
    Keywords: industrial design; innovation; product development; case study
    JEL: M11 O32
    Date: 2010–04–09
  5. By: Aamer S. Abu-Qarn (Economics Department,Ben-Gurion University, Israel); J Paul Dunne (Department of Economics, University of the West of England); Yasmine M. Abdelfattah (Department of Economics, British University in Egypt); Shadwa Zaher (Department of Economics, British University in Egypt)
    Abstract: Egypt plays a pivotal role in the security of the Middle East as the doorway to Europe and its military expenditure reflects its involvement in the machinations of such an unstable region, showing considerable variation over the last forty years. These characteristics make it a particularly interesting case study of the determinants of military spending. This paper presents such a study, estimating an econometric model of the Egyptian demand for military spending, taking into account important strategic and political factors. Both economic and strategic factors are found to play a role in determining military burden, with clear positive effects of lagged military burden, suggesting some sort of institutional inertia, plus negative output and net imports effects. The main strategic effect is the impact of Israel’s military burden, with no effect for that of the Jordanian and Syrian allies, but the results also suggest that simple arms race relationships are not an adequate representation of the relevant strategic factors.
    Keywords: Egypt, demand for military expenditure, political determinants, strategic determinants
    JEL: H56 O53
    Date: 2010–01

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